Contractor Tackles Burn-outs

May 11, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
Paul Getejanc brings close to 40 years of in the field experience to his refrigeration work. Keeping up with the technology changes is part of his commitment to the industry.

After 37 years and dozens of burned-out compressor replacements in the refrigeration service business, Paul Getejanc thought he had seen everything until he peered into the line sets of a recently burned-out 35-ton split-system air conditioning rooftop unit.

“It was the worst burn-out I’ve ever seen. The 2-1/8-inch suction line looked more like a sooty smoke pipe,” recalled Getejanc, the owner and operator of North Macomb Mechanical of Washington, Mich., who is also a deputy director of Detroit Chapter-Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) and the seven-year education chairman of the RSES’ Michigan State Association.

The seemingly hopeless situation raised the question as to whether a severely burned-out unit with an expensive replacement value is salvageable.

Most service techs would pronounce the unit dead and even Getejanc was skeptical as to if he could clean the thick sludge throughout the system composed of acid, moisture, and debris from fried compressor motor windings.


The burnout was no fault of the seven-year-old unit. During the Warren, Mich., industrial building’s total remodeling, a refrigeration service company had evacuated the fully functional unit … but only partially. Looking for a cooler work atmosphere inside the building, remodelers later overrode the unit’s automatic cut-off switch with contactor jumper cables and attempted to run the unit even though it was approximately 40 pounds low on refrigerant. After the remodeling, Getejanc was called for the unit’s start-up. He found the jumper cables still in place, fried contactors, and one very large mess inside the unit and line sets.

In the field, Paul Getejanc deals with many challenges including compressor burnouts (pictured above and below).


In the old days, Getejanc would use R-11, but the outlawing of it as a refrigerant as well as a line set cleaner sent him searching for a replacement.

Getejanc and his two assistants started the refurbishing attempt by flushing the 40-foot-long line sets - which were impractical to replace - with a biodegradable, environmentally safe flush (Qwik-System Flush from Mainstream Engineering).

After recovering the remaining 27 pounds of the 65 pounds of R-22 originally in the unit, Getejanc disconnected the line sets, crimped the ends to create pressure during flushing, and performed a pre-flush procedure of blowing out loose debris with 150-psi of nitrogen. Getejanc then injected the flushing agent with a conically shaped “one-size-fits-all” adaptor he pushed into the line sets.

Getejanc used five 2-pound aerosolized cans of the flush on the open-ended line sets, condenser, and evaporator coils followed again by nitrogen purges. During the flush and purge processes, Getejanc also installed various in-line filter/driers to catch debris.

The condenser received a nitrogen and flush treatment. However it was only mildly contaminated, he said. The evaporator coil however was challenging because it had a header that could possibly harbor contaminants. Getejanc drilled a 3/8-hole in the header and brazed in a small valve/cap set-up to help oscillate out any contaminants. Later on, the hole was brazed.

The flush process took about four hours. The entire retrofit took three days. About a year after the project, Getejanc was checking pressures and routinely changing the air filters. He said the unit has never had to have a subsequent repair since the clean up and it was running up to specifications.

For more information, visit

Publication date: 05/11/2009

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

2014 Energy Efficiency Forum

Highlights from the 25th annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington, D.C.


NEWSMakers: Jeremy Begley

Jeremy Begley, home-performance specialist and Web and social media manager with National Heating and Air Conditioning Co. in Cincinnati discusses how and why you should add home-performance philosophies to your contracting repertoire. Posted on Sept. 12.

More Podcasts


NEWS 09-15-14 cover

2014 September 15

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Venting R-22

The NEWS reported that a man received prison time for venting R-22. Should EPA step up enforcement?
View Results Poll Archive


2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research


Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Magazine image
Register today for complete access to Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.


facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con