2 Air Handler Problems That Can Drain Or Impair Your HVAC Refrigerant

Posted on: 19 October 2016

The air handler inside your furnace acts as the interior portion of your central air conditioning system. The air handler contains the parts that actually cool the air that travels into your home. That cooling process relies on a chemical fuel called refrigerant. If the parts malfunction and drain or impair the refrigerant, your system will become less efficient and then cease functioning.

Here are a couple of air handler problems that can interfere with your HVAC refrigerant. Call an HVAC repair services company for a formal diagnosis and repairs.

Broken Expansion Valve

Liquid refrigerant enters into the air handler via copper lines that run from the condensing unit outside. The lines end at an expansion valve, which controls how much refrigerant moves into the evaporator coils at one time. The valve also prevents the passed along refrigerant from backtracking towards the condensing unit if a problem occurs in the coils.

If the refrigerant does backtrack, the liquid can end up back in the condensing coils and compressor, and neither is equipped to do anything with the material in that state. The liquid refrigerant can destroy the compressor and leave your unit nonfunctional.

How can you tell if the refrigerant might be backtracking, which indicates an expansion valve problem? Check the copper lines leading into the house for signs of frost. The liquid refrigerant going into the air handler is warm, but, if the liquid reverses direction after hitting the evaporator coils and cooling off, the lines will freeze over.

Dirty or Broken Evaporator Coils

If the refrigerant makes it through the expansion valve without problems, other issues can occur inside the evaporator coils. The coils are meant to transform the liquid refrigerant back into a gas, which causes the coils to become cold and provides the cooling source for the air in your home.

If the coils break, refrigerant will leak out with each pass the chemical makes through the system. Eventually, the coils won't have enough refrigerant left to undergo the phase change, and your air conditioner will stop working. An HVAC technician will need to replace the coils and top off your refrigerant levels to get the system working properly again.

Dirty coils can also cause phase change problems, though it won't cause a loss of refrigerant. The dirty coils make it harder, then impossible, for the phase change to happen. The efficiency loss will reflect in the air conditioner's functionality and can cause backtracking if the expansion valve is also malfunctioning.

If you suspect that a broken expansion valve or dirty or broken evaporator coils are causing your AC to malfunction, talk to a company like Allcounty Plumbing & Heating Corp for assistance.

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