Stay Cool and Reduct Fuel Use with These AC Tips
On sunny or hot days, the temperatures radiating off asphalt or concrete can easily top 130ºF. A strong-blowing air conditioning system is the one thing that can make those days bearable. But that cooling power comes at a cost in increased fuel consumption.
Drivers and fleet managers can help mitigate these additional fuel costs by taking a four-season approach to HVAC maintenance. In the winter, for example, any debris that collects on a truck’s heat exchangers should be removed promptly so the exchangers can deliver the dry air needed to defrost windows. Summer maintenance includes removing insects from the condenser and straightening any bent fins.
Here are other ideas that help improve the efficiency of a truck’s cooling system during the heat of summer:
- Use the recirculation button to recycle cooled air through the vehicle.
- Set the temperature to the full cold position, and then use the blower fan to control the amount of cool air flow.
- Check the vehicle’s air filter for clogs. One easy test is to turn on the blower motor and hold your hand in front of the vent. If the air flow is weak, the air filter may be clogged with debris. Check it for dust, dirt and other particles, and replace as necessary.
- Park in the shade and use a sun visor. According to one study, a conventional sun visor can reduce temperatures inside a vehicle by up to 15ºF.
The Role of Refrigerant
If an air conditioning system isn’t cooling as well as it used to, a refrigerant leak may be to blame. There are many stages that refrigerant goes through in an A/C system, and leaks can happen anywhere. Here’s how the process works:
- The air compressor acts as a pump to move refrigerant from a low-pressure gaseous state to a high-pressure heated gas before it enters the condenser.
- At that point, the condenser acts as a radiator to cool the gas, which condenses it into a high-pressure liquid.
- This high-pressure liquid next moves through the expansion valve, where it is converted into a low-pressure liquid. This low-pressure refrigerant then goes through the evaporator.
- Since the refrigerant has a low boiling point, the heat inside the cockpit of the truck boils the refrigerant, removing hot air from the interior and turning the refrigerant back into a low-pressure gas.
- Before the process begins again, the receiver drier, or accumulator, removes any water vapor that has accumulated as a result of the changes in refrigerant. This is essential because the air compressor cannot compress liquids.
If you think your system may be leaking, have it checked. Once any leaks are repaired, recharge the system with refrigerant.
Road Choice® Can Help You Keep Your Cool
Of course, refrigerant isn’t the only reason an air conditioning system isn’t performing properly. Other factors that can lead to poor air conditioning performance include a faulty compressor, or a bad or failing receiver drier. Road Choice offers a full selection of the HVAC parts and fluids you need for full-service maintenance, including compressors and receiver driers.
Road Choice Compressors are built of heavy-duty materials for greater durability and longer service life. Our extensive line of all-makes compressors includes upright types and rotary-style compressors. Our heavy-duty rotary-style compressors are built for durability and provide an extended service life over standard compressors. These compressors have a thermal fuse in the clutch coil that prevents locking up or slippage, and a pure steel bearing in the clutch rotor.
Road Choice Receiver Driers are made of high-grade steel and precision engineered on a slim-line design. Most Road Choice receiver driers have an easy-to-read moisture indicator that monitors the amount of moisture in the system. The indicator should be checked at every oil change or service. In addition, the receiver drier should be replaced every time a truck’s air conditioning system is opened for service, or once a year.