Articles by Joe Marchese

Ice Breaker: The Difficult Service Call

December 6, 2010
We all, at one time or another, come upon a system that is quite difficult to repair or to troubleshoot. This can be a very stressful experience. Different technicians have different ways of handling this stress. Some throw tools. Some talk to themselves. A better way of handling this stress is to first take a break.
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Ice Breaker: System Charging for Flooded Condensers

November 1, 2010
Refrigeration systems utilizing an outdoor air-cooled condenser located in an area where the outdoor temperature can drop below approximately 70°F must be designed to prevent the system’s discharge pressure from dropping too low. There are several different methods that can be used to accomplish this task.
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Ice Breaker: Testing Capacitors

October 4, 2010
Many single-phase motors used on refrigeration systems will incorporate some type of capacitor. They will either use a start capacitor or a run capacitor. Some motors will even use both. Troubleshooting the operation of these motors requires a technician to know how to test both run and start capacitors.
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Ice Breaker: Diagnosing a Restricted Capillary Tube

September 6, 2010
Although a capillary tube can become totally restricted, a far more common problem is when it becomes partially restricted, allowing some refrigerant to flow into the evaporator but not enough to satisfy the requirements of the system. This seemingly easy problem to diagnose is actually rather tricky at times.
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Ice Breaker: Diagnosing a Defective TXV

August 2, 2010
Thermostatic expansion valves (TXV) are responsible for metering the proper amount of refrigerant into an evaporator coil. When they fail, they either cause the evaporator to be flooded (overfed) or starved (underfed) for refrigerant. Read more and find out how to diagnose a defective TXV.
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Ice Breaker: Reducing Flash Gas

July 5, 2010
Less flash gas equals a higher net refrigerating effect and a more efficient system. Many designers reduce the amount of flash gas by additionally subcooling the liquid refrigerant entering the metering device. This lowers the refrigerant temperature; meaning less refrigerant will flash off to cool itself down to the evaporating temperature.
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Ice Breaker: Working Safely With Circuits

June 7, 2010
Working safely should be a technician’s No. 1 priority; especially while working around electrical circuits and devices. Electricity is a powerful force that could kill or cause severe harm if mishandled. A technician must always be aware of this potential hazard.
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Ice Breaker: Non-Refillable Refrigerant Cylinders

May 3, 2010
Refrigeration technicians carry refrigerant in non-refillable cylinders on their service vehicles every day. While these cylinders are considered relatively safe, there are some hazards associated with transportation and storage, and when removing refrigerant. Mishandling or improper use can lead to injury and/or property damage.
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Ice Breaker: Determining an Oil Charge

April 5, 2010
The required oil charge for a system is basically a factor of the amount of refrigerant in the system and the compressor’s oil pumping rate. The most common method of determining if oil needs to be added to a compressor is to observe the compressor’s oil sight glass. But what if the compressor doesn’t have an oil sight glass?
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Ice Breaker: The Making of a Refrigeration Technician

March 8, 2010
Servicing and maintaining refrigeration systems requires a technician with a unique set of skills. Not only must a technician be proficient in the refrigerant cycle and all of its components, they also must be knowledgeable in many other trades.
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