When you’re choosing a new air conditioner, there are many different features that you should consider that can influence your system’s performance and efficiency levels. Because adding advanced features can sometimes increase the upfront cost of a new system, it’s important to know what each feature does and whether or not it’s worth the added costs. Today we’re going to talk about one such feature, the thermal expansion valve, and why this is one upgrade that can benefit every home!

What is a thermal expansion valve?

Your air conditioner has a set of indoor coils, known as evaporator coils, which absorb heat from your home’s air and transfer it to the refrigerant that flows through your system. When the temperature inside of your home is warmer, the temperature level of the refrigerant that leaves the evaporator coils will be higher. When your home is cooler, that refrigerant’s temperature will be lower.

A thermal expansion valve is a device that controls the amount of refrigerant that flows from the evaporator coils to your system’s compressor. It works by reading the temperature level of the refrigerant in the evaporator coils and using that temperature to determine how much refrigerant goes into your compressor.

When the temperature of the refrigerant is high, the thermal expansion valve allows more refrigerant into the compressor. When the temperature of the refrigerant is low, the thermal expansion valve restricts the flow of refrigerant and allows less of the substance into your compressor.

What are the benefits of installing a system with a thermal expansion valve?

  • Better efficiency levels.
  • Your air conditioner’s compressor is one of the parts that consumes the most energy while your system is running. By restricting the amount of refrigerant that goes into your compressor when cooling demands are lower, your compressor will have less work to do and will therefore consume less energy. This can greatly improve your system’s overall efficiency levels.

  • Better protection for your air conditioner. If too much refrigerant gets sent to your air conditioner’s compressor, it can damage the compressor and lead to system breakdowns that can be expensive to repair. A thermal expansion valve will prevent this from happening by restricting the amount of refrigerant that gets into your compressor, which will limit the amount of repair calls that you need to make and will extend the life of your system.
  • More consistent cooling in your home. Because a thermal expansion valve is always measuring the temperature of the refrigerant inside of your evaporator coils, it constantly adjusts your system’s refrigerant flow according to your home’s cooling demands at any given time. This makes your air conditioner much more adaptable and responsive to your home’s cooling needs, which allows your system to provide more consistent temperature levels all day long.

If you have any questions about thermal expansion valves, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning, your St. Charles, MO, air conditioning contractor. We provide service all over the St. Louis area, including towns like Clayton, Cottleville and Creve Coeur, MO.

photo credit: 3D Green Energy via photopin (license)

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