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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    66

    Question Salvaging Contaminated Refrigeration System?

    Hello,

    This question applies to a small refrigeration system in a whole house dehumidifier. The system developed a refrigerant leak that went undetected for some time. The system was poorly designed such that it does not have a low pressure cut-off switch to shut of the compressor in the case of a refrigerant leak. Also according to the refrigeration schematic there is no filter/drier in the system either... Another poor design?

    The compressor continued to run 24/7 for 3-4 weeks. During this time I am assuming that all of the refrigerant was pumped out and the system was open to the atmosphere to ingest moisture and any other contaminants in the local atmosphere.

    Is this system salvageable and if so what should I look for to be done to the system? I am sure that the compressor has been stressed severely by this operation but just changing it won't remove any contamination or corrosion from the rest of the system. Is this system ready for the recycle bin?

    My main concern is that because of this incident any attempted repair would be short lived at best and the unit will never achieve the longevity that it otherwise would have had it not developed this refrigerant leak.

    Thanks,

    Steve

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,961
    I would look closely at cost to repair vs cost to replace.

    Moisture is NOT good in a refrigeration system, but various things can be done to mitigate its effects.

    Thing is, good work tends to be expensive and work like this tends to be both parts and labor intensive.

    May not be worth repairing a small system.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    Posts
    7,783
    I agree with Jp, especially if its a small portable dehu, it will be cheaper to replace than repair. Even if its a ducted whole house dehu, its probably not worth repairing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,755
    I'm sure thier is a filter in it. Anyways yea agree with above.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold.calm
    Posts
    6,369
    Its not a poor design, its the fact the public doesn't want to pay for it!

    Buy a new one.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    66
    Thanks for everyone's responses. This was a highly rated "professional quality" unit that should have been better designed. It cost over a buck new and was not one of the typical "homeowner" throw-aways.

    What really burns me up is that it never worked a hard day in it's too short lifespan. It wasn't needed in winter or summer just a month or so intermittently during the corner seasons when the HVAC wasn't running. I bet this unit had way less than 500 hours total on it.

    Steve
    Last edited by beenthere; 05-10-2013 at 06:52 AM. Reason: price

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,961
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve 347 View Post
    Thanks for everyone's responses. This was a highly rated "professional quality" unit that should have been better designed. It cost over a Kilo-buck new and was not one of the typical "homeowner" throw-aways.

    What really burns me up is that it never worked a hard day in it's too short lifespan. It wasn't needed in winter or summer just a month or so intermittently during the corner seasons when the HVAC wasn't running. I bet this unit had way less than 500 hours total on it.

    Steve

    Give you an idea.

    Last summer (maybe the summer before?) my freezer failed on a hot weekend.

    Now, I fix freezers on a daily basis. I've got all the tools, all the skills and, well, my time doesn't cost me anything.

    I diagnosed it as low on charge meaning it had to have a leak. I added enough gas to get it running again so I didn't lose a HUGE pile of food and went to Lowes the next day and bought one...


    COULD I have fixed it? yep. No question in my mind.

    The problems and long-term loss of reliability along with the difficulty in servicing small unitary equipment like that are primary reasons that I didn't work on it beyond getting it working.

    Same kind of applies to your unit, IMO.


    Get a quote for repairs, then make your decision.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,905
    fix the leak put in a drier recharge it see what happens
    We really need change now

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,765
    with what you paid for a SantaFe super duper deluxe dehumidifier i would be going back to the manufacturer looking for some help.

    if no help from them i would try having it repaired before just scrapping it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    66
    Quote Originally Posted by t527ed View Post
    with what you paid for a SantaFe super duper deluxe dehumidifier i would be going back to the manufacturer looking for some help.
    It sounds like you have some first hand experience. Would you care to share it with the forum so that others can benefit? Or if you prefer you can PM me.

    Steve

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
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    9,765
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve 347 View Post
    It sounds like you have some first hand experience. Would you care to share it with the forum so that others can benefit? Or if you prefer you can PM me.

    Steve
    never owned one. worked on a few that were brought into the shop for service, wasn't impressed.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    66
    Quote Originally Posted by t527ed View Post
    never owned one. worked on a few that were brought into the shop for service, wasn't impressed.
    Just out of curiosity which particular models were they and what kind of problems did you see? Any recommendations for better products?


    Thanks,

    Steve

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