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Question DetailsAsked on 10/11/2016

How long should an evaporator coil last...? 3 years? 5 years? 10 years? I am on my 3rd one in 6 years.

I bought a new HVAC system in 2010. In the summer of 2013 the central A/C was not putting out the cold air. I called my plumber who did the installation in 2010. They had to perform a dye test to find where the leak was. The dye test cost around $100 and was NOT covered in the warranty. I had them do the test and it was found to be leaking from the evaporator coil that is located in the house above the furnace portion of the HVAC. The plumber replaced it. This past summer the central A/C was not putting out the cold air. I called the plumber and had to get ANOTHER dye test done. GUESS WHAT...? It was leaking in the SAME place: the evaporator coil...! Now I am being charged $340 for labor. What I want to know, is this UNUSUAL...? I am on my 3rd evaporator coil in 6 years. Am I going to be expected to pay out $300+ every 3 years for a new evaporator coil...?

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1 Answer


Certainly a LOT longer than that - most manufacturers are giving 10 year warranties, meaning they expect most to last that long or longer, and ones that do not stay wet most of the time sometimes last 15-20 years, though that is getting rarer these days with cheaper construction. Several possibilities on your issue :

I would google your brand and see if it is known for evaporator failures - in which case I would be collecting up copies of my paperwork on the unit and sending a demand letter to the manufacturer for a full refund of original installation cost plus the charges on the replacements - and if they don't come through send a complaint to the Consumer Protection agency. Depending on your installation contract, you might also be able to prusue a suit in small claims court against them (depending on small claims court $ limit in your area), which they might or might not defend against.

Another possibility - you might need a new HVAC contractor, because he is doing something during installation which is damaging the coil during installation.

Another thing I have heard of recently - some cheap Chinese coils are being soldered rather than brazed (which is a higher-temperature and stronger manufacturing method) - meaning if a soldered lineset tubing connection is used (which is common) and the installer does not use heat control methods, he could be softening and damaging the solder joints in the coil, which then fail.

I also saw an article on corrosion of Chinese coils (in HVAC and industrial heat exchangers coils) due to using excessive amount of an aggressive acid flux or acid-core solder in manufacturing - which then gradually corrodes out the coil.

Which case you have would take a bit of web searching and an expert inspection - then decide whether scrapping the existing unit, getting a written materials AND labor warranty from the manufacturer till the unit is say 12-15 years old, or suffer with the existing situation is best for you. You also do not say if the $300+ includes gas replacement - because (especially if R-22) that alone is probably around as much as the labor charge and can be expected to go up each year as R-22, and then R-410a, are phased out.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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