Identifying Compressor Problems

Centrifugal Compressor for Refrigeration Because the most vital part of a refrigeration and HVAC system is to function optimally, compressors are used to raise the temperature and pressure of the low superheated gas to move fluid into the condenser. Consequently, refrigeration compressors must be properly maintained through regular maintenance, testing and inspection. There are a couple conditions which would indicate compressor problem or failures. However, with the right supervision it is possible to avoid further damage. Through this post we will identify and discuss some of these conditions:

    1. Discharge Line Temperature: This indicator should be able to tell you about the current operating condition inside your refrigeration system. The discharge of a compressor is a reflection of the highest temperature part of an air conditioning loop. Although there is no ceiling limitation of a discharge temperature, generally in practice it should not exceed 225o High temperatures, often caused by high conditioning temperatures above 275oF, will slowly destroy lubricant qualities which will affect the performance of the compressor.
    2. Performance of Compressor Valve: When the discharge valves of the compressor seem to be leaking (mostly characterized by low reading compared to the standard value of 15mmHg), the valves likely needs to be replaced due to weakening.
    3. Suction and Discharge Pressures: When cooling doesn’t happen correctly in your refrigeration system, the likely cause of the problem is a failure in maintaining the correct pressure inside the compressor. High suction pressure could be caused by the valve not being seated properly, thus the refrigerant will sneak back into the suction line. This leak will cause the suction pressure to increase and indicating a problem in compressor. Discharge gases could also be short cycled in the compressor’s cylinder which causes a reduced heat load on the condenser and a low head pressure.
    4. Electrical Problem: Aside from mechanical issues, a compressor problem could also arise from the electrical system or motor troubles. This problem is often caused when an overheating or burnout situation is detected.

The indications that have been mentioned here are only a few of the most common indications found while dealing with problems within your HVAC or refrigeration system. In practice, variations of challenges comes from all corners so it’s important both to keep up with maintenance have an ace up your sleeve during the early phases of design.References:

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