Electronic Leak Detection
Electronic leak detection is a critical part of any HVAC technician's common practice. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most common sources of misdiagnosis. Here are my tips to make your leak detection more successful: Use Your Senses First and Your Detector Second  Before starting to use your detector, STOP! Look for signs of […]
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Does Refrigerant Get Old or Wear Out?
Over the years, I have heard technicians say that refrigerant can wear out or “lose its blend” by sitting in a tank. Refrigerant does not wear out or “lose its blend”… at least not like that. What can and does happen is called “fractionation.” Refrigerant blends are composed of a mix of refrigerants with different […]
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What does “Saturated State” mean for Techs?
As we often do in these tech tips, we will start with the common and more practical explanation of saturation and then move to the more technical and nerdy explanation later. When we say “at saturation” or “saturated” in the HVAC/R trade, we are generally referring to the refrigerant that is in the process of […]
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Refrigerant Charging Basics For Air Conditioning & Heat Pump Systems
Before I start on this one… At HVAC School, we focus on a wide range of topics. Many of them are very basic. My experience as a trainer for over 16 years has taught me that no matter what I assume others SHOULD know, it doesn't change the fact that they often do not. This […]
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Refrigerants, Flammable & Toxic
There has never been a more complicated and confusing time surrounding refrigerants than what we are in right now. We are seeing flammable HC (hydrocarbon) refrigerants with increasing regularity, and EPA rules that just changed appear to be changing again. With all this tumultuous change, it's important to know what to look for in refrigerants […]
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Liquid Line Solenoid Valves: Long Line Applications
Pump down solenoid valves are commonplace for any refrigeration technician. They are energized with the compressor still running, shutting off flow in the liquid line so that the refrigerant is pumped into the condenser and receiver. The compressor will then shut off once a low-pressure switch opens the circuit when the pressure falls below a […]
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Crankcase Heaters
Belly band crankcase heater When I first started in the trade as an apprentice, we worked on many Trane heat pumps that used crankcase heaters. These crankcase heaters slid into the compressor sump on the big orange Tyler reciprocating compressors, like the one below. It was very common for these heaters to break off where […]
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The “5 Pillars” of Residential A/C Refrigerant Circuit Diagnosis
Suction pressure, head pressure, subcooling, superheat, delta T. Taking all five of these calculations into account on every service call is critical. Even if you must do further diagnostic tests to pinpoint the problem, these five factors are the groundwork before more effective diagnostics can be done. I would also add static pressure as an […]
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Weighing Refrigerant In and Out
If you don't use a scale every time you add or remove refrigerant, I suggest you begin doing so immediately, if not sooner. Weighing in while charging is fairly obvious, and it's useful so you can keep track of what you are using and how much to charge a customer. When you have a system […]
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