Thermal expansion valves are a great advancement for modern air conditioners. Standard air conditioners have a fixed opening through which refrigerant flows to the evaporator coil. This leads to inefficient performance because the refrigerant flow cannot adapt to conditions. A thermal expansion valve (TXV) solves this problem by adjusting the size of the opening that refrigerant is flowing through. They include a sensor that monitors the temperature of the refrigerant leaving the evaporator coil so they can determine how much refrigerant flow is needed.
One of the biggest benefits of the improved control of refrigerant levels is superior hot weather performance. Standard air conditioners are unable to provide enough refrigerant flow in very hot weather for efficient operation, but a thermal expansion valve effectively resolves this issue.
The ability to increase the refrigerant flow through the evaporator coil also comes in handy if the air conditioner ever has an inadequate refrigerant charge. With a proper installation and regular maintenance, this shouldn’t occur, but if it does, a thermal expansion valve can allow more refrigerant through to the evaporator coil to mitigate this situation.
Thermal expansion valves can also limit refrigerant flow, which can be helpful. When used during mild weather, standard air conditioners tend to have too much refrigerant flowing through the evaporator coil. This poses a risk because if any refrigerant makes it through to the compressor in liquid form, it could cause damage.
In addition to looking for an air conditioner with the efficient hot weather performance offered by a thermal expansion valve, you’ll want to look for one with a high seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), which indicates overall energy efficiency. Other high-efficiency features include:
- A fan-delay feature that leaves the system blower operating for a few minutes after the compressor shuts down, allowing residual cool air to circulate rather than remain in the ducts.
- A fan-only switch for helping with air circulation when A/C isn’t needed.
- Variable speed air handler, to adjust fan speed to real conditions.
To learn more about how to get better performance from your A/C, please contact us at NisAir Air Conditioning & Heating. We’ve provided superior services for Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Palm Beach counties since 1973.