How To Clean Up The Air Conditioner Of Acids?

In an earlier discussion we already saw that how air conditioners are affected by acid that form inside them due to chemical reactions between the components, lubricating oil or, material of construction. When air or moisture enters into the system a chemical reaction takes place. This chemical reaction produces hydroelectric and/or hydroelectric acids as by-products. The acid if not removed as early as possible can damage the whole machine beyond repair. Here we will take look at how acids are removed from an air conditioner unit. Before we do that we should understand the types of acids that usually formed in an air conditioner.

• organic acids (such as oleic acid)
• and inorganic (mineral) acids (such as hydrochloric acid)


The former is found in refrigerant oil in the compressor pump. They are soluble in oil and do not vaporize. The inorganic acids on the other hand, are more reactive and stronger compared to their organic counterpart. They are partly soluble in oil. They are found both is refrigerant oil and also in refrigerant and therefore circulate throughout the machine. They can pose more danger to the unit than organic acids. Acids do an irretrievable damage to the compressor. So when the new compressor is installed care should be taken that acid have been completely eradicated from the system.

Usually clean-up of a unit include changing the compressor and removing the oil and refrigerant, as the acid is primarily found in these. However there remains the fact that the acid has traveled with the refrigerant throughout the vapor-compression loop. The traces of acid has been left almost everywhere. This acid residue should be removed mandatory. It has been found to shorten the life of the A/c otherwise. There are evidences that a compressor burnout of a system has increased the frequency of subsequent burnouts. This is mainly on account of incomplete removal of acid. The inorganic acids eat up the lacquer insulation from the wire of the motor winding which increase chances of shorts and burnouts.

How the residual acid is removed?

• The system is flushed with refrigerant several times. The refrigerant will dissolve the oil and reduce the oil and acid concentrations by dilution. However EPA does not recommend this process as this is quite expensive and time-consuming. Moreover, the refrigerant thus used to flush the system has to be reclaimed to reuse it.

• Another process is to use acidic treatments to neutralize the acid. This can be done by using base or combination of base and liquid carrier. The process of neutralization will result in salts and water. Potassium hydroxide is commonly used base for this purpose. But this process also has a flip side. The water that is produced is removed through the filter. But the salts remain trapped inside which can cause problems.

• There is an approach to tackle this problem as well. You can use a base that is liquid. Ths will form liquid neutralization products that remain as contaminants in the lubricant. However you have to be careful not to add too much or too less base. Too little base will keep the refrigerant acidic. Too much base will make the refrigerant basic.

• The best way is to use the filter- drier to remove acid from the refrigerant oil and hard surfaces. The only problem is that a lot of acid present on the hard surfaces and in the oil may not reach the filter-drier in a reasonable time. The answer is to check thoroughly for acid and then ensure that every bit is removed from every part of the system.

 

 

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