Finding problems in HVAC/R refrigeration cycle

By D Opperman, Comtest


Published in:

Electricity+Control, January 2014 (pages 28 - 31)



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The core of a refrigeration system is the compressor, which is designed to pump cool refrigerant gas from the evaporator into the condenser. To accomplish this task the compressor raises the temperature and pressure of the low superheated gas, forcing it into the condenser. The compressor should never pump liquid. This will damage the compressor and can create a potential safety hazard.

If the refrigeration compressor is not properly maintained, it will malfunction or stop running - at which time it usually gets replaced and the system is back and running - temporarily. Often, however, the culprit is not the compressor, but a system failure or design problem with accessory equipment, which kills the compressor prematurely.

Properly troubleshooting and servicing refrigeration air conditioning and heat pump systems are challenges for any technician, entry level or experienced. Regardless of the size or location of the system, it is imperative that the service technician understands the principles and the tools needed for troubleshooting a compressor efficiently.


Take note:

  • HVAC systems are essential, but must be maintained and checked.
  • Refrigeration systems are core to the cooling cycle and need special care.
  • Troubleshooting a compressor efficiently is critical.