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Ductless and VRF Diagnosis w/ John Chavez EP1 (Podcast)

What do you need to know to walk up and fix a VRF or ductless system? John Chavez, a longtime VRF/ductless pro, explains his approach in Part 1 of this podcast.

You CANNOT have a haphazard approach to installation or service. The best thing you can do is respect VRF and ductless technology for what they are. When you take the time to understand the equipment and the processes at work, you will be successful. The best thing you can bring to a job is patience.

Unlike on typical split systems, gauges should NOT be hooked up to a ductless or VRF system unless they are absolutely necessary. Gauges may introduce contaminants into the system, and they may cause more harm than good if techs use them when they are unnecessary. Superheat is rarely a useful diagnostic reading for mini-split and multizone systems. However, superheat and subcooling are readily available readings that may be useful for diagnosing VRF systems.

Diagnostic work requires detective work; ask questions about the system history to see how it has performed in the past. Involving owners in the repair process is a good way to build a relationship while understanding the problem better.

Like split systems, dirty coils and air filters can severely compromise a VRF/ductless system's performance. So, try to make sure filters and coils are all clean during diagnosis. The fins of evaporator coils can get especially dirty and should be cleaned. Some ductless systems can be cleaned in place.

Be sure to take down the model and serial numbers of the system. If you need tech support, you MUST have those numbers to be as specific as possible. Service and installation manuals are also useful tools for diagnosis (yes, we know that some techs are allergic to reading). However, don't over-rely on the error codes.

Resources

Computer Room Application Formula

Ductless Steps

Friedrich Service Form

Seven Common Install Answers

If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.

Watch the sequel to this podcast episode HERE.

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