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Thread: Compressor refrigerant question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Compressor refrigerant question

    Our copeland compressor just seized up (again) on our Edwards glycol chiller. We just had to replace it 4.5 years ago and converted the refrigerant to 407A. At the time, we kept the old refrigerant (R-22) for use in our other chillers. The cost to replace was around $5k, so it is kind of painful.

    On our recent quote to replace the compressor, we were quoted $477.90 to replace the 407A refrigerant. We are being charged $70 to recover the used refrigerant. When I asked why we can't re-use that refrigerant, they indicated that it would be too acidic and would probably eat up the new compressor in a year. To that I replied, if it is acidic and would eat up the new compressor up, why isn't there a procedure to change it every couple of years to prevent damage on the existing compressor?

    His response was that they don't do that, and that no one would go along with it if they recommended it be changed.

    This just doesn't make any sense to me. If the refrigerant is good, it should be re-used. If it is bad, it should be changed periodically. I assume that they are recovering it and selling it back to be reconditioned?


    Any experts willing to chime in? Refrigeration is not my strong suit...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Livermore, CA
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    573
    Never heard of not reusing the gas that was reclaimed. The oil can go bad, and that should be changed if the compressor is replaced. But the refrigerant, never heard of that at all. Im no expert, but this sounds like BS to me.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2003
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    Nashville
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    834
    It was kind of coincidental that when I saw your post, I was going to recommend talking to the guys at ProRefrigeration, as they will usually give you great advice even when it's not their equipment - and then an ad for them popped up next to your post.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Cortland, NY
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    I believe ProRefrigeration sponsors this thread... hence their ad popping up.

    I guess I can understand requiring new refrigerant if this repair company is warrantying the compressor and there could be the possibility of degradation of the old stuff, but his response was suspect. I'm looking forward to what the folks at pro refrigeration say...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Moab, Utah
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    471
    Quote Originally Posted by fa50driver View Post
    Our copeland compressor just seized up (again) on our Edwards glycol chiller. We just had to replace it 4.5 years ago and converted the refrigerant to 407A. At the time, we kept the old refrigerant (R-22) for use in our other chillers. The cost to replace was around $5k, so it is kind of painful.

    On our recent quote to replace the compressor, we were quoted $477.90 to replace the 407A refrigerant. We are being charged $70 to recover the used refrigerant. When I asked why we can't re-use that refrigerant, they indicated that it would be too acidic and would probably eat up the new compressor in a year. To that I replied, if it is acidic and would eat up the new compressor up, why isn't there a procedure to change it every couple of years to prevent damage on the existing compressor?

    His response was that they don't do that, and that no one would go along with it if they recommended it be changed.

    This just doesn't make any sense to me. If the refrigerant is good, it should be re-used. If it is bad, it should be changed periodically. I assume that they are recovering it and selling it back to be reconditioned?


    Any experts willing to chime in? Refrigeration is not my strong suit...
    The only time " Acid " becomes a factor is after " hermetic " burn out. If you are into redundant hermetic burnout symptoms, your Refrigeration guys are not getting to the root of the matter on what is definitely a problem system. There are very specific cleanup procedures that have to be followed after such incidents to remove and neutralize any contamination in the system, or it can and will destroy the new compressor double quick. The Refrigerant should only require replacement if you are dealing with burnout conditions or if it is grossly fractionated. Otherwise, its can be recovered and returned to the system. I would not be using R407 A as an R-22 replacement. R-434A, aka RS-45 is Superior and a much better choice for R-22 systems as being less expensive and performing better across a wider range of systems. It sounds like you have some deep seated operating problems that are taking out your compressors. There are a lot of potential factors in getting fluid chillers to run well and last. A large amount of it involves having a system that is designed for the duty it is running, having the controls set up and dialed in impeccably, and not overloading the system or running it beyond design limits. There are thousands of systems that halfway work, but they do not work well or last.
    All of the new refrigerant gases that are blends based on flourine are a degradation of former standards and are all based on fradulent science and industrial-geoploitical charades. The new generation gases have complicated service to no end, especially with respect to the idiotic hygroscopic snythetic oils required. The polyester oils in particular are undesirable and exhibit unusual characteristics and strangeness never before seen in the past.
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    53

    Call me for further adivce.

    Hi
    fa50driver,
    Warren pretty much covered this. If needed more info: call me.

    952-929-1838

    Cheerz Sandy
    JCY, INC. (Your Chiller Pro'z)
    J.C. Younger Company
    5626 WEST LAKE STREET
    MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55416
    (952) 929-1838

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Auburn, WA / Winston Salem, NC
    Posts
    271
    Quote Originally Posted by fa50driver View Post
    Our copeland compressor just seized up (again) on our Edwards glycol chiller. We just had to replace it 4.5 years ago and converted the refrigerant to 407A. At the time, we kept the old refrigerant (R-22) for use in our other chillers. The cost to replace was around $5k, so it is kind of painful.

    On our recent quote to replace the compressor, we were quoted $477.90 to replace the 407A refrigerant. We are being charged $70 to recover the used refrigerant. When I asked why we can't re-use that refrigerant, they indicated that it would be too acidic and would probably eat up the new compressor in a year. To that I replied, if it is acidic and would eat up the new compressor up, why isn't there a procedure to change it every couple of years to prevent damage on the existing compressor?

    His response was that they don't do that, and that no one would go along with it if they recommended it be changed.

    This just doesn't make any sense to me. If the refrigerant is good, it should be re-used. If it is bad, it should be changed periodically. I assume that they are recovering it and selling it back to be reconditioned?


    Any experts willing to chime in? Refrigeration is not my strong suit...
    It often depends on the type of compressor failure, if they ran an acid test which confirmed the presence of acid in your system- sometimes it is most cost effective to simply replace the refrigerant. My guess, this is the case here. Acid forms due to moisture getting into the system, either via leak or from the system being open and not properly evacuated prior to charging with refrigerant. Once acid forms it will attack the compressor motor windings, eventually causing them to electrically short to ground. If you have a functioning system that tests positive for acid, you can install liquid line driers and suction filters to try and clean up an acidic system, but again- sometimes the most cost effective solution is to simply recover the contaminated refrigerant (and refrigerant oil) and replace with new. To be clear, acid will not be created unless the system is contaminated with moisture, acid will not develop within a sealed system that is clean from the from the factory (this is why you don't have to replace your refrigerant on a regular schedule).

    Regarding the conversion from R-22, there's new options and alternatives developed almost daily it seems. Like Warren states, seems like all of the new replacements have as many cons as pros- rarely will they ever provide the level of capacity as the refrigerant being replaced.

    I hope this helps somewhat at least explain why they might opt to replace the refrigerant rather than clean it up.

    Good luck,

    Jim
    Pro Chiller Systems

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