Are Refrigerant Additives OK? (Podcast)
John Pastorello, the HVAC chemist, comes on the podcast and discusses refrigerant additives such as acid inhibitors, oil enhancers, dyes, and leak sealants with his knowledge and some things to consider.
Acid neutralizers are refrigerant additives. Oil works best in a slightly acidic environment, and these additives can change the pH of the system. If the pH becomes neutral or alkaline (basic), then the system will not operate as it should. Acid scavengers won't change your pH, but they are usually alcohol-based, which may attack aluminum in your system and make your windings brittle. Instead of relying on acid-reducing refrigerant additives, the best solution is to use and responsibly replace suction driers.
Corrosion inhibitors are also refrigerant additives. OEMs sometimes use these on their own equipment or recommend the usage of corrosion inhibitors. However, these can come with their own set of impurities. These impurities can be even more detrimental if the products come from a foreign market.
Solvent-type products assist oil return by reducing the oil viscosity. However, these solvents can cause the oil to foam and can quiet your compressor down. These foaming agents have no positive effects on your system; the compressor may run more quietly, but solvents have no effect on the amperage.
Leak sealants are other additives. These started in the automotive industry, and manufacturers would void warranties on cars that had leak sealants in their systems. Leak sealants introduce solid particles into your system to patch up a leak. However, we can't actually repair leaks by patching them with fine solids.
John and Bryan also discuss:
- Marketing tactics
- Additive testing
- Solutions for excessively acidic systems
- Oil sample analysis and testing for burnouts
- Suction drier usage and pressure drops
- Diluting corrosion inhibitors
- Non-polymer leak sealants
Learn more about Refrigeration Technologies HERE.