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Old 22-04-2016, 04:26   #16
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Location: Lake Belton, TX, USA, Earth: 3rd rock from the Sun
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Re: Simple Fridge Question

A refrigerant system that has the compressor and motor encased in a metal "bubble" won't have the dried seals issue. They can be fine for years without being run.
If you need to add refrigerant, there's a leak that needs repair.

The auto AC system has the seals where the compressor shaft goes through. Those dry out and the system leaks. If you never engage the electric clutch to turn the shaft then the oil with the seal treatment additive all drains away from the seal and it will leak the refrigerant.
Its normal the need to add a bit of refrigerant every 2 to 3 years.

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Old 22-04-2016, 11:10   #17

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Re: Simple Fridge Question

Not that simple. For marine installations, some systems are designed for DIY and you screw them together, with seals on the joints. That's still seals that can leak. And if you are engine-powered, you won't have a sealed metal bubble around the compressor, as home AC-powered units do. So your mileage can vary.

But automotive AC systems DO NOT regularly need gas topped up every three years. They may typically have 2-3# of refrigerant in them, and leak detectors can pick up a loss equal to 1/4 ounce per year, in the right trained hands. You can find and fix a leak way before it would "need" a top-up. Not to mention, the average car in the US now is 11 years old, and most of them have never needed AC service. Ten years or longer is not unusual. "Topping up" a leaked system, in any amount, without trying to find and fix the leak, would be a licensing violation.

The rotary compressors are sealed by a graphite shaft seal, compressing a saturated (by the oil) felt disc against a stainless steel seat. Eventually the graphite wears out, or a spec of dirt cuts the seal, or the felt wears out. But ten years is not uncommon with no appreciable loss, as long as that felt is kept saturated with clean oil.

An ice box never has these esoteric problems.(G)

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