Air Conditioners: Common Causes Of Liquid Slugging


Liquid slugging is a condition that results when an air conditioner's refrigerant enters the compressor while it is still in a liquid state. It usually damages parts of the compressor, like the compressor motor, because these parts are designed to handle gases.

Repairing or replacing an air conditioning system's compressor is usually expensive. The only way to avoid these costs is by preventing liquid slugging. This is something that requires a good understanding of what causes this condition. Here is what you should know about the common causes of liquid slugging.

Refrigerant overcharge

When there is too much refrigerant in an air conditioning system, the system's overall pressure will rise. What this means is that areas that are supposed to have very low pressure will have relatively higher pressure, and those that are supposed to have high pressure will have abnormal high-pressure readings.

An air conditioner's evaporator coil is a low-pressure region. This is usually the case so as to facilitate the conversion of the liquid refrigerant into a gas -- a process that is usually accompanied by the temperature drop that necessary to cool the air blowing over the coils.

In cases where the air conditioning system is overcharged, the pressure in the evaporator coil region won't be as low as it is supposed to be. This will therefore reduce the ability of the refrigerant to absorb heat, something that will eventually reduce the rate at which the refrigerant changes states – from a liquid to a gas. As a result, some of the liquid refrigerant will find a way into the compressor and hence cause a slugging problem.

Since air conditioner refrigerant is usually recycled by the system, there is usually no need to top it up. The only time you may have to charge your system is when there is a leak, and in such cases, emptying the remaining refrigerant first before recharging the system is advisable as it helps to reduce the risks of overcharging.

Airflow problem

When an air conditioner's filters are blocked, the air conditioning system is bound to have an airflow problem. This is something that is likely to reduce the volume of air flowing over the evaporator coil.

This is a problem mainly because reduced airflow over the evaporator coil will mean that less heat will be available for the refrigerant to absorb. And since the refrigerant's change-of-state process requires heat, inadequate heat will result in a reduction in the effectiveness of conversion of the liquid refrigerant into a gas. Some of the not-yet-converted-into-a-gas refrigerant will therefore find its way into the compressor area, hence destroying it.

To avoid airflow-caused slugging, make sure that you clean your filters. Regularly replacing them, at least once every three months, will also eliminate the risks of any slugging-associated expenses. Contact air conditioning contractors for more information.


1 March 2016

Understanding Advances in HVAC Systems

When our air conditioner broke last year, I was fairly confident that we would be left trying to choose a similar system for a bunch of money. However, our friend who works as a general contractor explained that there were all kinds of neat advances in HVAC systems that might help us out. He explained that we might be able to enjoy a quieter system or one that filters our indoor air more effectively. We liked the sound of that, so we started shopping for a new system. After finding an air conditioner that was perfect for our place, we started this blog to educate other homeowners about new technology.