Understanding Your Air Conditioner's Throttling Device

An air conditioner represents a fairly sophisticated mechanical system, one that requires the close coordination of a number of different components. Unfortunately, a lack of understanding of these components causes many homeowners to fail to notice the signs of impending trouble. If you would like to arm yourself with valuable information about how your air conditioner works, read on. This article will introduce you to the role played by the so-called throttling device.

The Basics

The purpose of the throttling device is to help regulate the flow of the refrigerant within your system. This task can be achieved by one of several categories of throttling device. Currently there are four different options available:

  • capillary tubes
  • thermostatic expansion valves
  • automatic throttling valves
  • float valves

Don't worry too much about mastering the distinctions between these options. All are designed in order to meet the same key goals. The first involves keeping the refrigerant at the correct pressure; the second is to regulate the amount of refrigerant flowing into your evaporator unit.

Refrigerant Pressure

The throttling device is located midway between the condenser unit in your backyard and the evaporator inside of your home. As refrigerant flows out of the condenser toward the evaporator, it is in a state characterized by its high pressure and its medium temperature. As this refrigerant flows through the throttling device, both pressure and temperature are lowered.

This change is necessary in order for the refrigerant to be able to absorb heat once it has flowed into your evaporator. If the pressure is too high, the refrigerant will struggle to change from a liquid to a vapor. A lower pressure, on the other hand, will facilitate this transformation--as well as the heat absorption that goes along with it.

Refrigeration Load

As noted above, the second important role of the throttling device is to regulate the volume of refrigerant being allowed into the evaporator at any particular moment. This is necessary in order to promote the best possible efficiency, no matter what particular cooling demands are being placed on the system are at any given moment. Such demands are commonly referred to as the refrigeration load.

The throttling device must be capable of changing the flow of refrigerant into the evaporation unit in response to changes in the refrigeration load. For instance, when you turn your air conditioner to a colder setting, thus increasing the refrigeration load, the throttling device will allow a greater volume of refrigerant to flow in. This will increase the rate of cooling, thus ensuring that your home reaches a comfortable temperature as quickly as possible. For more information, contact companies like Allied Mechanical & Electrical, Inc.