Diagnosis of missing cooling capability of a broken air conditioner; how refrigerants are supplied to a breakaway or split air conditioning unit. Diagnosis and repair of condenser leaks from a broken split air conditioning system; this article series covers split air conditioning systems and heat pumps.
Heat pump systems that are split into two units (heat pump condenser and heat pump evaporator) are commonly referred to as “split heat pumps”. A heat pump consists of two different heating components: a refrigerant pump and a pump that convert the refrigerant into mechanical motion called rotation, that then produces mechanical power to run a fan to move the heated air in a home. If there is one part of the heat pump that is broken or fails, the other component will still operate.
One of the biggest challenges associated with these split heat pumps is that they require both a refrigerator and an evaporator to be effective. There is often a great deal of water flow needed to operate the evaporator.
Some of the more common reasons for the need to have a breakaway or split air conditioning system with a heat pump is that the refrigerant lines are often clogged, or the refrigerant line has an abnormal Gage reading. Other situations can lead to damage to the refrigerant line, such as a broken line from the condenser unit to the evaporator.
In addition to having refrigerant lines, the system’s compressor also needs to be checked and repaired in case it is broken. The compressor motor often runs into wear and tear and is susceptible to the breakdown of the cooling circuit of the unit. This can cause the refrigerant pump to work overtime and run beyond its intended lifespan.
Another issue with refrigerant pump failure is that the refrigerant pump has a very long life cycle (about 25 years), while the heat pump only has a half-life of around three years. This means that once the pump stops working, the evaporator cannot replace the refrigerant supply and the unit must stop operating until a new evaporator is purchased, or a new compressor pump is purchased.
The reason these units are sometimes referred to as split or breakaway systems is that there is an opening in the system where the evaporator sits between the evaporator and condenser unit. The evaporator is connected at the bottom of the cooling system and connects to the condenser on the other end.
To check for this problem is to make sure that you have your air conditioning unit serviced when it’s time to replace the evaporator in a split air cooling system. The evaporator must be replaced when the condenser unit fails because it will often require that you have a breakaway system installed to prevent damage to the refrigerant pump.
You should also make sure you have the condenser and the system’s compressor checked out before purchasing the system. These components are often made of plastic, and you do not want the plastic to corrode or get damaged because of wear and tear on the system.
You might find that your evaporator can become cracked or misshaped. If this occurs, the best thing to do is to replace the evaporator as soon as possible because the unit will run more slowly, and require you to have a breakaway system.
An evaporator breakaway system that is installed properly is a simple matter of fitting two or more evaporators together, and then connecting the wires to the condenser unit, which is typically a separate unit. In many cases, it is possible to use one evaporator unit to run all of the heating and cooling.
Another reason to purchase a split cooling system with a heat pump is if you live in a region where the air conditioning unit may not have access to refrigerant lines since the condenser unit is not a permanent part of the cooling system. In these cases, there is a breakaway unit that is installed that allows you to store a refrigerant supply so that when the air conditioning unit needs to be cooled down, it can pull the refrigerant supply line to run the system at a lower temperature.