Refrigeration Condenser



In the refrigeration condenser, as the high pressure, high temperature vapor discharged from the compressor cools and condenses, it releases heat to the air or water that's being used as the cooling medium.


Almost all of the heat the refrigerant releases is the heat it absorbed in the evaporator.

It will have also picked up some heat in the compressor, but this is not a concern in normal troubleshooting and capacity calculations in the field.

With an air cooled refrigeration condenser, condensing pressure should be equivalent to ambient temperature plus about 20° to 35°.

There should be a temperature difference of 20° to 30° between entering and leaving air.

Look for 10° to 15° of subcooling.


With a water cooled condenser, condensing pressure should be equivalent to leaving water plus 10°.

The temperature difference between condenser entering and leaving water will normally be about 10°.

Look for 10° to 15° of subcooling.


For specialty equipment such as transport refrigeration, ice cream makers, ice machines, etc., check the manufacturer's specifications for condensing pressures.

Many of these machines can run in both "cooling" and "heating" or "defrost" modes, and the manufacturer's specifications will help you determine whether or not pressures and temperatures are in the normal range.


If your refrigeration condenser has a low ambient head pressure control, make sure to keep it in working order.

Its purpose is to make sure that during cold weather, condensing pressure will stay high enough to provide the correct temperature of liquid refrigerant to the metering device.


Inspect and clean the condensing unit on a regular basis.

Make sure the fan(s) are running, that the motors are the right size and rotation, and that the blades are the right size and rotation.

Wash the coil, and make sure no debris is blocking air flow around the unit and through the coil.


If one of your condenser end loops springs a pinhole leak, get ready to replace the condenser coil, especialy if it's old and abviously deteriorating.

A pinhole leak can be repaired, but in about 50% of the condensers where this happens, more pinhole leaks occur, on several different end loops, one after another.

You'll possibly end up paying for several repair jobs, and for the refrigerant needed to replace what leaks out, and eventually you'll need the new coil anyways.


If your service company recommends that you replace a deteriorating refrigeration condenser coil, do it.


If the whole condensing unit is deteriorated, you might consider buying a new condensing unit so you can take advantage of the efficiency of modern compressors, refrigerants, and controls.


I hope this page has helped, and please, feel free to contact us with any specific HVAC questions you might have, including questions about refrigeration on Guam, and air conditioning on Guam.

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