ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Insufficient Cooling of Your Car Aircon? Plaque Inside the Condenser Could Be The Culprit.

Updated on December 1, 2012

When you have everything else ok, enough refrigerant, a new compressor (or one in excellent condition), a new dryer, strong cooling fans, and new expansion valve in your car airconditioning system and yet it is unable to provide sufficient cooling, it’s time to check the condenser.

How to check the condenser

Checking the condenser is simple. With the engine running and the aircon ‘ON’, pour water on the condenser. The pressure on your manifold gauge set, particularly the low pressure side, should drop and your aircon should now provide sufficient cooling. If this is the case, the condenser needs thorough cleaning. Not just flushing.

What could be wrong with the condenser

Fine dirts could stick on the inner walls of the condenser tubes (see Fig. 1). These fine dirts, usually black in color, usually comes from a worn out compressor. After some time of operation and because of the high temperature of the condenser, these fine dirts will be baked and will stick firmly on the walls of the condenser tubes. This plaque formation cannot be removed by the ordinary flashing procedure that we are used to.

How does the plaque in the condenser affect the cooling of the aircon system

Cooling in an aircon system is produced by evaporation. No evaporation, no cooling. Evaporation is a process in which liquid turns into gas. In an airconditioning system, evaporation takes place in the evaporator.

For evaporation to takes place, the regrigerant that enters into the evaporator must be in liquid state. If the regrigerant entering the evaporator is in gaseous state, no evaporation will take place and no cooling will result.

The refrigerant that comes out of the compressor is hot, high pressured, and in gaseous state. It should be in gas state. Gas in compressible, liquid is not.

This hot, high pressured, gas refrigerant must first be converted into liquid state before it is fed into the evaporator, as mentioned earlier. This is done by the condenser. The condenser converts the gas refrigerant into liquid through a process called condensation.

For condensation to take place, the hot gas refrigerant must be subjected to cooling. Cooling is provided by the condenser fan. If the inner walls of the condenser tubes are covered with plaque, the hot gas refrigerant will be insulated from the cool air coming from the fan by such plaque. This hampers the condensation process. Hence, the refrigerant coming out of the condenser will still be in gaseous state, or more gas than liquid. When this happens, little or no evaporation will take place in the evaporator resulting in little or no cooling at all.

How to remove the plaque

You need an aluminum cleaner, a rubber glove, plastic liquid dispenser, and a safety googles for this job. You can also use lye instead of aluminum cleaner. However, you have to make sure that you have very mild mixture of lye and water. A strong lye mix could quickly eat up the condenser tubes.

Here’s how to remove the plaque

1. It would be better if the condenser is removed. Cleaning the condenser will be a lot easier if it is taken out. Be sure to remove the drier element, if the dier is an integral part of the condenser.

2. Fill the condenser with aluminum cleaner using the plastic liquid dispenser. Leave it for three to five minutes to give time for the aluminum cleaner to dissolve the plaque.

3. Flush with water until the water coming out of the other end of the condenser is clear.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all the plaque is removed.

5. Drain out the water in the condenser by flushing it with compressed air.

6. Flush the condenser with RX-11.

7. Vacuum out whatever RX-11 that remains in the condenser.

The condenser is now ready for installation.

How to prevent the formation of plaque

Always replace a worn out or defective compressor, even if your aircon system is still able to provide sufficient cooling. Very fine particles coming out from worn out internal components of the compressor can stick on the walls of the condenser tubes to form into plaque. Noise and/or the dark color of the refrigerant as seen on the sight glass can indicate a defective compressor.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)