There are many components to an air conditioning system that all work together to create a cool and comfortable home. Here in Southern Nevada, we depend greatly on our air conditioning systems to help get us through our intense summers. When one component fails, often the entire cooling system is affected. Today, Hal Mechanical would like to put the focus on the air conditioner’s expansion valve and what signs to watch for if this component breaks down or fails.
How Do Expansion Valve’s Work?
There are several complex steps that are taken to create the needed cool air for our homes and businesses. Within the cooling system each component has a part to play. The expansion valve is designed to regulate the amount of refrigerant used during the cooling process. Along with regulating, the expansion valve also helps to depressurize the refrigerant which helps change it from a gas back into a liquid. When the expansion valve fails there is not enough refrigerant supplied during the cooling cycle. When the expansion valve fails or breaks down it often develops one of three symptoms.
Should AC Coils Have Ice on Them?
As one of the functions of the expansion valve is to depressurize the refrigerant, when the expansion valve stops working, the refrigerant can become very cold. As the temperature becomes more intense, ice will begin to build up. This points to the expansion valve not turning off at all the during a cycle and then too much refrigerant may have passed through. As a result ice will form. Ice can develop in many different places such as on or near the evaporator coils, or even around the unit itself. For a split cooling system, ice can build up on the indoor and outdoor unit as well. However, ice can also point to other issues including refrigerant leaks, dirty coils or a clogged air filter. When ice builds up, turn off the unit and contact an HVAC service to determine the cause of the ice.
Why Does My Air Compressor Keep Running?
When the expansion valve is stuck on, the result is that the compressor will also stay running. When the expansion valve is stuck on it will continually feed the refrigerant to the compressor which is forcing the compressor to run. If your compressor continually runs and will not shut off, this points to the expansion valve being stuck on. If you notice the compressor is running non-stop turn off the air conditioner right away. A compressor can overheat and or break down. Replacing a compressor is much more expensive than replacing a simple expansion valve. To avoid the additional cost of repair turn off the unit and call an HVAC service.
Air Conditioner Makes Loud Noises
As a consequence of a stuck expansion valve the rest of the air conditioner will run longer and longer. Components will begin to quickly wear down, and signs of the wear can be heard. When you hear banging, clanging, or squealing coming from the air conditioner, this is a bad sign. You will often hear these noises each time the air conditioner starts up. If you are hearing loud noises, again turn off the cooling system and seek help.