Refrigeration oil on refrigeration equipment is almost always a sure sign of a refrigerant leak!
If you see signs of oil, think possible leak.
What kind of signs?
Look for small patches or spots. Even the very smallest refrigerant leak is guaranteed to leave oily evidence.
Over time these patches slowly attract dust or dirt. Do you see larger areas covered with a greasy film?
A sure sign of a leak that has been there for awhile.
When I first started refrigeration repair and service, it seemed like all the refrigeration equipment was greasy.
Years of grime build up. Why? Because small leaks were ignored!
Thirty years ago, refrigerant was cheap. Owners didn't care. They assumed it was normal to "add freon."
Technicians certainly didn't care! They were making money!
Besides, finding leaks was a pain!!!
The standard procedure was soap bubbles and a halide torch. If you were really up to date you had one of those new fangled "electronic leak detectors."
But no matter what you used, it was not very effective.
So, the heck with it, just add some refrigerant.
My, how things have changed!
I rarely see greasy refrigeration equipment today.
Refrigerant is expensive. The owner wants to know "where's the leak?"
The technician's reputation is on the line. Find it and fix it! Don't want a recall! Looks bad!!!
Do yourself and you customer a favor. When you encounter dirty, greasy, refrigeration equipment, clean it.
I use break wash from the local auto parts store for small leaks. It works great and leaves no residue.
For large areas apply a good degreasing agent. But remember to rinse the condenser coil thoroughly. Some of those cleaners attack aluminum.
OK, so you've got the unit clean. Time to start looking for those spots and patches.
You probably won't need that fancy, new fangled, electronic leak detector.
Let the refrigeration oil show you naturally!!!
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