At its roots, the problems are caused by in-attention. Owners o managers generally do not look at the AC interiors, and most generally when they do look, they do not know what to look for. Furthermore, when service work is let out for bid, most often hygeine and coil cleanliness is given little or no attention. Bidders will not add additional services to the bid unless specifically requested; if they do they will likely not obtain the bid.
When, and not if, coils develop microbial growth on them, the coils become insulated. After coil cleaning is completed, every day that passes thereafter causes biofilms to grow and multiply. As microbial growth intensifies, so too does their insulating effects. People who pay the bills see this as paying more money for energy each month.
It is well known that films of biological material, aka biofilms, have up to 5x more insulating qualities than scale. Furthermore, biofilms are often at or below the levels of human visibility making it difficult to see and schedule cleanings.
Air conditioner interiors represent an inter-disciplinary set of problems. The field of micro-biology, corrosion engineering, thermodynamics and general physics and chemistry all have influences of the operational costs and quality of air provided to occupants.
Whereas years ago stale or moldy smelling air could be addressed by merely opening up a window, today’s buildings do not offer this luxury. And years ago, saving money on HVAC operation was not perhaps as critical as it is today’s economy.
Addressing these issues then is of importance to saving energy, equipment sustainability and overall air quality.
Our next article in this series addresses cost-effective handling of these issues.
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Lynn Burkhart is the founder and president of Controlled Release Technologies, Inc. located in Shelby, North Carolina. More information about the company, and its products, can be found at