Understanding The Layout Of An Auto A/C Accumulator System

The auto A/C accumulator system was manufactured to eliminate moisture, debris and oil and to stop the remaining refrigerant from going back to the A/C compressor. The accumulator has a desiccant which absorbs moisture, and can be found within the air conditioning’s low pressure side or suction. Below is an overview of its layout.

How Accumulators Are Designed

Accumulators come with an outlet and inlet tube. Excess water droplets or refrigerant which enters it will flow towards the bottom. The refrigerant vapor will move within the desiccant prior to flowing outward from the accumulator. Most of these systems also utilize the orifice tube, which meters a fixed refrigerant flow for the evaporator. An orifice tube is responsible for refrigerant expansion, which reduces pressure prior to evaporator entry.

The thermostatic switch (also called a pressure switch) will be used by the system help cycle the clutch of the compressor, which controls the temperature of the evaporator. The orifice tube also plays a key role in stopping the evaporator from flooding and icing. Usually, this tube will be positioned among the evaporator and condenser. Aside from the orifice tube, some vehicles utilize an expansion valve as an alternative. The receiver drier can be used in place of an accumulator.

Signs That Your Accumulator Or Orifice Tube Is Going Bad

Accumulators which have atmospheric exposure will allow moisture to get inside the system. The desiccant will absorb this moisture, and if atmospheric exposure continues the desiccant will eventually become completely full of it. Over time this can cause corrosion since a desiccant that has absorbed high levels of moisture can make the orifice tube freeze. This will stop the refrigerant from flowing throughout the air conditioning system. Furthermore, the orifice tube might also become clogged.

Once the orifice tube or accumulator fails, the air conditioning will not provide the same quality of air. Additionally, the accumulator will might make rattling sounds whenever the air conditioning is turned on. Accumulators which are cracked will cause refrigerant leakage, which can be seen through the usage of a leak dye that is ultraviolet. If the orifice tube is going bad, this can be seen in the A/C gauges, in the form of either fluctuations or readings which are irregular.

Although some car owners attempt to repair the accumulator themselves, the best solution is to simply replace it. Not only will this provide the most efficient A/C cooling, but it will prevent further damage to other vehicle parts such as the compressor. If foreign materials or moisture are allowed to get inside the compressor the problem will go from bad to worse. While most accumulators are largely the same, they can differ slightly in design from one vehicle to another. This is why it is important to purchase the right model when shopping for a replacement and these devices should only be installed by a technician that is licensed to do so.