Refrigeration field over time
When I started in the refrigeration field the world was a lot different. We had belt driven compressors by Copeland, Tecumseh, and Kysor for all the fractional to over 100.000 BTU’s The main refrigerants were R-12 and R-717. In the late fifties we started to use a lot of R-502 for low temp and commercial. That was necessitated due to freezers having to run in a vacuum with R-12 And boy did we get a lot of moisture and non-condenseables back then. Any low side leak would suck air. Including crankshaft seals. It was a ground breaking thing when GE, Westinghouse, Frigidaire and Tecumseh came out with hermetic compressors Copeland and Carlyle with there semi-hermetics were king as you could rebuild them like the belt drives. But new cost was a bit high. Copelands semi is still the best low temp as far as longevity. I have some out there that have been in service for 35 years. There was a lot of skeptics out there about hermetic s, but all we had to do was look at the old GE Monitor tops from 1928 some are still running today True, we could no longer match the compressor to the load by changing motors and pulleys, but they eventually made enough models you could fit in the capacity. All units had service valves and half the time when you when to service one. a previous serviceman had left the caps off. I must have bought over a thousand of them over the years. Especially since the 92 protocol.and licensing. Today we are in constant change and upgrade with refrigerants and the new rules on service valves. I used to stock 3 refrigerants, but I now have over a dozen bottles. And at $0.50 a lb, against today’s $12 for some It’s crazy We did not have vacuum gauges and primitive single stage vacuum pumps. You vacuumed for two hours and hoped for the best. But the total cost of equipment to get into the field was about $200. Today you’ll need over $10,000 to meet EPA requirements and be cost effective.
I don’t know where our next generation of techs will come from, But there are some great programs out there, and even greater equipment. Even the new turbo torches over our old Prest-o-lites and Halide leak detectors are a god send. Especially the H-10’s (GE design) and the Ultrasonic detectors. I personally don’t miss the ammonia.
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