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Air Conditioning System Superheat & Subcooling Procedures for

Optimal Charging

- with Darrell Udelhoven - HVAC RETIRED - * Customers A Simple

A/C Check you can do!
Checking BTUH Performance of your Air Conditioner |* HEAT

First, Anchor link, Determining which metering device TXV or

Fixed Orifice - without looking| SUBCOOLING|

WARNING: on units with a Thermostatic Expansion Valve (TXV), you

cannot use the suction pressure to check the charge;
many appear to be doing this; it tells you nothing. *Instructive HVAC
Videos at bottom of this page!

*Basics Featuring the Testo 556 - *Video of thorough required

Air Conditioning BTUH Performance Test

Always begin with a thorough Home Energy AUDIT that shows all
the options for lowering the heat-gain & heat-loss, then after
reducing air infiltration, etc., have a room by room manual J
heatload calc performed. A reduction in equipment sizing will
usually greatly improve the duct system performance.

This is where the greatest savings in both heating & cooling will
accrue; this will help in the down-sizing of equipment.

"The 'proper heatload' on the evaporator coil must be established"

Check and thoroughly seal all the ductwork! For efficient operation,
always check the return air temperature at the blower & at the
Return Air Grille(s) to know whether it is drawing hot air from the
attic or garage areas.

What I stated above, that ought to be done is far more important

than SEER rating; as the above will determine the SEER achieved &
the energy savings.

Then do a manual J room by room heat-gain calc with the option

shown so you can do everything possible to reduce all sources of
heat-gain & heat-loss, greatly reducing both heat & cooling BTUH
equipment sizing.

Before you do anything else, educate yourself enough to "ensure

that you request the proper things be done in the proper order of
sequence." Checking ductwork & Airflow Checking Static
Pressures is Critically Important. As is knowing the operating feet
per minute (FPM) velocity, the CFM & BTUH to each room along with
the Total CFM airflow & BTUH.
Only after you have verified that all the coils are clean & the airflow is
can you begin to check the system's charge using Subcooling method
with a Superheat check.
Always check the actual airflow CFM 'before' checking the
charge, - get that Right First!

There is a local TXV 1.5-Ton system that has very low airflow, actually
less than 200-cfm per-ton of cooling,
they're only checking the suction pressure & saying the charge &
everything is okay!

By the way, the furnace is a 112,000-btuh output & requires near

1200-CFM; it is a CRIME to do such an A/C installation!

That system has a TXV & shows; 98-F condenser saturation temp & 97-
F liquid line temp near E-Coil,
a mere 1-F Subcooling, it's undercharged even with a mere 200-cfm
per-ton cooling load! Unbelievable, - but it's happening out there!

Check the Superheat & the Subcooling as outlined below and always
compare to the charging instructions that are with the equipment as
some use the
Approach Method & other methods may vary the operating figures &
Target figures vary somewhat from Super Heat & Sub Cooling

Those varied methods will usually be close to Super-Heat (SH) & Sub-
Cooling (SC) results. I would always use the SH & SC
method in conjunction with the mfg'ers method to trouble shoot the
refrigerant system.

Let's say with a TXV according to the Target Super Heat & your
collected data indicates a starved evaporator coil & a normal or slightly
off Subcooling,
even if you are using a Mfg'ers Approach Method do NOT automatically
believe that it is undercharged.

One company is reportedly having problems with TXVs starving

Evaporator Coils, or it could be a partially plugged TXV strainer/screen
or other restriction.
A new easy to use Super Heat & Sub Cooling test instrument:

Optimize Evaporator BTU/hr Heat Input 1st always - "Optimize

evaporator airflow heatload."

To Determine Super Heat (SH):

*** First, the airflow through the evaporator has to be
absolutely correct blower wheel blades & evaporator clean!

1. Take the Suction Saturation Temperature (SST) reading from your

manifold gauge.

2. Then take the Suction Line Temperature (SLT) as close to the

condensing section just before the serve valve.

3. Take the difference between the above readings (Suction Line Temp
'minus' Gauge Saturation temp reading) = Superheat

4. When ambient air temperature (Outside air temperature) is 85

degrees or above the Superheat should be 8-12 degrees.
Thermostatic Expansion Valves (TEV / TXV) should be set for a
minimum 8-F Degrees Superheat.

Some Heat Pumps with TXV's are set at 7 to 9-F Super Heat because
they have Suction Line Accumulators to store any spill-over liquid,
which protects the compressor.

Superheat should be checked as close to the inlet of the evaporator

refrigerant metering device as possible.

For TXV Subcooling, take the pressure of the liquid line note
the gauge saturation temperature.
Compare it to the actual temperature obtained near the same
point the pressure was obtained.
Thermostatic Expansion Valves (TEV / TXV) should be set for a
minimum 10-Degrees Superheat on A/C systems
Heat pumps with accumulators down to 7-F Super Heat.

This linked page is strictly a SUPERHEAT TABLE Print these

Tables & use them!

Print this Two linked pdf pages: Target Super Heat Chart and
this Target Temperature Split for Airflow Chart

Here is a formula for getting the Super Heat Target - Within

normal perimeters:
((IWB) Indoor Wet Bulb X's 3 - 80 - (OAT) Outdoor Ambient
Temp) / divided by 2 = Superheat Target

5. If Superheat is low then the evaporator is flooding. Note: Do NOT

adjust charge YET.

6. If Superheat is high then the evaporator is starving. Note: Do NOT

adjust charge YET!

7. Do not adjust charge UNTIL Sub-Cooling is checked.

Note: When charging a system using Superheat, you are charging

the unit to the amount of air (CFM) and total heat load that is
crossing the evaporator coil
(Thus, the amount of latent and sensible heat load being absorbed by
the evaporator coil).

Note: Do not adjust charge based on Superheat on systems with

Thermal Expansion Valves (TXV, TEV's), (use Liquid Line Sub-Cooling.
TEV’s control the superheat; you should check the superheat to see if
the TEV is working properly.
Thermostatic Expansion Valves (TEV / TXV) should be set for a
minimum 8-Degrees Super Heat.

To Determine Liquid Line Sub-Cooling (SC):

*** First, the airflow through a clean evaporator has to be
absolutely checked as being correct!
1. Take the high side pressure and convert it to temperature using
chart or gauge.

2. Then take the temperature of the liquid line as close to the

condenser as possible..

3. Take the difference between the above readings. (Saturation Temp

– Liquid Line Temp.).
Note: liquid line temperature at the evaporator should be within 2
degrees of liquid line temperature at condensing unit.
If not, could be a restriction or line set too long.

4. Sub-Cooling with a TXV, should be around 9 to 15-F degrees,

always check with the mfg’ers for correct SC
5. Then using the information from Superheat and Sub-Cooling we can
have some idea where to look for a problem.
Suction Line Temp is ------- 60 degrees @ condenser
Gauge Suction Pressure is ------76-psig ---- 45 degrees, Read Gauge
Suction Saturation Temperature (SST)
60 degrees – 45 degrees = 15 degree Superheat - Adjust charge to the
mfg'ers Super Heat settings

Liquid Pressure is ------------226-psig --------110 degrees, Read Gauge -

Liquid Saturation Temperature (LST)
Liquid Line Temp (LLT) is -------------95 degrees
110 degrees – 95 degrees = 15 degree Sub-Cooling - Adjust
Refrigerant charge to the mfg'ers SC settings
On TXV metered systems the Subcooling should be within +/-
2-F of the mfg’ers installation instructions.
Air Conditioning Performance Diagnosis using listed (CT)
Condensing Temperatures

Using Goodman 16-SEER "Expanded Performance Data"

Find the correct (CT) Condensing Temperature with the

following known mfg’ers data.

Outdoor Ambient Temp (OAT) 85-F; IDB 75-F; IWB 63-F or 50%-
Listed pressure is 316-psig, or 99-F CT; that is 99-F -85-F is a

The delta T or temp-split should be within a 10-psig range or,

+/- 2-F degrees; 97 or 101-F.

The mfg’ers Supply Outlet should be able to provide

Contractors & Techs with those performance data charts.
Goodman has their “Expanded Performance Data” on the
(1) Get a low-cost digital flat-headed pocket Thermometer to
use flat on the piping;
these test instruments will PAY big returns!

(2)Get a low cost Testo Tester & ballpark figure actual BTUH &
EER - the information on it:
(3)Home owners; -a very low cost anemometer to get airflow
FPM Velocities, I'd get it:

Get a low cost Testo Tester & ballpark figure actual BTUH &
EER - the information on it:

Also, get a low-cost digital flat-headed pocket Thermometer to

use flat on the piping; these test instruments will PAY big
This should be helpful, as you can use this info to determine
the actual realtime BTUH output of your A/C system:
Take the Supply Air & Return Air wet bulb temperatures &
interpose them on the enthalpy chart linked below.
Duct system CFM X* 4.5 @sea-level, or use X* 4.35 if 1000'
above sea-level,
X* change in enthalpy = BTUH (Ballpark) Operating
"U Must Right Click Link & open in New Tab," look-up wet bulb
enthalpy figures on chart," & figure enthalpy change.
Wet Bulb Enthalpy Chart

Rules of Thumb for Duct Systems - Hart&Cooley


Look at the ducting, if it is not to code; make hard copies of

this code & give it to whoever does the ducting work
Make sure they redo it right!
Never have flex duct interiors commercially cleaned, I just viewed
Home Inspection photos showing the interior damaged & insulation
plugging the duct.
Home Inspectors warn people because the duct cleaner's tell them it
won't damage the ducts. Some HI's look into the boot areas for clues of
Identifying your registers/diffusers & their (Ak) sq.ft. area, so you can
multiply the FPM Velocity times the Ak to get the (CFM) Cubic Feet per
Minute airflow from that register.
Have or do a manual J heat-gain calc for each room. If a room calls for
3,000-BTUH; first divide 12,000-BTUH by the CFM PER TON you want to

I.E., Wet coil, 12,000/400=30-BTUH per each CFM; Wet coil

12,000/425=28.235294; 3000/28.235-= 106.25-CFM;
Dry coil, 12,000/450= 26.6666-BTUH; 3500 / 26.6666= 131.25-CFM
If register/diffuser has the same (Ak) free-airflow-area, as the duct run!

Room calls for 3,500-BTUH, using 450-cfm per/ton dry coil or 26.6666-
BTUH per CFM= 131.25-CFM.
I.E., 6" rd duct .6*6=36*.7854=28.2744sq.ins/144=0.19635-sq.ft.;
131.25-cfm / 0.19635-sq.ft= or 668.4-fpm velocity.

• SP2 = (rpm2/rpm 1)2 X SP1 = SP2

Required fan motor horsepower (hp) varies as to the cube of the rpm

• hp2 = (rpm2/rpm1)3 x hp1 = hp2

CFM Fan delivery varies directly as to the fan RPM speed:

• cfm2 = (rpm2/rpm1) X cfm1 = cfm2

Duct retro-work can solve the problem, increasing blower HP alone

won't usually work!
A few calculations plus retro-work and presto, a matched airflow with
your systems' heat absorbing coil capacities,
delivering near its BTUH, EER, and SEER ratings at normal room
temperature settings! (Most don't)

*You could ballpark the CFM using the static test & a air handler graph.
You could measure the CFM delivered to each room with a hood Alnor
it's usually the best instrument to use, but not cheap. Measuring the
air velocity is a bit tricky because you have to use the diffuser data
which you don't always have available.
A rough ballpark formula to get the CFM: CFM = (velocity in (FPM) Feet
per Minute times the square footage of the duct area, you have to
have & use the diffuser data & get velocity there -for operating
conditions.) Taking the manifold gage head pressure & gage
condensing temp, is important data. Coupled with a TH condenser
temp-reading, if the condenser gage pres/temp is too high
compared to the TH reading, there may be non-condensibles in
the system.

Also, there is a legitimate formula I use to determine the

operating BTUH it is delivering at all the data taken. All the
mfg'ers ought to list the condenser temp-split (it varies with
EER & SEER) just like they list the indoor split, it is valuable
trouble shooting info.

You can also use the condenser temp-split (it contains both Latent &
sensible heat) combined with the indoor data to plot the indoor CFM. I
was never good at math, but those equations have to balance, & they
do work!
The A/C user need not know all the tech info, all they need to know are
a very few basic ways to identify that the system is not functioning
correctly so they can call for a pro-tech to properly trouble shoot
the system.

Now the reality is that you don't need a manifold gauge, - anyone can
Ballpark check the charge in respect to the indoor airflow with only a
little low cost MA-Line digital thermometer using some tubing
insulation on the sensor probe.
You can't order it there.

However First, you check the discharge air temp off the outdoor
condenser, (that is the "Condensing Temperature (CT)," the higher the
SEER Rating the lower the outdoor normal temp/split above the
outdoor temperature will be.)
Then you either check the small liquid line tubing temp outdoors where
there is a tubing bend, or indoors where it bends to enter the plenum.

Indoors could be inaccurate as the tubing temp could vary higher or

lower depending on temp conditions the line is conducting.

Subtract the small liquid line temp from the CT & you have the
Subcooling temp which varies some from mfg'ers, but will be Ballparke
8 to 12-F Subcooled.
The condenser temp (CT) above the outdoor temp tells you how much
indoor sensible & latent heat, & the 3 motor heats it is ejecting. The
indoor humidity level has the biggest effect, the higher the humidity
the hight the split.

Now, indoors the higher the humidity the lower the temp/split between
Supply-Air & Return-Air.

At 50% indoor humidity the split should be Ballpark, around 18 - 20-F.

If blower wheel blades & all coils are relatively clean & the split is well
above 20-F, you have low airflow with a low heatload through the
evaporator coil.

If the indoor split is way below 18-F at 50% RH, you either have way
too much airflow or some problems in the functioning refrigerant

To solve any of these problems you need to call a

knowledgeable HVAC TECH! - Darrell U
An Affordable Test Instrument You Need!
All I had was the Sling Psychrometer & spinning it was a bit time
consuming, but I used it religiously, it is information you need.

The Testo 605-H2 Humidity Stick (wet bulb), displays relative

humidity, air temperature and wet bulb temperature.

It is very affordable & because of its potential to help deliver tons of

other data everyone should have one!

For more information on it:


The other test data you need is the system's CFM airflow through the
evaporator coil, then with software I have you can peg the BTUH the
operating unit is delivering under those conditions.
Add to that a low cost Magnehelic gauge to read static pressures to
compare with mfg'ers blower performance charts; plus a velocity
meter & you have a ballparked CFM to plug into for the BTUH.

We could easily provide a detailed psychrometric print out of

exactly what the operating system is delivering including
condensate lbs/hr, & actual sensible & latent cooling BTUH &
Ratio, every data detail imaginable.
It is important to understand that "equipment ratings are only the
'potential efficiency' of that component of the system under perfect
conditions." Over half of the system’s efficiency depends on
correct equipment sizing run-time, on the duct system sizing,
i.e., on the quality of the complete field-installation!

Especially if your system is oversized or there are a lot of low AC load

days use an adjustable differential room TH.
TH Differential: Differential is defined as the difference between the
cut-in and cut-out points as measured at the thermostat under
specified operating conditions. For example, if the thermostat turns the
COOLING EQUIPMENT on at 78-F & OFF at 76-F that is a 2 degree
differential setting; one has a 4-F adjustable differential. This is a good
way to control high humidity problems & also improve SEER

What you want & need is right sized equipment operating at

its optimal ratings within varying conditions, for your optimal
comfort and savings.


| Lennox TXV Subcooling Approach | | R410a Evacuation |

Differential RM T- stat Improves SEER |*** Sizing Units to
Adequate Airflow New ©
CHECK RETURN AIR for HOT AIR LEAKS | Gurgling sounds at
TEV | Trouble Shooting TXV Valves | Affordable Test
Instrument You Need

The duct system airflow must be checked & correct, before

performing any charging procedures!
My ordered procedure that must be followed to achieve an
optimally charged efficient operating air conditioner.
Do not leave out any of the steps and always do these
procedures in the order sequence illustrated.

First, check that there are NO air leaks in the Supply and Return Air
duct system.
Next, Check to see if Indoor Squirrel Cage Blower wheel blades are free
of lint or other build-up & Filter.
Before checking the refrigerant charge always check the actual
air flow with an anemometer & apply the math shown below!

Check for a dirty lint clogged Evaporator Coil fins then check the
Condenser Coil fins, check both coils on the air entering sides as well
as between the fins, -- clean if needed.

Take a look at the ductwork for proper sizing and for leaks, Check the
External Static Pressure (ESP), check the indoor Cubic Feet per
Minute (CFM) Airflow, then outdoor condenser discharge air
Temperature split (delta-T), then indoor Delta-T, then after 15 minutes
of run time before any charging adjustments are made. On smaller
tonnage equipment & in most climates that are not overly humid, I like
425 to 450-CFM per/ton of cooling on a wet coil.

In summer, Air conditioner & heat pump user's, this is a "Simple Easy
Safe Way" to Check an A/C's Thermostatic Expansion Valve
(TXV) metering system's refrigerant charge & any A/C's
Record the outdoor temperature, then "Take a thermometer &
check the air temperature coming off the outdoor condenser."

Locate the small uninsulated copper line where it makes a bend,

outdoors or indoors, so you can put a digital thermometer flat on it &
insulate the TH with something (piece of the tubing insulation) read the
temperature & subtract it from the outdoor condenser discharge air

E.g., condenser temp 110, line temp 100-F that is 10-F subcooling & 10
to 12-F is a normally charge system. If it's considerably less than 10-F
it could be low on refrigerant or need a Tech to check it; too far above
12-F it's overcharged, call a Tech, could also be a restriction in the

You should own a low cost digital pocket thermometer: Now the reality
is that you don't need a manifold gauge, - anyone can Ballpark
check the charge in respect to the indoor airflow with only a little low
cost MA-Line digital thermometer using some tubing insulation on the
sensor probe. An A/C supply Outlet might sell you one or inquire at
hardware stores! Saves money on needless A/C Service Calls!

Take the outdoor temperature & subtract it from the outdoor

condenser's discharge air temperature.
This temperature is standard for different SEER Rated units.

A 12-SEER unit, with 50% relative humidity indoors will have

ballpark, will have an 18 to 20-F temp split
A 14-SEER will be around a 14 to 16-F temp/split. if too far
above or below those temps, call for an A/C Tech.
Formula for finding CFM Airflow
If you can measure the air velocity coming from a duct, here is a rough
ballpark formula to get the CFM:
CFM = (velocity in (FPM) Feet per Minute times the square footage of
the duct area)
Example, 16" Rd duct 201-sq.ins. X's 0.00694 = 1.39494-sq.ft. X's
Velocity of 800-fpm = 1,116-CFM
Times 1000-FPM = 1395-CFM.
Branch ducts: 7" Rd duct 38.48-sq. ins. X's 0.00694 = 0.2670512-sq.ft.
X's 500-fpm=133.5-cfm
However, times a velocity of 600-FPM X's 0.00694 = 160-CFM, the
velocity is a big room CFM & BTUH number changer.
Quick Check for Sizing Units to enough Airflow
Actually, even on service calls where there are cooling problems the
ductwork should have a quick Manual D performed.

Take the ESP static pressure & compare to blower graph or chart, also
take the FPM duct velocity.
For Room Return Air balancing, i.e., -.01" IWC = approximately
-2.48 Pascals, which is a more precise easier incremental scale to
One inch water column (IWC) equals rounded to > 250 pascals,
0.5" IWC is about 125 pascals; 0.25" WC = 62.5 pascals; 0.125 =
31.25 pa.;
1 / 250 pascals =0.0040322 *X's -2.50 pascals =
-0.01003657696655" IWC or make it - 0.01" IWC for low Return Air
room pressure differentials; - use pascals.

Here are some examples of residential or light commercial in Inches

Water Column (IWC) Pressure Drops. Check the engineering data as
you design, and you may be surprised.
This is mainly only the example of the Device pressure losses.

Then do a quick estimate of airflow per equipment tonnage.

To find area of a round duct; Duct diam is 7"; 7"X7"= 49-sq.ins., X's .
7854 = 38.04845-sq.ins divided/ by 144= 0.2672541-sq.ft. area X's
FPM Velocity 600-FPM =
160.35246-CFM X30 = 4,810.5738 each 7" run X's 6 branch runs =
28,863-BTUH, or airflow for 2.4-ton.
(12,000-BTUH /400-cfm per-ton = 30-BTU per cfm ratio | / 450 =
26.666-BTUH per-cfm)

That would also be good for 2-ton; at 550-FPM velocity X's 0.2672541=
147-CFM X 30 = 4,410-BTUH each run X 6-runs = airflow for 26,460-

*Never sell units requiring more airflow than the duct system
will support! - Darrell udarrell



Bulb location: Some Mfg’s have there preferences, but a good rule of
thumb is 10 or 2 O’Clock, away from headers and heat exchangers, on
a smooth clean surface.

Also, make sure the cap tube is on top (horizontal or vertical and
never upside down).

Pressure drop: TXVs like to have at least 100-psi pressure drop

across them to operate correctly. A solid column of liquid (at
the valve) is also a requirement.

Flood back: Always make sure you have "the correct CFM airflow"
(clean coils,"
Clean fan blades & fans running on correct speeds and in the
right direction) before you try adjusting a valve.

No flow: A plugged screen is rare in air conditioning, but happens

often in refrigeration.
I have seen the external equalizer tube leak through in liquid
form and give the bulb a false reading (which causes hunting
more so than no flow).
TXV Partially plugged, downstream from service port, filter-
dryer or screen at Compressor Inlet,
therefore TXV is Wide Open flashing some vapor & cooling coil
is starved of liquid refrigerant:

In HVAC-TALK These Posts Illustrate and Discuss these Test


Lennox TXV Subcooling - Approach Method - pdf P- 8

Always check both SH & SC for trouble shooting comparison to normal
There is a concern that we need more accurate means to achieve an
accurate target sub-cooling temperature under varying conditions.

First, before any operating performance feedback data is recorded,

the following tests & corrections must be performed. We need to
make certain that the airflow is checked to be within the proper
parameters and that the ductwork is properly sized and sealed with
return air grilles in every room at the ceiling level. In addition, if
possible for the cooling mode, Supply Air Diffusers should also be
at the ceiling level.

Accurate tests should also be made, to determine whether proper

airflow CFM is being delivered, as well as into each room.

The manufacturers could be of great help in this respect, if they

would list the Delta-T of the condensing unit at different BTUH load
output levels, also at various outdoor ambient temperatures.

I believe that with adequate test data feedback the subcooling

could be targeted within plus or minus 1 or 2 degrees Fahrenheit,
which would be a two to four degree differential.

That would be more accurate & concise a temperature target than

present subcooling temperature targeting methodologies.

Additionally, I would consider using the Lennox Approach

Method to help select the Subcooling Method.

The Lennox Approach Method subtracts the Outdoor Ambient

Temperature from the Liquid Line Temperature (LLT), whereas, the
subcooling temperature targeting method subtracts the Liquid Line
Temperature near the evaporator from the Condenser Saturation
Temperature (CST). I do not see why the Lennox Approach Method
would not help pinpoint the subcooling target on other systems.
The Indoor Heatload has to be part of the equation; there are other
factors to incorporate as well.

Possible Diagnosis using Super-Heat and Sub-Cooling:

If Superheat is high and Sub-Cooling is low:
Charge must be adjusted. System is Undercharged.
If superheat is low and sub-cooling is high:
Charge must be adjusted. System is Overcharged.

If Superheat is very high and Sub-Cooling is a little high:

Could have blockage in coil, TXV strainer screen - settings, etc.,
orifice, filter dryers etc.

If Super-Heat is low and Sub-Cooling is low:

Piston orifice could be too big, or some, in backwards, there is no
orifice in the unit or the orifice is stuck and refrigerant is bypassing

To Determine Delta T (Td) (Temperature difference across the

1. While unit is running take the temperature of the air in the
supply plenum near the coil (approx. 12 inches.)
2. Then, while the unit is still running, take the temperature of the
air in the return plenum near the unit.
3. Then take the difference between the above readings.
4. Should be around 15-18 degrees. Use linked Chart above!
5. If to low then coil might not be seated in pan correctly - air
bypassing cooling coil. (Assuming superheat and Sub-Cooling are
6. A TXV's normal Superheat setting is 12-F, between 7-F to
9-F on heat pumps with an accumulator. There must be a
full liquid stream to the TXV!

With a TXV metering device if Superheat is too high say, 20-F

or above — look for, suction line restriction, plugged cap
tube/orifice./liquid line, hot gas discharge line restriction, filter
dyer, downstream of suction service port, or compressor screen
restriction or inefficient compressor.
What are the proper methods to determine operating superheat,

Superheat at the evaporator should be checked as close to the end

of the coil as possible (preferably near the expansion valve thermal
bulb). Convert this to saturation temperature and compare it to the
actual temperature obtained near the thermal bulb. Take the
suction pressure at the service valve and convert it to saturation
temperature. Compare this to the actual temperature obtained
approximately six inches out on the suction line.

Subcooling should be checked as close to the condenser as

possible & then as close to the TXV as possible noting the
With a TXV metering device if Superheat is too high say, 20-F
or above — look for, suction line restriction, plugged cap
tube/orifice./liquid line, hot gas discharge line restriction, filter
dyer, downstream of suction service port, or compressor screen
restriction or inefficient compressor.
What are the proper methods to determine operating superheat,

Superheat at the evaporator should be checked as close to the end

of the coil as possible (preferably near the expansion valve thermal
bulb). Convert this to saturation temperature and compare it to the
actual temperature obtained near the thermal bulb. Take the
suction pressure at the service valve and convert it to saturation
temperature. Compare this to the actual temperature obtained
approximately six inches out on the suction line.

Subcooling should be checked as close to the condenser as

possible & then as close to the TXV as possible noting the

Determining which metering device TXV or Fixed Orifice the

system has without physically looking

If you do not absolutely know whether the metering device is a

TXV, or a fixed orifice device or cap tube.

Hook up your manifold gauges, block off considerable condenser

air intake for a short time.
If suction pressure changes it's a fixed piston or cap tube
If only the high-side goes up, you have a TXV.

Have things with you in your van or truck to block-off the

condenser air for a short time.
Check every time you are not certain what metering device it has.
There may be a lot of guessing in the future.

Do this procedure on known metering devices to observe the

Report back to me how well it works for you.

In some situations, that could save you from cutting a hole in the
Squirrel cage wheels with forward curved blades on residential
unload when discharge air is blocked off too much & will overload
when there is no static pressure.

There is a preferable ESP range for each Air Handler blower design,
that ought to be listed on the blower; they vary at the point of
serious unloading.
If you amp-probe check enough of those blower motors, if the amp
draw is too low according to its rating, you can begin to tell that
the External Static Pressures (ESP) is too high.
Additionally, mfg'ers could list the amp draw at various design ESP
numbers, then we could amp-probe & know if it was too far above
the amp rating, a duct maybe off,
if amp reading is too low, it is time to check all static pressures &
delivered CFM to each room.

I lot of us used to set a nearly empty R-22 cylinder on top of a

condenser to warm it a little. Back then fan motors had more HP
& higher amp draws, therefore it didn't seem to cause any harm,
just more noise.

Back in the 1960's & 1970's there were a fair number of TXV
metering devices & some table top condensers' that had the fan
underneath blowing up through the coils.
Well, where there were cottonwood trees, nearby clothes dryer lint
vents, or a lot of leaves or other debris under the unit, the fan
motors would be blocked overload & burnout.

I don't understand the engineering genius of that moronic design.

However, on hot days & a heat-loaded E-Coil,

You could move your wrist over the condenser from outlet up to
inlet, & tell if the liquid was taking up too much area of the coils;
an overcharged system. - udarrell
Gurgling sounds at TEV: Low evaporator heat-loads lead to
reduced liquid line mass and increased evaporator mass could be
due to airflow problems. Eliminate low evaporator heat-loads
before looking into adjusting the refrigerant charge. Gurgling -
pulsation noises in Liquid Line at the expansion device can
be caused by low evaporator circuit heat-loads, low charge,
and/or non-condensibles and moisture in the system.
Unbalanced airflow through the various distributor circuits of the
evaporator coil will cause the TEV to close down refrigerant flow
starving the coil. Piston-flow-rators will make it impossible to
properly charge the system and cooling will be greatly
compromised unless you eliminate the cause! "Put your ear on the
liquid line at the evaporator coil."

On every Rheem condenser cover it lists "non-condensibles

and or moisture" as causes for a gurgling or pulsating noise
at the expansion device. The entire evaporator circuits,
may not become active for various reasons, - "the entire
coil must become fully active for efficient performance."

The purpose of these recommendations is to provide liquid

refrigerant at the expansion device and provide efficient operation.
Hopefully, this will aid your research. If I can be of additional
assistance, contact me.
Check Return Air (RA) at grille & at entry of blower for heat
gain, due to hot Return Air leaks.
Where airhandlers' set over Return Air Chambers check for
air leaks through the sheet rock & down the wall studs
from the attic - this is a fairly common condition that will
overload the AC system!

Any of the HVAC companies I list on any of my web pages have
nothing to do with the information I post on any of my Web pages
nor do I assume any responsibility for how anyone uses that
All HVAC/R work should always be done by a licensed Contractor!
This information is only placed on these pages for your
understanding & communication with contractors & techs.

This information is for the edification of contractors and techs. I am

NOT liable for your screw-ups, you are liable for what you do! -
Darrell Udelhoven (U-dl-hoven)

Darrell's Refrigeration Heating and Air Conditioning - Federal

frigerant Licensed - Retired HVAC Contractor

Suction Low-Side SUCTION High-Side Liquid-Line Cond.-Unit

Suction-PSIG - Super-Heat - Head-Pres. - SUB-Cooling - Amp-Draw -

• ac-trouble-shooting-chart.html NEW! I'm finally posting these two pages I created

• The Air Side of Air Conditioning - Static Pressure


3.5-ton matched AC system getting only 1.25-ton of capacity! Low charg
Link below, 3.5-ton to less than 1.5-ton, too! - Way Overcharged

Air Conditioning SEER & Capacity Levels - Are you losing 15 to 50% of Ra

Optimizing the Evaporator BTU/hr Heat Input Important - Do First !

• Determining Your Air Conditioner's Actual BTUH Capacity Output

Air Conditioning EER - BTUH Levels - Evaporator (DX) Heat Load + Evaporator

Proper Sizing of Residential Heating & Air Conditioning Equipment and Ductw
Air Conditioning Engineered for Latent Heat Removal For high humidity clima

• Air Conditioning Contractors Discussion Sizing SEER EER Latent Heat

• An Air Conditioning and Heating Efficiency Check Up - Contractor

• Air Conditioning System Sizing for Optimal Efficiency

• Air Conditioning Maximum Efficiency - Check-Up Get your A/C optimized for effic

• Air Conditioning - Latent Heat Removal Comfort-Zone Efficiency

• FINDING the LATENT HEAT of CONDENSATION of Your Air Conditioner

• Optimizing Room Air Conditioner's EER


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• Cut Your Home Energy Use & Utiliy Bills in Half New

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HVACR TALK FORUM - Residential Problems - NEW

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Cynergy Home HVAC Energy Raters Listen While Reading


Home Inspection - HVAC Easy checking of BTUH cooling performance...

*Video Checking Static - ESP| *Video 2 checking static - ESP View! Got DSL 11

Air Flow CFM of a very large Supply Air Register using a Testo 410 Vane Anem

*Video measuring airflow Velocity W/ anemometer on a Return Air grille

I'd use close to .50% for the free-area of a clean FILTER, & .90% factor for ope
He programmed it in, because when I did the math using .90% for the grille I
CFM, or 2-Ton of airflow.