In HVAC terminology, superheat refers to the excess heat held in a refrigerant above its vaporization point. Managing this excess heat appropriately is essential for ensuring efficient operation and safety.
While it might seem counterintuitive, air conditioners generate heat by compressing refrigerant. Once heated, refrigerant is moved outside the structure, where it is cooled to ambient temperature using a fan. After the heat has been removed, the refrigerant is decompressed, which causes it to cool down. Superheat is the result of high compression, and higher refrigerant temperatures allow the air conditioner to operate more efficiently. Repair experts generally rely on superheat charts when inspecting systems to look for signs of improper operation.