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Did you know that there is more to your refrigeration and HVAC unit than meets the eye? Your HVAC unit and refrigeration condensing unit should have a service disconnect that is located outdoors at your condensing unit. The service disconnect exists to give technicians an easily accessible and safe way to shut off power to the units when they are servicing or repairing equipment. However, SPECS Refrigeration in Lubbock, Texas, sees a lot of problems with refrigeration and HVAC units due to old, worn out service disconnects.

Service disconnects are typically inexpensive components of your HVAC or refrigeration unit and can fail due to wear and tear. In west Texas, they are often subjected to frigid winters and hot summers along with blowing dust and dirt. Because they are outdoors, they are often neglected, but they should be maintained just like every other part of the system. Your service disconnect serves as the main power junction between the breaker in your breaker panel and your condensing unit. When a disconnect starts to wear out or gets too much dirt and gunk inside it, the electrical contact points can stop making a good connection, and the unit can lose power and stop running. In an even worse scenario, the contact points inside the disconnect may overheat due to the poor connection, get discolored, pitted, and more. The poor electrical connection can then cause the power wires feeding the condensing unit to over-amp and overheat and can damage the wiring as well as the components inside the condensing unit such as compressors and contactors, due to low voltage, high amperage, or intermittent power.

Condensing units in home air conditioning systems typically use a simple pullout disconnect but large commercial AC and refrigeration units often use a more sophisticated 3 pole disconnect with an actuator – usually an external switch handle. This type of disconnect switch uses “knife blade” connections. When the handle is moved to the ON position, the knife blades rotate into place and make contact with the blade receptacles attached to the wire lugs on the “line” side of the disconnect switch. This then allows power to pass through the knife blades into the “load” side of the disconnect and on to the equipment that is getting powered. If a service disconnect is old and worn out, it may no longer properly send voltage to the AC unit. If your commercial service disconnect is old and rusty on the outside and/or has damaged, discolored, or pitted knife blades or receptacles on the inside, then it should be replaced. It is fairly common to find a refrigeration or AC unit that cannot run because it isn’t getting adequate power through the service disconnect and the repair of the non-running unit is actually to replace the worn out disconnect.

SPECS Refrigeration in Lubbock, Texas, can service and repair all parts of your refrigeration and AC systems, including the service disconnect, and can let you know if you have issues with the power wiring from the disconnect to your equipment. A qualified HVAC/R service company such as SPECS Refrigeration can replace service disconnects downstream of the breaker panel. This is also an area where HVAC/R technicians and electricians crossover. An electrician or electrical contractor can also check and replace service disconnects when needed but only a qualified HVAC/R technician can determine if a worn out disconnect or damaged wiring has adversely impacted your refrigeration and AC systems. If you think you may need your service disconnect replaced or would like to have it checked, get in touch with SPECS Refrigeration today. We are available for all your HVAC and refrigeration needs in Lubbock and its surrounding areas.

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