In the last post, I talked about the alternative way of having your aircon cleaned without “pulling down” the evaporator.
Some readers asked me if “cleaning the evaporator” is enough to “clean the aircon”. Apparently, experts from the “aircon shop next door” told them that aside from the evaporator, the rest of the aircon system (i.e. refrigerant lines, etc.) should also be cleaned.
As I am not an expert on aircons myself, I referred the question to a friend of mine, Mr. Ferman Lao, the “auto guru”. In one of his articles in Top Gear, he talked extensively about this concern. This is what he has to say:
” …because of our generally more polluted driving environment, our condensers and evaporators do get clogged with dirt, grime and gunk from various sources, including strong car fresheners, which evaporate and slowly migrate to coat the surface of the evaporators in the passenger cabin.”
That supports the notion that our car A/C can get dirty really fast… which is why yearly cleaning is recommended.
“…When the external surfaces of either the condenser or the evaporator get clogged, their efficiency and airflow through them are reduced. This is normally the leading cause of aircon malfunction. The only way to remove the clogging is to physically remove them from the vehicles and subject them to cleaning agents in order to “melt” away the gunk coating them.”
Ok, that settles the first question on the importance of cleaning the evaporator. As for the condenser, it is normally found in front of your radiator (behind the grill). Cleaning the condenser is relatively easier because it’s accessible to you. Generally, a strong burst of air and water is enough to dislodge and remove the dirt on the condenser.
“…My own opinion of automotive aircon systems is that they are supposed to be sealed systems (similar to the refrigerators and aircon units found in our houses and offices), which shouldn’t require any opening of the refrigerant lines until such a time when the lubricating oil inside the system breaks down enough to require replacement.”
Now that says, as much as possible, we shouldn’t dismantle the aircon system, unless it is broken.
Our friends from B-Quick also mentioned that once you open the sealed system, moisture can begin to seep in and cause the real damage to the system.
In conclusion, I think “cleaning the aircon” or “aircon maintenance” is actually cleaning particularly the evaporator and to a lesser extent, the condenser.
By not tinkering with the sealed aircon system, not only do you save on refrigerant, but you also lessen the risk of causing more damage to your aircon.
Reference: “How often should a car air-conditioning system be cleaned?” Author: Ferman Lao. Date: 14 Aug 2012. http://www.topgear.com.ph/features/columns/motor-mouth-online/how-often-should-a-car-air-conditioning-system-be-cleaned