What is an AC Evaporator Coil?

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ac evaporator coil

What is an AC Evaporator Coil?

Category:General

In a typical air conditioning system there are primarily two main parts or sections. These sections are usually referred to as the ac condensing unit and the ac evaporator coil. In a previous post we went over the details of what an ac condenser unit is. In this post I am going to go into the details of what an ac evaporator coil is, what it does, where it’s located, and some tips on properly maintaining it.

So, What is an AC Evaporator Coil?

You have probably seen the standard air conditioning systems of today. Normally there will be an outside unit that can be heard kicking on when it begins the air conditioning process. This outside unit is referred to as the condenser unit. There is usually also an indoor unit. This unit is referred to as the evaporator or evaporator coil.

Now, what I’ve described is a typical split unit setup. The air conditioner is split into two units (one outdoor and one indoor). But, there are also packaged units which will house both units outside in one contained unit.

Let’s get into what exactly the ac evaporator coil does and how it works.

What Does it Do?

To understand how an evaporator coil works and what it does, it’s important to know how an air conditioning system works. I will keep this brief and to the point:

First off, an air conditioner actually removes heat from the space being cooled rather than creating cold air from nothing. This process begins with the evaporator coil.

The evaporator coil receives warm air from the home or business via return ducts. This warm air is then dispersed over the evaporator coils. The evaporator coils contain very cold refrigerant which is able to extract and absorb the heat from the warm air. Once the heat is removed, the remaining cool air is dispersed into the home or business providing the cooling affect.

The refrigerant that is now absorbed with heat is transferred to the outdoor condenser unit through piping. Here the heat is dispersed to the outdoor air and the refrigerant is cooled again and is returned to the evaporator coil to repeat the process.

So, now that you know what it is and how it works, where exactly is the evaporator coil located?

Evaporator Coil Location

In a split unit setup, the air conditioner evaporator coil will be located in a closed off location inside the home or business, such as the attic, a closet space, or a separate room in commercial applications. The blower fan, which is part of the indoor unit, can usually be heard and located when it kicks on to pull air from the home or business via the return ducts. Also, if there is a furnace installed for heating purposes, the evaporator coil will be located in the same area.

As stated earlier, a packaged system setup will have the evaporator coil outside with the rest of the unit.

Lastly, let’s get into some maintenance tips to help maintain and keep the evaporator coils operating at their peak ability.

ac evaporator coil

Maintenance Tips

The easiest and probably the most important tip is to change the air filter regularly. A dirty air filter really hinders airflow which impacts the whole air conditioner system. We recommend changing the air filter, at the least, every 90 days. There are situations and instances where it should probably be changed more often. For example, commercial applications, such as restaurants, should probably be changed monthly. If you’d like more in-depth details, you can check out our complete post on how often to replace your ac filter.

Another tip is to make sure all of the vents are open in the home or business. Closed vents can restrict warm airflow to the evaporator coil which can cause them to freeze up. This can hinder the ac unit from doing it’s job effectively, and can also lead to more serious problems such as causing issues with the compressor.

Lastly, evaporator coil cleaning is vital to the performance of the ac unit. Have the evaporator coils cleaned by a certified HVAC technician on a regular basis. Dirty evaporator coils can hinder how much heat the refrigerant within the coils can absorb. It can create a barrier between the heat and the refrigerant. This can lead to higher energy bills and an ac unit that performs shy of it’s peak ability.

If you are interested in having regular preventive maintenance performed on your heating and air system, or just a quick tune-up, feel free to give us a call at 731-300-1030. We serve Jackson TN and the surrounding areas.

I Hope This Helped!

I hope this post has helped you and given you more insight into what an evaporator coil is, what it does, and where it’s located. I hope the maintenance tips help your unit run at it’s peak ability for a long time, which is what we all want, right?


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