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The Thermal Expansion Valve: Boosting Comfort And Efficiency In Your New A/C

A thermal expansion valve is a feature available on new air conditioners that can really benefit Central Arizona homeowners because it allows the air conditioner to perform more efficiently in a wider range of conditions, including very hot weather. It does this by allowing for better control of the amount of refrigerant flowing through the indoor evaporator coil.

Standard air conditioners have a fixed opening for refrigerant to flow through to the evaporator coil. This means the amount of refrigerant flowing through is dependent upon the forces driving it through the opening. During very hot weather, this setup doesn’t allow for enough refrigerant to be sent through the evaporator coil for efficient performance.

Thermal expansion valves solve this problem by providing the ability to change the size of the opening the refrigerant is flowing through. This allows them to precisely control the amount of refrigerant flowing through the evaporator coil. They determine how much refrigerant needs to be flowing through by monitoring the temperature of the refrigerant leaving the the evaporator coil. If the temperature starts to rise or fall, the thermal expansion valve will similarly increase or decrease the refrigerant flow to keep the temperature steady.

This can also help protect your air conditioner from becoming damaged. If air conditioners are run when cooling needs are minimal, there can be too much refrigerant in the evaporator coil. This can lead to some refrigerant making it through the evaporator coil while still in liquid form, and if liquid refrigerant makes it into the compressor, it can cause damage.

Additional features are available on new air conditioners that can also offer more efficient performance, including:

    • High seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) units with more efficient general performance.
    • A fan delay that uses the residual cooling that remains even after the compressor turns off.
    • Fan-only operation for use when it has cooled off outside but is still warm inside.
    • Variable speed air handlers.

If you want help selecting an air conditioner that has a thermal expansion valve and other desirable features, please contact us at Wolff Mechanical, Inc. We serve Phoenix, Scottsdale and other locations in Central Arizona.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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