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  1. #1

    Exclamation

    What is the number one cause for compressor failure.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    3,400
    Human error.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,338
    Compressors don't die; they're murdered.

    Number One cause of compressor failure: improper installation procedures. This encompasses a long list of things: improper evacuation, not sweeping the lineset with nitro during brazing, no liquid line drier, ductwork improperly sized, system improperly sized, OVERCHARGE, improper piping procedures, etc.

    Runner up is improper maintenance, even on a properly installed and sized system. Dirty coils, poor service procedures, etc. will put a compressor on death row as quick as anything.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    1,874
    Electricity being applied,

    They don't fail till they are energized.
    If you try to fail, and succeed.
    Which have you done ?



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Dothan, Al
    Posts
    3,453
    For me, the number one cause of existing compressor failure is low freon levels.
    2nd cause would be liquid getting to compressor.

    Wonder why anyone would think to answer about a new install ?? Only had two compressors in thirteen years fail that we installed. And one of those was in a low-rent apartment complex.The other was a 12 Seer system.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,338
    Wonder why anyone would think to answer about a new install ?? Only had two compressors in thirteen years fail that we installed. And one of those was in a low-rent apartment complex.The other was a 12 Seer system.
    I must commend you on your low failure rate in systems you've installed. Sounds to me like you're doing things right if that's the case.

    Why did I respond as I did regarding installs? I didn't just have new installs in mind, but repair/replacement efforts as well. If a system isn't sized and installed right, the compressor will pay for it, sooner or later. Bad repair efforts also can jeopardize a compressor's life. Once I bothered to investigate why compressors fail, I have yet to find one that's the fault of the manufacturer.

    I also think overcharged systems are a larger culprit in compressor failures than undercharged, as an undercharged system is more likely to see the compressor kick out on IP, even under lighter loads, which would draw attention to itself faster (an undercharge usually means there's a leak, which also calls attention to the system). An overcharged system might kick out only under extreme conditions but otherwise run a greater percentage of time under potentially floodback conditions, which is anathema to valves and lubrication of a compressor.

    Electrical failures account for another percentage of comp failures, ranging from single phasing of three phase compressors, to inadequate voltage supplied to a unit, to dirty contactor points, etc. The latter two I mentioned might be a result of installation or maintenance effots. Undersized wiring and no regular inspection of electrical components would contribute to a failure.

    [Edited by shophound on 03-16-2005 at 04:39 PM]
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Dothan, Al
    Posts
    3,453

    Shop

    Did not mean anything offensive !
    Have just heard a lot of threads that indicate compressor falures on fairly new systems.
    And I did not think of it the way you did, as i don't see many failures that I can blame on the system. Although there are a few.
    MOst times, around here, if the freon is low, the HO does not realize anything except he is not cooling, and then some time later decides to call for repair. By the time he has called and I arrive, the unit has been on a long time ( maybe even over the weekend ), the compressor has overheated & shut off, cooled down & run again, several times before I get there. I do try to remember to tell them to shut it off, but sometimes I forget.
    And around here, filters & coils get real dirty, but the HO doesn't know it until his cooling has stopped. By that time, liquid has gotten to the comprssor more than one time, before he calls it in.

  8. #8
    flooding - caused by small return air, overcharge etc..,

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,513
    compressors normaly dont burn out
    human error is the bigest cause for failed copressor

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
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    Did not mean anything offensive !
    None taken. Just wanted to clarify.

    We're cool.

    You have a good point about homeowners being slow to call in a unit that's undercharged and has a compressor that's cycling on IP. I work on commercial stuff that I'm directly responsible for so I tend to forget the homeowner factor when I post!

    Your last paragraph falls within my "runner up" catagory of poor maintenance. So, I guess we could say that perhaps a leading cause of compressor failures in the residential sector is, well, homeowners!

    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Dothan, Al
    Posts
    3,453

    Shop

    Residentially speaking: You are absolutley right at least in this area. Most compressor failures that I see are HO induced.Of course a lot of these are rentals or apartments.
    Done by tenant ( or not done as the case may be )

    Look forward to bantering with you again !

    Richard

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Northern Indiana
    Posts
    1,406
    #1 Cause of Comp. Failure.
    Here's my story: 1. Luxury Apartment Complex
    2. 128 Apartments
    3. 4 Bozo installers
    4. 1 mildly warm Indiana summer
    5. 24 (yes, 24) comp. replacements
    6. 1 extremely mad boss


    One co-worker actually said "Hmmm, must have been a bad batch of compressors at the factory." We have a new company policy about installing air conditioners now. So sad it took something like this to make it come about.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,944
    Originally posted by shophound
    Compressors don't die; they're murdered.
    I like that

    Compressor failures within the first year are usually caused by improper installation, application or just plain old bad work habits.

    Compressors that go for more then a year are usually killed by overcharging. Most overcharging is due to improper diagnosis of symptoms. Most units that are grossly overcharged are done by techs who only read suction line data. Low suction caused by low indoor air flow due to dirty filters and/or coils are misconstrued as low refrigerant. Adding refrigerant brings the superheat of a system with low indoor airflow back to normal and allows the system to operate but with a reduced capacity and with possible slugging of liquid back to the compressor.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


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