Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Lafayette Hill’

What Are Thermostatic Expansion Valves?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

The thermostatic expansion valve, sometimes known as a TEX, TEV or TXV, is a critical piece to influence the efficiency of your Blue Bell air conditioning and refrigeration units.  A tiny sensor controlling the evaporating phase of process, the valve can have a big effect.

Cool air is manufactured by a re rapid movement of a refrigerant between liquid and gaseous states.  Compound chemicals that are able to do this at a low temperature are compressed and expanded, absorbing and releasing heat at different points along the way.  The TEV controls the flow of the refrigerant into the evaporator coils according to the temperatures of the various ingredients.

Cool Air 101

To condition air, the refrigerant, most often freon or another fast acting, low temp compound, evaporates into a gas that runs through a coil and absorbs heat.  Passing through a compressor, the freon condenses under pressure back into a liquid again and releases the heat, becoming cool enough to chill a party.

Too much freon in the evaporator tube and the pressure is not low enough to expand to gas and absorb heat, working inefficiently for no gain.  Too little freon and the conversion is also ineffective by not reaching the density needed to condense.

There are four types of valves with different benefits for different types of cooling environments.  With its ability to adjust minutely to changing conditions, the thermal expansion valve creates the perfect mixture of pressure and freon for more complicated systems.

At the Starting Gate

An interactive device, the valve senses the evaporator pressure and temperature and adjusts the flow of the refrigerant so as to maintain a given “superheat”, the differ­ence between the refrigerant vapor temperature and its sat­uration temperature.  By controlling superheat, the TEV keeps nearly the entire evaporator surface active while not permit­ting liquid refrigerant to return to the compressor.

Some valves operate on an electrical impulse from sensors that can measure the temperatures.  Others are open all the time.  The thermostatic expansion valve actually utilizes the pressure between the two sections to open or close itself, regulating flow based on the very same pressure it is designed to moderate.

Like the buildings they comfort, Blue Bell central air conditioning systems are varied and diverse.  There are nearly as many thermostatic expansion valves as there are units to receive them. Call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today if you need any air conditioning service in the Blue Bell area!

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What Is the Energy Star Label?

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Any time you go out and buy any type of appliance in Norristown, you probably notice that some have a distinct mark that signifies them as Energy Star appliances. That sounds like a good thing, of course, but what does it actually mean? Should you always buy an Energy Star model over another type?

The Energy Star label was originally developed to help consumers more easily recognize appliances that are more energy efficient than the average. In order to obtain an Energy Star seal of approval, any device must meet very strict guidelines when it comes to energy efficiency.

What that translates into for you as a consumer is a lower monthly energy bill when you buy Energy Star appliances. Of course, once they have obtained an Energy Star labels, manufacturers can charge whatever they want for their product, and it is not unusual to pay more for a model that is certified an Energy Star.

However, as long as the potential savings over time that you will get by using the Energy Star model as opposed to one that is not as energy efficient outweigh the difference in initial purchase price, it is worth it to spend a bit more on the Energy Star model.

Keep in mind, though, that just because a produce meets the Energy Star guidelines for energy efficiency does not necessarily mean that it is a superior product in terms of quality or overall effectiveness. Plus, not all Energy Star appliances are created equal. You should still do your research and pick out the product that will both save you the most money and has the best chance of getting the job done right.

Another benefit to Energy Star products is that, because they use less energy when they run, they also have a smaller impact on the environment than a model that uses a greater amount of energy to perform the same tasks.

Overall, it is definitely worth taking a closer look at all of the Energy Star options out there when you are purchasing an air conditioning system or any other type of appliance. Using less energy is always a good thing both for your bank account and for the planet. But you also want to make sure you are actually getting the best product for your money. Ask your local professional about other energy saving options.

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Bathtub Drain Plumbing: Things You Should Know

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

When we think of clogged drains and plumbing problems, we most frequently think of toilets and kitchen sinks, but one of the most common drains to cause problems in a home is the bathtub. To avoid drain problems and to help fix any problems that might crop up, here are some tips for how to handle your finicky bathtub drain.

  • How the Bathtub Drain Works – A Bath tub drain works the same as the other drains in your home with a simple trap that ensures the safe transfer of water out of your home and blockage of sewer gasses from getting into your home. The drain itself is frequently open with a small crack – roughly a quarter inch – beneath a larger drain plug that can be lowered when you fill the tub. While the space is not large enough for objects like a bar of soap to enter, it is plenty large enough for hair, soap scum, and other small objects from a bath or shower to enter and start clogging that trap.
  • Cleaning the Drain – To cut down on how much hair and gunk actually gets into the drain you should take off the entire drain mechanism once a week and remove any excess hair. You should also use some form of wire device like a bent coat hanger or scrubber to reach in and remove any hair you can reach. There are specific plumbing devices to help with this as well, but a hanger works just fine assuming you do not have a heavy clog. It is also a good idea to run boiling water through your drain once every week to clear out any soap and hair build up. While most soap is water soluble, it can create a thick, greasy clog when combined with hair. Hot water can help to remove it before a clog occurs.
  • If a Clog Occurs – If a clog does occur, you should use the hot water method along with a plunger to try and clear out as much of the clog as possible. Avoid chemical use at all costs. Bathrooms are usually small rooms and even with the fan on, the fumes can be dangerous and the chemicals caustic on your pipes and tub. Baking soda and vinegar often help for small clogs, but otherwise, you should move on to a snake for physical clog removal.

If you have a clog deeper than the snake can reach or that you simply cannot affect with the tools listed above, it may be necessary to call a professional who can track your clog into the pipes and find where the root of the problem is. It might be just too deep in your drainage pipe or it could be a completely different area of your plumbing system.

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