What is Superheat, and Why Does it Matter?
Have you ever heard the term superheat? Unless you study thermodynamics, or you’ve been reading our website, or talking to our technicians, then probably not. Don’t feel alone though. It’s sad to admit, but many heating and air conditioning companies don’t even know what superheat is, why it’s important, or even how to check it. This is another, of many, reasons why AirPro is the most trusted heating and air conditioning company in Eastern Arkansas!
What is Superheat?
Technically speaking, superheat is the temperature of a gas or vapor, above the boiling point for that liquid.
Let’s take water, for example. Under normal conditions (at sea level, etc) water will boil at about 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When we heat water to this temperature, it results in a physical change of state in which the water turns from a liquid into a gas (steam). If we continue to heat this gas — the steam — it will cause it to go above water’s boiling point of 212 degrees. This increase in temperature, above 212 degrees, would be the superheat. In other words, if we increased the temperature from 212 to 215 degrees, we would have superheated the steam 3 degrees.
How does Superheat Apply to Air Conditioning?
Given the above example, where water boils at 212 degrees, you may have wondered what this has to do with air conditioning. One of the key things to making your air conditioner work is the liquid refrigerant inside of it, often called freon. This refrigerant, unlike water, has an extremely low boiling point. Where water boils and turns into a vapor (gas), at 212 degrees, most refrigerants boil at a frigid negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or colder!
Inside of your air conditioning system, liquid refrigerant is pumped through copper tubes into a piece of equipment known as an evaporator coil. At the same time, a fan passes hot air from inside of your house through this same evaporator coil. Since the air from your house is much hotter than the refrigerant’s boiling point of around -40 degrees Fahrenheit, as it passes through the evaporator coil, the refrigerant starts to boil and is converted into a gas. As this happens, the gas “absorbs” the latent heat from the air, resulting in the air being cooled down before being delivered back into your home.
Why is Superheat Important to Me, the Customer?
As a customer, the main thing you should know is that superheat is
Having the precise amount of refrigeration that your air conditioning unit requires is crucial. If you don’t have enough, your system can’t function correctly. If you have too much, there is a risk of liquid freon being transported back to the compressor, resulting in permanent damage!
By measuring the superheat of your air conditioner’s refrigerant, a skilled technician can ensure that your system has the precise amount of refrigerant needed to operate correctly.
Let AirPro Inspect and Service Your Air Conditioner Today
Letting AirPro check your superheat and service your air conditioner is a great way to ensure that it’s running safely, and at peak efficiency. Don’t wait until it’s too late — schedule to have your air conditioner inspected and serviced today!