What is an Expansion Valve in an Air Conditioner?

A bad expansion valve in your air conditioning system can cause a variety of problems, from extra pressure to blocked airflow. Knowing the symptoms of a failed or failing expansion valve is key to ensuring that your AC runs smoothly and efficiently. Read on to learn what an expansion valve does, and how it works.

An expansion valve is an important component of a cooling system, like the one found in your air conditioning unit. It helps regulate and maintain the flow of refrigerant, which cools the air when it is released into the evaporator coil inside your unit. This type of thermal expansion valve works by using a small metal bulb filled with liquid refrigerant that is attached to the outlet line from the compressor.

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As this liquid refrigerant flows through the valve, the temperature change causes the valve to open or close depending on what needs to happen at any given time. For instance, if the AC needs more cold air, the valve will open wider to allow for greater amounts of liquid refrigerant to pass through. This results in cooler temperatures as the refrigerant passes through the evaporator coil.

A malfunctioning expansion valve can lead to a variety of problems, including reduced airflow, poor cooling performance, and higher energy bills. In order to prevent these issues from occurring, it’s important to be aware of some of the signs that could indicate your expansion valve is not operating correctly.

Signs such as high or low refrigerant flow, uncontrolled temperature changes, a loud noise coming from your AC unit, an increase in humidity levels, and/or an unexplained spike in your energy bill are all indicators that something may be wrong with your expansion valve. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to have a professional technician inspect your system to determine what needs to be done.