Opting for a Thermal Expansion Valve in Your Next A/C

Posted On: August 08, 2013

Have you ever compared your summer electric bills with the rest of the year? Due to the high cost of air conditioning, electric bills could be about double from June through August compared to November through January.

To help ease the expense of air conditioning, look for advanced features in your next air conditioner, such as:

  • Thermal expansion valve
  • Variable-speed air handler
  • Fan-only switch
  • Filter-check light
  • Automatic-delay fan switch

Here’s more information about the thermal expansion valve, one of the most important advanced features in high-efficiency air conditioners.

Provides cooling when you need it

When you purchase a new air conditioner, you size it based on your home’s average cooling load. However, conditions are not always average. In the space of just a few hours, cooling demand can change tremendously.

The thermal expansion valve helps ensure continued efficiency despite changes in cooling requirements by expanding and contracting on demand. This device is controlled by sensing the temperature of gaseous refrigerant as it leaves the evaporator coil. Higher temperatures open the valve wider while cooler temperatures cause it to constrict.

Promotes energy savings

The primary purpose of controlling refrigerant flow with such precision is to make the system more efficient. Greater efficiency results in energy savings, which is good news when you count on your air conditioner for home comfort all summer long. Even if the refrigerant is charged incorrectly, expect energy-saving performance from a thermal expansion valve.

Protects the compressor

The alternatives to thermal expansion valves are fixed orifices and capillary tubes. These devices meter refrigerant as well, but they can’t change size. That means they tend to starve the evaporator coil of refrigerant when cooling demand skyrockets, and flood it when cooling needs are low.

This latter situation sometimes allows liquid refrigerant to reach the compressor, possibly damaging it in the process. The thermal expansion valve prevents this and therefore protects the most expensive component of your air conditioning system.

For more information on selecting the right air conditioner, please contact Ernst Heating & Cooling today. Our experience serving Hamel, Greenville, Bethalto and the surrounding areas dates back to 1951.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, and Troy, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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