The most common place for refrigerant retrofits in commercial HVAC in Florida is the restaurant industry. This procedure is becoming more common as systems tend to last longer but do not measure up to new standards. However, if this is not done correctly, it will cost money not only for repairs but also for kitchen shut-down time. Here are essential tips to assure refrigerant retrofits are performed well:
- Assess whether retrofitting is necessary: Older parts can still run fine without producing too much greenhouse gas. If the freezer or other system continues to run at peak efficiency and you are not facing spikes in power usage, it is unlikely that a retrofit is necessary. People will frequently invest in this process thinking it is necessary, but there are still circumstances where old technology can meet current standards.
- Drain all mineral oil: Lines need to be cleaned out before any installation begins. Use nitrogen to blow it all out, and also check compressors for old oil deposits. If your system has hermetic compressors, you will likely need to remove them first and clean them separately. Other systems will require a hand pump to remove all the deposits. Once you remove oil, top it off with the same amount of new oil. Old oil will compromise functioning and keep you from assessing whether the new retrofits are effective, making this cleaning process very important.
- Read manufacturer recommendations: Even technicians with decades of experience need to consult the manual because commercial HVAC in Florida is never one-size-fits-all. Different systems recommend additional retrofitting tips that save you time and frustration. There may also be best practices with a particular model that you were not aware of previously, but which can prove inconvenient if you miss them. It is best to know these facts before starting a retrofit.
- Know what to replace: Sometimes, it is not enough to handle just the refrigerant. You may have to change out other parts, including the capillary tubes. It is not uncommon to find lines hopelessly dirty to the point that no upgrade will increase efficiency. If the system has not been serviced for a long while, it is best to brace yourself for this extra work and expense.
- Match the sizes right: As technology evolves, there may no longer be parts with a perfect fit. Using the wrong capillary tube size leads to superheating, high sub-cooling, and poor cooling capacity. Sometimes, the evaporators can fail, too, with a bad mismatch. Changing capillary tubes can help assure better fit, and when in doubt, check with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Test carefully: Once retrofitting concludes, run the unit at 5° F sub-cooling while watching suction pressure. You will need to check manufacturer guidelines to see if any changes are within normal ranges. Sometimes, you will need to add or remove refrigerant because the balances changed with the retrofit.
Modernize your commercial HVAC in Florida by calling 5 Star Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Inc., located in Brooksville. With a few quick adjustments, you can enjoy greater efficiency and cost savings.