Air Conditioner Throttling Devices Explained

Understanding the number of components required to keep an air conditioner working remains an intimidating task for many homeowners. Yet the more you know, the better equipped you will be to recognize the onset of common problems. If you would like to boost your knowledge of air conditioning technology, read on. This article will discuss the purpose and importance of the components known as throttling devices.

Basic Information

All air conditioner and refrigeration systems contain what is known as a throttling device. There are several different types of throttling devices, each with its own particular benefits. The four main types of throttling device are:

  • capillary tube
  • automatic throttling valve
  • thermostatic expansion valve
  • float valve

All of these devices are united in that they serve the same common functions. All are distinguished by their ability to reduce the flow of refrigerant at key points in its circulation, thus achieving two principal goals:

Lowering Refrigerant Pressure

A throttling device acts to restrict the flow of refrigerant at a point between the condenser unit and the evaporator. The refrigerant coming out of the condenser is characterized by the fact that it is in a state of high pressure, yet only medium temperature. The throttling valve, by restricting the flow of refrigerant, acts to lower both its pressure and its temperature.

This change in pressure is what allows the refrigerant to absorb the maximum amount of heat once it has entered the evaporator. You see, at a high pressure, the refrigerant will have a more difficult time vaporizing in the presence of heat. By reducing pressure, this process of vaporization will be more easily able to occur at the desired temperature. The pressure reduction is achieved by passing refrigerant though the tiny orifice of the throttling device.

Meeting The Refrigeration Load

The second purpose of the throttling device is to carefully control the amount of refrigerant entering the evaporator at any given time. This helps to ensure peak efficiency, regardless of the particular refrigeration load. Refrigeration load simply refers to the amount of cooling power needed to perform a given task. For instance, bringing a very hot home down to a comfortable temperature involves a much higher refrigeration load than simply maintaining the desired temperature.

The throttling device will alter the flow rate of the refrigerant depending on the particular load. When the refrigeration load is high, a greater amount of refrigerant will be allowed to pass into the evaporator. This allows a given cooling task to be achieved quickly, while still maintaining the greatest possible degree of efficiency. 

For more information, contact a company like John Legg's Heating & Air Conditioning.

About Me

Maintaining Your HVAC Unit

My husband and I live in an older brick ranch home. Since we moved into this house ten years ago, we’ve been slowly renovating it. We installed new hardwood and tile floors. We’ve also replaced cabinet hardware and installed a new backsplash in the kitchen. While we’ve definitely completed some upgrades, we still have a lot of work to do. One of our future purchases will be a new HVAC system. Our unit is twenty years old. However, to keep it running efficiently for the time being, we have it regularly inspected. In order to properly maintain the air conditioning unit at your home, you should consider having an HVAC contractor examine it annually. On this blog, you will discover the things an HVAC contractor looks at during an annual inspection.

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