Changing refrigeration oil in semi-hermetic refrigeration compressors can get messy!
It always seems like oil spills everywhere. Even when trying to be very careful.
Most compressors have drain plugs. Sometimes you're lucky. The compressor is high enough to slide a catch pan underneath.
Then it's simple. Like changing oil in a car.
But many times refrigeration compressors are mounted very close to the unit. Getting any kind of catch pan underneath, is almost impossible.
If that's the case, after isolating the compressor, remove the drain plug and install the correct fitting. A fitting that allows you to attach a refrigeration gauge hose.
You still create a mess while installing the new fitting. But any additional changes are much easier.
You're now ready to drain the crankcase.
Most of the large commercial and industrial refrigeration compressors have drain plugs. But what about the smaller semi-hermetic compressors?
The fractional horsepower Copeland compressors, for example? They normally have no oil drain plugs.
What to do?
Grab that roll of 3/8 inch copper tubing. Cut off a piece around 3 feet long and straighted one end.
Do you see the crankcase access plug mounted on the side of the compressor? Remove it and insert the straight end of the tubing into the crankcase until it stops.
So far, so good!!! But how do you get the refrigeration oil out?
Wrap a rag around the tubing to create a seal. Place the other end of the tubing in a catch pan.
With the compressor still isolated, attach a refrigeration gauge hose to the suction service valve.
Now gently pressurize the compressor.
Presto!!! The pressure forces the oil from the crankcase through the tubing into the catch pan!
There's no mess to clean up! You never touch the oil. It just flows into the container.
This procedure works for any semi-hermetic compressor that has an access plug with a straight shot into the crankcase.
But you may ask "Why not pressurize the crankcase with the fitting installed?"
Now your thinking!!! It works great. The oil flows through the gauge hose to the catch pan.
Once again, no mess to clean up!!!
I have found 3/8 inch tubing works best. It is small enough to fit into the access hole and large enough to allow a good flow rate.
Leaving refrigeration equipment as clean is possible is very important. Nothing creates a dirty, greasy mess like spilled refrigeration oil!!!
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