Do You Have A Clogged Accumulator?
A vehicle’s air conditioning system is designed in such a way that every component within it plays an integral role to continue running effectively. When one component fails, all other components may no longer operate as effectively as before. It may even lead to a complete system shutdown. One of the most sensitive components in a car’s A/C is the accumulator.
The accumulator is designed to keep the refrigerant, when it is at its liquid state, from entering the compressor. When the accumulator gets clogged, it can lead to serious A/C problems if the problem is not resolved immediately. Now, how can you tell if your car has a clogged accumulator?
Car Takes a Long Time to Cool
One of the most obvious signs that your A/C’s accumulator is clogged is when you experience little or no cold air from your air conditioner vents. As mentioned earlier, an accumulator keeps the liquid refrigerant from getting into the compressor. However, it does more than that. An accumulator also removes debris and dirt from the system. Sometimes debris and dirt can build up in the accumulator, clogging it over time. Once the accumulator gets clogged, the refrigerant will fail to circulate properly leading to decreased cold air.
High Pressure Ranges
The amount of refrigerant available in an air conditioning system determines the pressure levels inside the system. Every A/C system is designed to maintain specific levels of refrigerant. When the refrigerant is too much, high levels of pressures are created which can lead to system malfunctioning. The accumulator is designed to withstand low pressures from the liquid refrigerant. If the pressure exceeds what is required, the accumulator clogs. It is best to keep checking the pressure ranges inside your system to ensure the levels are closely regulated. The high pressure valve ranges between 225-240 psi while the low pressure valve ranges between 25-40 psi.
An air conditioning system is designed to allow in regulated amounts of moisture. However, if too much moisture gets into the system, it can promote the growth of bacteria and mold which in turn creates an unpleasant odor. An air conditioning system comes with a drier installed near the compressor. The drier is meant to take care of any excess moisture in the system and if it breaks down, the accumulator gets clogged and a bad smell can be felt from the system with time.
An accumulator is designed to keep liquid refrigerant from getting into a compressor. This is because, a refrigerant is not meant to mix with moisture because it forms corrosive acids. If an accumulator is faulty, it will allow the liquid refrigerant to get into the compressor. Once here, the refrigerant mixes with moisture forming corrosive acids. The acid goes to other components in the air conditioning system and creates holes in the hoses. The end result of this damage is leaking of mineral oil and refrigerant. Once you establish you have a clogged accumulator, you should have a qualified technician take a look at your car’s A/C to confirm the same before working on it. A technician will check the extent of damage in your system due to the clogged accumulator in order to know which course of action to take next.