Expansion Valve: How Does This Unique Part Keep Your AC Running Properly?

In order to keep your house nice and cool, the refrigerant circulating through your air conditioning units must maintain a certain temperature and pressure level. One of the parts responsible for cooling down and depressurizing refrigerant is the expansion valve. Without a properly working expansion valve, your evaporator coil, compressor motor, and condenser coil can fail. Learn how your system's expansion valve works and why it's important to keep it in good condition below.

What Does an Expansion Really Do?

You might not worry about your cooling system until it begins to fail. The compressor in your outdoor unit can fail or the evaporator coil inside your air handler can freeze up and give out. Both of these parts can break down if the expansion valve quits working properly. 

The expansion valve closes the gap between the outdoor condenser unit and the indoor air handling unit. The valve also depressurizes liquid coolant before it changes into a moveable gas. If the valve corrodes, cracks, or develops another pressing issue, it may struggle to remove the right amount of pressure from the system's refrigerant lines. The pressurized refrigerant may cause problems with your evaporator coil or compressor motor, such as overheating and prematurely shutting down.

Because the expansion valve is a critical component of your air conditioning system, you want to keep it functioning properly. You can keep the valve from failing by having an air conditioning contractor look at it.

How Do You Check the Condition of Your Expansion Valve?

An HVAC contractor can run a full diagnostic check on your expansion valve. A contractor may look for corrosion, cracks, and other defects in the part. If a contractor does suspect or see problems with the valve, they may check the compressor and evaporator coil as well. 

A contractor may need to:

  • replace, seal, or repair the expansion valve
  • depressurize or replace the refrigerant 
  • clean the evaporator coil
  • check and/or repair the compressor

A contractor may also check the condenser coil during the repairs. Anything that affects the compressor may also affect the condenser coil. A contractor can help you avoid issues before they occur.

You can avoid future issues with your expansion valve, refrigerant, and other parts by having a contractor examine your HVAC system regularly. If you don't know exactly when to schedule your maintenance checks, consult an HVAC specialist.

For information about expansion valves and how they work, contact an air conditioning service today.