How to Replace an A/C Coil at Home

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The coil is one of the main components that produce cold air in an air conditioning (A/C) unit. Air conditioning coils transfer energy into either cool or warm air. Water or refrigerant leaks are the most common causes of coil failure. Dirt buildup, corrosion and wear and tear are other common causes. An air conditioner coil should be replaced if it is cracked or damaged. It is possible to replace the coil at home.

Things You'll Need

  • Tubing cutter
  • Silver solder
  • Soldering torches
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Prepare for the removal of the air conditioner coil by turning off the air handler, which is inside the appliance. Also turn off the air compressor, which is outside the air conditioner and near the circuit breaker box. Remove remaining refrigerant from the compressor, and turn off its liquid line. Set the compressor's gauge to low.

  • Inspect the coil. If it is broken or cracked, it is likely that some refrigerant escaped the unit. If that is the case, then the inbound and exit tubes need to be cut in order to remove the coil. Because cutting off the compressor may require an extra pair of hands, ask a friend to help. Shut the valve when it reaches zero, and immediately cut off the compressor or it will burn out.

  • Cut the lines that lead from the air conditioner evaporator coil to the compressor by using a tubing cutter. Remove the air conditioner coil.

  • Replace the air conditioner coil. Place the new coil in the existing port, and then secure it using silver solder applied with soldering torches. Avoid overhandling the coil during the replacement process.

  • Shut off the condenser valve. Turn on a vacuum cleaner, and use it to remove all debris from the system, including debris that is on and around the coil. Turn the vacuum cleaner off, and inspect the system for visible air leaks. Use the vacuum cleaner again if remaining debris is visible.

  • Close the valve gauges on the vacuum pump inside the air conditioner. That will allow the system to maintain its vacuum.

  • Test the system by restarting it. Begin by restoring the power supply, turning the thermostat in the home to “cool” and lowering the thermostat to the desired temperature. Those tasks should start the air conditioner. Ensure the liquid line and the gas line connected to the compressor are open. Let the air conditioner run for about 10 to 15 minutes to ensure it works correctly.

Tips & Warnings

  • A certified technician can verify if a coil replacement is necessary and identify other needed repairs.
  • The air conditioner's cooling agent, such as freon gas, needs to be contained properly and disposed properly because it is an environmental hazard. Detected leaks of a cooling agent may result in fines.
  • Check your location's codes, regulations and laws regarding this project to assure all safety measure are followed properly.

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References

  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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