The air conditioning unit in your vehicle operates similarly to a refrigerator. Your vehicle’s air conditioning unit is designed to move heat from the inside of your car to outside of it.
Your vehicle’s air conditioning unit has six major components:
- The refrigerant carries heat. In modern cars, refrigerant is a substance called R-134a. Older cars’ refrigerant is called r-12 freon, which is more expensive and difficult to find than R-134a.
- The compressor circulates and compresses refrigerant within the vehicle’s cooling system.
- Your vehicle’s condenser changes the refrigerant from gas to liquid and expels heat from the car.
- The expansion valve (sometimes called the orifice tube) is a nozzle that simultaneously drops the pressure of the refrigerant liquid, meter its flow and atomize it.
- Your vehicle’s evaporator transfers heat to the refrigerant from the air blown across it, cooling your car.
The receiver or dryer filters your vehicle’s refrigerant and oil, removing moisture and other contaminants from them.
When you start your vehicle’s air conditioning system, the compressor works by putting the refrigerant under pressure, sending it to the condensing coils, which are generally in front of your vehicle’s radiator. The condenser expels hot air to outside the car, cooling the air within the vehicle. When this happens, the refrigerant is cooled, and it changes from a gas to a liquid, which then passes through the expansion valve and to the evaporator.
Once the evaporator receives the liquid-state refrigerant, it loses pressure and cools the remaining liquid. The vehicle’s blower moves air across the evaporator and into the vehicle’s interior. If you keep your air conditioning unit turned on, the refrigerant goes through this cycle continuously.
If any of these components is damaged, it can turn your cool car into a furnace during the summer months. Your vehicle’s air conditioning issue could be as simple as topping off refrigerant to replacing a valve. When your air conditioning unit is not working as it should, bring your vehicle to Durham's Automotive. One of our trained air conditioning specialists will inspect your car’s air conditioner, all lines, the evaporator and the compressor for leaks and wear.
It’s the first hot day of the summer. Uncomfortably shifting in your seat, you turn on that long-neglected AC knob, only to discover an unwelcome blast of warm air streaming out from the vents. A bad situation made worse: that’s when you turn to us—your air conditioning service and repair headquarters. Did you know that without regular maintenance an air conditioner loses about 5% of its original efficiency per year? This means that without proper maintenance, your air conditioning unit may be performing as poorly as other models that are years older! But there is good news: you can still recover most of that lost efficiency. Schedule an appointment with one of our factory-trained professionals—we understand all aspects of AC repair, from modern computerized components to environmental disposal concerns. Today’s AC systems are fairly complex, and new improvements are always being initiated. That’s why you need to turn to us, the qualified source for everything related to your air conditioning system. The following is a brief schematic of some of the basic components that comprise this system:
The compressor is a belt-driven device that derives its name from compressing refrigerant gas and transferring it into the condenser. While basically acting as a simple pump, the compressor is the core of your vehicle’s air conditioning system.
The condenser’s primary function is to cool the refrigerant. It is a heat dissipating apparatus that radiates heat released by compressed gases and condenses them into high pressure liquids. The location of your condenser depends on how new your car is, but typically it’s found at the front of the vehicle, directly in front of the engine cooling radiator.
The receiver is a metal container that serves as a storage receptacle for the refrigerant. It’s also referred to as a drier because it absorbs moisture from the refrigerant and filters out particles of debris and harmful acids that would otherwise harm your AC system. Commonly located on the liquid line of the AC system, you should change your drier every 3-4 years to insure quality filtration and prevent any damage caused by these detrimental chemicals.
Orifice tube/expansion valve:
The orifice tube (also known as the expansion valve) is a controlling mechanism that regulates the flow of refrigerant throughout the system. In addition to this, it also converts high pressure liquid refrigerant (from the condenser) into a low pressure liquid, so that it can enter the evaporator. Generally located at the evaporator inlet, the orifice tube could also be found between the condenser and the evaporator, or in the outlet of the condenser.
The evaporator is designed to remove heat from the inside of your vehicle; therefore it’s a heat exchanger that’s vital to your vehicle’s AC system (not to mention your comfort). The evaporator allows the refrigerant to absorb heat, causing it to boil and change into a vapor. When this occurs, the vapor is removed from the evaporator by the compressor, cooling your car and reducing humidity. Because the evaporator houses the most refrigerant in this heat transfer process, it is the most susceptible to corrosion by harmful acids. Usually this damages the evaporator beyond repair, which is why it’s imperative you see us to prevent this from happening.