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Is It Bad if My Evaporator Coils and Condenser Coils Don’t Match?

Yes, it’s bad if your evaporator coils are sized bigger or smaller than your condenser coils.

In fact, if the size of your evaporator and condenser coils don’t match, it can result in:

  • Higher monthly energy costs
  • Reduced unit lifespan
  • Decreased comfort
  • Warranty violations

We’ll take a closer look at how mismatched coils cause these 4 problems. But first, let’s look at how your evaporator and condenser coils work together to cool your home.

How your evaporator & condenser coils work together

First off, a little geography lesson: 

  • Evaporator coils sit inside your AC’s indoor unit
  • Condenser coils are located at the outdoor unit

Manufacturers purposely design both sets of coils to work in tandem to remove heat and moisture from your home.

How it works:
  1. Your evaporator coils absorb heat from the air inside your home
  2. The heat travels along refrigerant lines until it reaches the condenser coils
  3. The condenser coils dump the heat into the outdoor air

In an ideal AC unit, the two sets of coils are designed to match in capacity. In other words, the evaporator should be sized perfectly to soak up only as much heat as the condenser coils can dump into the outdoor air during one cooling cycle.

Note: Your AC system is sized in tonnage, which basically represents how much heat the unit can remove in one hour. The larger the tonnage, the more heat it can remove. Most residential AC sizing varies from 1 to 5 tons. So, for example, a 2-ton evaporator coil should only be paired with a 2-ton condenser coil.

Now let’s look at some problems that can pop up when these two coils don’t match in size.

Mismatched problem #1: Higher monthly energy bills

When your evaporator and condenser coils are mismatched in size, the smaller sized coils won’t be able to keep up with the capacity of the larger sized coils, which forces the entire system to run longer. And the longer your system runs, the more energy it eats up.

For example, if your evaporator coils are sized at 3 tons but your condenser coils are sized at 2 tons, your condenser will struggle to release all the heat it receives from the indoor unit. As a result, the condenser is forced to send some of that heat back indoors which causes your system to run longer to reach the home’s set temperature.

Mismatched problem #2: Reduced lifespan

According to the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, when AC coils are improperly matched, “the efficiency and longevity of these systems are significantly compromised”.

You see, mismatched coils put extra stress on your AC system. For example, if one set of coils is continually working harder to keep up with the other, it will eventually lead to expensive repairs and possibly early failure.

Mismatched problem #3: Decreased comfort

If your condenser and evaporator coils don’t match in size, it could lead to higher temperatures and humidity levels in the home.

For example, an evaporator coil that is smaller than the condenser coils might, in some cases, provide better dehumidification but it can’t cool the home as well. On the other hand, an evaporator coil that’s larger than the condenser coils will cool the home well but will remove little to no moisture from the air.

Mismatched problem #4: Warranty violations

Most manufacturers specify that if you replace either the evaporator coil or condenser coil, it must be the same size (and SEER rating). Otherwise, they’ll void any remaining time on the warranty.

This is because manufacturers specifically design both coils to work synergistically. And if one is replaced with a different size, manufacturers know that repairs and possible system failure is inevitable.

Need a professional to inspect your coils?

If you think your evaporator and condenser coils might be mismatched, we can help.

Just contact us. We’ll send over a professional who can inspect your coils and determine if they’re mismatched in size or SEER. From there, we can give professional suggestions so that you avoid the problems above.

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