What’s the Difference Between Auto Heating & Cooling? | Clarksburg, MD | AutoStream Car Care

Auto AC & Heating Explained

Keep Me Comfortable!

Today’s travelers want the benefit of heat in the winter and cool air conditioning in the summer. But keeping your car’s AC system working isn’t as straightforward. The ASE certified technicians at AutoStream Car Care in Clarksburg, Maryland, know all the ins and outs of vehicle climate control and will be glad to assist you with staying warm or cool.

How Auto AC Works

To cool your car, the compressor changes the refrigerant to a liquid state. This liquid is under pressure, traveling through hoses to the condenser where the two work together much like a radiator. The refrigerant then moves through an expansion valve or orifice tube to the evaporator core. Now in a gaseous state,the refrigerant absorbs heat as the air passes through the evaporator fins. The cooled air goes through the air vents and into the passenger cabin, while the warm refrigerant returns to the compressor.

How Heating Works

For those of us not trained in heating and air conditioning, it may seem odd that the heater is essentially a small version of the cooling system. Engine coolant that has been heated circulates through the heater core, a small radiator. The fan in front of the heater core pulls cold outside air over the radiator fins, heating the air that goes through the vents and into the passenger cabin.

Potential Problems

If your refreshing cool airflow has been disrupted, you could have one of the following issues. Perhaps the car has developed an electrical problem such as a broken wire that keeps power from reaching the AC system. Also, the condenser could have been punctured by flying road debris. If this has happened, the heat exchange process cannot occur. Compressor failure will keep refrigerant from circulating. Improperly working fans will prevent the condenser from being sufficiently cooled, impacting the refrigerant temperature. Finally, perhaps a small hole in the system has led to a refrigerant leak.

In contrast, if you’re suddenly shivering as you drive, you could have one of these problems: Sludge or rust could be clogging the heater core, preventing adequate circulation. Also, you could have a core leak that allows coolant to escape. A tell-tale sign may be a sweet smell (coolant) or white steam that enters the car’s interior. If you’re too cold or too hot when driving, make AutoStream Car Care in Clarksburg, Maryland, your next stop to get yourself traveling in perfect comfort again.

Written by Doug Grills