Refrigeration Compressors Need Emergency Gaskets?
Grab Your Hammer!

Do your refrigeration compressors need gaskets? Is it an emergency? Got a hammer???

The freezer case was not freezing the product. The condensing unit was running. But the pressures were not right.

The suction pressure was too high and the discharge pressure was lower than normal.

Placing my hand on the compressor head, I noticed that the normally cooler low side of the head was almost as hot as the high side.

I had my suspicions. My bet was either a bad valve plate assembly or blown gasket.

Only one way to know for sure! Time to remove the compressor head and valve plate assembly after isolating the compressor.

Being very careful to observe anything out of the ordinary, I slowly removed the head bolts, then the head.

The plate assembly looked OK. The suction valve reeds were intact and showed no signs of damage. Checking the discharge valves, they also appeared to be firmly in place.

Then I saw it!! Looking closely at the compressor head, I noticed some gasket material missing.

The thin strip of gasket that separates the high side of the head from the low was missing a small piece.

There was the problem. I've seen it many times on many refrigeration compressors.

This small gap was allowing high side refrigerant to escape into the low side.

That's why the refrigerant pressures were off. It also explained the low side of the compressor head being hotter than normal.

Problem solved!!! Just change the gasket and the freezer would soon be back online.

I'm sure you know where I'm going with this story. You guessed it! I didn't have the correct gasket!!

I usually carry many gaskets for various refrigeration compressors. Of course, the gasket you need is the one you don't have!!!

If your luck is like mine, it's also a weekend or the nearest supply house is 50 miles away or both!!!

Want to know what I have done in similar situations???

I always carry a roll of gasket material on my truck. Gasket material can be purchased from any automotive store.

Time to fabricate a new gasket!!!

Huh??? How in the world can I cut the material to fit the curving lines of the compressor head? What about the bolt holes???

After all, everything has to line up exactly!!!

Got a small hammer? Then you have a gasket fabricator!!!

Simply cut a piece of material the size of the compressor head. Place the piece on the head and start tapping.

Presto!!! The gentle tapping on the gasket with the hammer slowly cuts the shape of the head.

Eventually a new gasket appears. Curves, holes, and all!!! While not as good as a new one, it's certainly good enough to get the compressor up and running.

This trick is great for refrigeration compressors in emergency situations. No fancy tools required!

Give it a try next time you're stuck!!!

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