Air Conditioning: The Effects Of Dirt Accumulation On The Air Handler Unit

Proper airflow is central to an efficient air conditioning process. This is because it not only makes the right amount of air available for cooling at the evaporator coil area, but also helps to prevent air conditioner problems such as evaporator coil icing.

The air handler usually ensures that there is an adequate supply of air throughout the air conditioning system. It does so by pulling air from the return registers and then driving this air through the system using a system of fans and motors.

The fact that the air handler is usually the first to handle incoming air usually increases the risks of dirt accumulation on its parts. This is why most air conditioning systems are fitted with air filters. The problem is that with time, these air filters wear out, something that then reduces their ability to trap dust and mold particles. Here are some of the effects that the accumulation of these particles can have on the air handler.

Reduced air-handling capacity

The air handler relies on a fan to not only pull in air from the return registers, but also push the air through the system. The ability of the air handler to effectively do this usually depends on the shape of the blades.

Dirt accumulation on the depressed sides of the blades of the fan will essentially change the amount of air that a given blade can "push". This will reduce the effectiveness of the air handler, something that will then increase the time that your air conditioner takes to make your home as comfortable as it should be.

Damaged air handler motor

Continued accumulation of dust on the fan blades of the unit's fans will increase the weight of the blades. This will then result in the fan's motor handling more weight than it is supposed to. This, in addition to the fact that the dirt-caused reduced air handling capacity will make it necessary for the motor to work harder and longer, will place undue stress on the motor. This will then reduce the lifespan of the motor. In some cases, the abnormal straining of the motor may cause it to overheat, something that may then end up completely damaging the motor.

Cleaning the fan blades with a damp rag will be enough to restore the capacity of the blades to push air. However, for as long as the system's air filters are defective, this will be a temporary solution. A more-durable solution will be to simply replace the worn-out or defective filters. If worn-out filters have caused you to need air conditioning repair, contact a professional for assistance.