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The Thermal Expansion Valve: Boosting Comfort and Savings in Your Next Air Conditioner

August 22, 2013 | Blog

In Corpus Christi, it’s typical to run your air conditioner from February through November. Especially in the dog days, air conditioning can account for more than half of your total electricity costs. That means it pays to do your research if you’re looking for a new air conditioner. Consider advanced features, such as a thermal expansion valve, to boost comfort and savings.

Benefits of a thermal expansion valve

  • Customized cooling: Air conditioners work best when their cooling capacity lines up with cooling demand. As you might expect, cooling demand changes continually because of fluctuations in the weather and indoor activities that generate heat and humidity. The thermal expansion valve handles these changes with ease. It works the same as the pupils in your eyes, expanding when more refrigerant is needed to meet higher cooling needs and contracting when cooling demand lightens.
  • Energy savings: The thermal expansion valve’s ability to alter the air conditioner’s cooling capacity helps to support energy savings, especially in the evenings and during the milder spring and fall seasons. Even if your air conditioner was charged improperly at installation, it performs closer to its advertised SEER rating when a thermal expansion valve promotes efficient performance.
  • Compressor protection: Air conditioners that lack a thermal expansion valve have either a fixed orifice or a capillary tube. These devices are prone to starving the evaporator coil of refrigerant when cooling demand peaks. What’s worse, they can flood the coil when cooling conditions are light. This can cause refrigerant to reach and damage the compressor. The thermal expansion valve does not allow this, thus protecting the system’s most expensive component.

Other advanced features

While a thermal expansion valve offers several benefits, it’s not enough to promote ultimate efficiency on its own. When you shop for an air conditioner, look for the following features, as well:

  • Variable-speed air handler.
  • Fan-only switch.
  • Filter check light.
  • The AC-Enhancer.

To learn more about energy efficient air conditioning, contact the CCAC professionals. We have proudly provided HVAC services to Coastal Bend homeowners since 1979.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about thermal expansion valves and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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