Auto Air Conditioning Repair in Austin, TX
Automotive air conditioning was first introduced in 1939 by Packard. It was an option offered for $274.00. In order to turn it off, the driver had to disconnect the compressor belt under the hood.
A lot has changed since 1939, but the basic principles and components are still the same.
An automotive air conditioning system consists of many components:
- Compressor- located under the hood, the compressor is a belt driven pump. It compresses the refrigerant and moves it through the system.
- Evaporator- Located under the dash, the evaporator removes the heat and moisture from the outside air.
- Condenser- Located in front of the radiator, the condenser cools the hot Freon before returning it to the compressor.
- Dryer- the dryer removes moisture and contaminates from the refrigerant
- Blower motor- Blows air across the evaporator and out of the ducts
- Hoses- Hoses carry the refrigerant between the various components
- Refrigerant- A substance which is reversible from liquid to gas
- Pressure switches- The switches are used to cycle the system. Without them the system would freeze
- Actuators- Actuators open and close the blend doors
- Blend doors - Blend doors are used to blend hot air from the heater and the cold air to achieve a comfortable temperatur.
Various sensors and controls- Modern a/c units use computer controlled sensors and controls for split a/c systems.
A malfunction in any of these components will affect the performance of the system. A system may be full of refrigerant, but have a malfunctioning temperature blend door and not cool.
Air condition works by placing refrigerant under high pressure (250psi) and forcing it through narrow openings. It is never a good idea to try and charge an A/C system yourself. If too much refrigerant is added to the system, the high pressures can cause the hoses to separate. People have been seriously injured when a hose blew off and whipped under the pressure, striking them in the face or body.
Other dangers include low cost or black market refrigerant. Often times, these refrigerants include butane, which can explode while charging the a/c system or upon impact during an accident.
Special Equipment is Required to Service A/C Systems
- Evacuation pump - Since moisture is an enemy of air conditioning, it is very important to evacuate the system completely before adding the exact amount of refrigerant.
- Charging scale - Refrigerant is measured in weight, and an accurate scale is needed to measure out the exact amount
- Pressure gauges - Pressure gauges are used to diagnose the system
- Refrigerant identifier - Used to identify dangerous butane
- Refrigerant reclaim/recycler - Because of its potential damage to the earth’s ozone layer, it is against federal law to vent refrigerant into the atmosphere. You must recover refrigerant and reuse it or properly dispose of it.
- Refrigerant leak detector - Used to detect the smallest leaks in an a/c system
Symptoms of A/C Problems
- System does not cool properly
- Knocking noise when compressor turns on
- Smoke from vents when blower is activated
- Lack of temperature control
- Oily residue around hose connections or components
- Worn or frayed belt
- No air circulation