Car Air Conditioning FAQ's
Air Conditioning FAQ's
Got a Car Air Con Question ? If we haven't answered it in our FAQ's please give us a call today !
A car air conditioning system is composed of four basic parts - a pump, driven by a belt and known as a compressor (to compress and ciculate refrigerant gas), a radiator like unit known as a condenser to release heat and condense gas to a liquid, an evaporator to withdraw heat from the car and remove moisture from refrigerant and an expansion device known as an orifice tube or a thermal expansion valve (TXV), (subject to the type of air-con system used).
Your air conditioner system is designed to absorb heat from the air within the inside of the car then transfer it to the exterior, leaving only cooled or 'conditioned' air to be recirculated. As hot air is passed across the fins of the evaporator the heat is easily absorbed by the refrigerant (in gas form), effectively removing the heat from the air in the car and taking it outside.
The now heated gas is pulled through the compressor where it is further heated (via compression) to a very high temperature. The refrigerant is then literally forced through the condenser, allowing the cooler outside air to quickly extract the heat from the refrigerant as it is condensed to a liquid. The refrigerant then moves through the expansion device (either a TXV or Orifice tube), which regulates the flow of refrigerant going to the evaporator. At this point the refrigerant expands back into a gas form and the entire process begins all over again.
What happens during a car air conditioning service?
A typical air conditioner service may include
Test air vent temperature
- condenser temperature check
- Evaluate suction line temperature
- Pulley and drive belt adjusted
- Confirm correct operation of thermostats and valves
- Validate condenser fins are clean
- Assess condition of of components and hoses
- Evacuation and recharge of refrigerant (where required)
- Use electronic leak detector to ensure no components or system lines leak
Why do I need a car air conditioner system service?
Compressor Seizure can be prevented by checking or changing the oil level in the refrigerant. If the air filters become plugged with dirt and bacteria it will affect the performance of the entire system and it can even cause it to fail to work altogether. As well as degrading air conditioner efficiency, dirty air filters can cause all kinds of health problems too.
An air conditioning system needs to be examined annually for any signs of problems with the seals, hoses and connections to ensure refrigerant is not leaking over time. Regular service of your auto air conditioner keeps refrigerant at optimum levels meaning the system does not need to work as hard and this in turn protects the system from damage and reduces the amount of fuel you use.
Your air conditioner system is designed to absorb heat from the air within the inside of the car then send it to the exterior, leaving only cooled or 'conditioned' air to be recirculated. This is achieved using a special compound called refrigerant, capable of readily absorbing heat as a gas and quickly losing heat as a liquid.
While it operates in a way like a domestic refrigerator, there are some significant differences. Being fixed to your car, the air conditioner unit is subjected to a colossal amount of movement and vibration in addition to performing in an outdoor environment.
Being exposed to the mercy of the elements and very diverse operating temperatures and being expected to function occasionally rather than being 'Always On' can cause failure of the hoses, connections and seals. Your car air conditioner must be checked once a year while being properly serviced at least every two years to ensure there are no problems or refrigerant loss due to failure or leakage from these points.
Simply by cooling the air in your car under normal running conditions, the filters of the air con get dirty. If the system is run infrequently, seals may dry and crack allowing them to leak and the air conditioning system can lose as much as 15% of its refrigerant in a single year. Even without leaks, the gas in a car air conditioning system will eventually degrade or evaporate over time and should be recharged regularly to keep the air con system in peak running condition
Under Australian law, only qualified mechanics with the appropriate licences are able to service or repair car air conditioning systems, especially where regas (recharging of the refrigerant) is concerned. Strict guidelines and procedures must be adhered to when handling refrigerant, which must always be fully recovered and not allowed to escape into the atmosphere during servicing.
Refrigerant can also pose serious health risks if handled incorrectly. Specialist equipment is also required as the air conditioning system is under extreme pressure and must be pulled into a deep vacuum to remove any moisture, which can seriously damage the system.You can find out more about licensing on the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) Website.
The damp environment inside the evaporator core can support the development of bacteria, microbes and even fungus growth. This can lead to nasty smells and possibly even be bad for the health of any vehicle occupants. Modern evaporator units tend to be more efficient, but more fins equals increased capability to trap moisture and allow for micro-organism development.
Mr Spanner`s Automotive mechanics employ specialised ultrasonic technology to ensure the destruction of any micro-organisms that may be causing bad smells or health concerns.Just ask about our MIST service, which will kill any bacteria that may be lurking in your Car's Air system. These bacteria can cause odours and even make you sick, especially if you have allergies or asthma. A MIST service doesn't just make your car smell better - it makes it healthier for you and your family.
Mr Spanner`s Automotive in Sumner are qualified to manage air conditioning repairs, services and regas on most makes and models.
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