HVAC-R Compressor Diagnoses and Maintenance

Compressor is the heart of air conditioning system and refrigeration system. It plays an essential role in the cooling process and ensures HVAC-R systems work efficiently. It is better to know about compressor’s  location, function, diagnoses and maintenance. For compressor’s function please check HVAC-R Compressors.

Compressors normally locate outdoor condenser unit of air conditioning systems, and the rear of refrigeration systems.

Compressor maintenance is crucial for the overall functioning of the HVAC-R systems. Compressor has many high moving parts and electrical parts, so it is easily susceptible to failures. Most compressor failures due to HVAC-R systems are not their designed standard working situations. If HVAC-R systems work at their designed work conditions compressors are actually very reliable. Compressors’ expected life spans are usually 10 to 15 years ( Most manufacturers provide 10 year warranties for their compressors).  As mentioned above, most compressor failures because they are not working at their perfect conditions. Once compressors fail it is impossible to fix, normally have to replace them, which is very expensive. So, finding the reasons what cause compressors failures is important to keep your HVAC-R systems run smoothly. If the compressor malfunctions for any reason compressor may stops working, generating noises, low cooling capacity, hard starts, overheating, etc. If compressor stops working, or generating noises it is already too late, so preventive maintenance are important for compressor function.

1. Dirty Condenser Coil. When condenser coils are blocked by dirt, grass clippings, etc inbox heat couldn’t be released into outbox environment. in HVAC-R, high temperature means high pressure. For residential air conditioners when mowing grasses around outdoor running condenser units grass clippings will block the air flow through condenser coil fins which are used for expelling heat. When heat couldn’t be released from HVAC-R systems the discharged super-heated gas refrigerant will have elevated temperature and pressure, which normally causes compressor overheating. Refrigeration system, such as, Sandwich Pizza Salad prep tables, reach in cooler freezer, more sensitive for compressor overheating. So keep condenser coils clean is important to prevent compressor overheating.