Refrigerator Condenser Units

Replacing older appliance parts is a cost-effective strategy for avoiding costly breakdowns. Whether you need to replace the refrigeration condensing unit for a home refrigerator or for large commercial refrigeration systems like walk-in coolers, you can find what you need at HomElectrical. We carry quality Embraco condensing units that operate at OEM levels or better.

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What Is the Condenser Unit in a Refrigerator?

The condenser is an essential part of the refrigeration cooling system in a refrigerator. It works alongside the evaporator to transfer heat away from the inside of the fridge in order to keep food cold.

The condenser coil on the back of the refrigerator contains a refrigerant that gets forced through the coil via the compressor. As the refrigerant passes through the coil, heat dissipates so the refrigerant can cool down again.

True to the name, as the condenser moves heat away from the fridge, the refrigerant condenses from a gas into a liquid. In its liquid state, it has high pressure and a low temperature and must begin its journey again through the cycle.

The refrigerant will then pass to a thermostatic expansion valve (TXV) or electronic expansion valve (EEV), where it will lower in pressure and quickly boil as it heads to the evaporator and the evaporator coil to absorb heat. This boiling process is referred to as “flashing.” The refrigerant then heads back to the compressor to begin its journey again.

When a repair technician wants to observe changes in the refrigerant flow, they will use a sight glass. This device will show whether the refrigerant is liquid or saturated. If it’s saturated, the sight glass will show the presence of bubbles.

What Types of Condenser Units Are There?

Some systems will have air-cooled condensing units, while others use water-cooled units. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Air-cooled condensing units don’t need as much maintenance and are easy to install. However, they aren’t designed to run for long periods and have a lower heat transfer rate than water-cooled units. The unit uses a fan to blow air across the condenser tubes to chill the refrigerant.

Water-cooled units can handle higher cooling capacities, are better at transferring heat, and can be used for longer periods. They do require more maintenance, and installation is costlier and more invasive.

Another type of condenser is the scroll condensing unit. Scroll condensing units have fewer moving parts than a traditional condenser, are incredibly quiet, and provide more consistent torque. By using exact pressure control, scroll condenser units put less strain on the rest of the system.

What Is the Cost of a Refrigeration Condenser Unit?

The entire refrigerator condenser unit may cost between $450 and nearly $1,000. If you just need to repair or replace the coils, you’ll pay a significantly lower price, with costs for parts somewhere between $60 and $100.

Homeowners can replace the unit themselves, though it’s not an easy installation, and it’s a job that’s better suited to professionals. When in doubt, contact expert installers to ensure the job is done properly. Keep in mind that refrigerator condenser units for residential refrigerators will be much cheaper than those for commercial applications.

Where Is the Condensing Unit Located on a Refrigerator?

Generally, the condensing unit is on the back. Unlike air conditioning units, the backs of most refrigerators are not placed through a hole in the wall to dissipate heat outside. The low amounts of heat that the condenser puts out aren’t enough to cause any damage to the wall behind the fridge.

Air conditioners typically have outdoor condensing units to let the heat out into the environment. They work much harder and have to cool a much larger space compared to a refrigerator condenser unit. When placed in HVAC systems, air conditioners must provide cooling for many rooms.

How Do You Size a Refrigeration Condensing Unit?

For food service businesses that use walk-in coolers and other commercial-grade refrigeration equipment, the essential factors to consider when selecting a condensing unit would be:

  • The amount of space available for installation
  • The application, whether it’s for chillers, freezers, display cases, or walk-in fridges
  • Whether the condensing unit works with the existing power supply or if you’ll have to purchase a new one

Choosing the appropriate refrigeration solutions in food retail also requires determining the amount of BTUs your refrigerator will use realistically. If you have a condensing unit that’s too small, the fridge will be working non-stop to try to keep food cold, and you’ll hear the fan motor in the evaporator running constantly.

If your BTUs are too high, energy efficiency will suffer because every time the fridge runs, it will take much more electricity to do so. It’s better to have a BTU rating matched specifically to your fridge size and cooling requirements.

What Is the Purpose of a Condenser Unit on a Refrigerator?

The condenser unit is there to draw heat away from the interior of the fridge and let it dissipate on the outside. A thermostat controls the exact temperature by telling the condenser and evaporator when to turn on and off.

What Do You Call the Coils on a Refrigerator Condenser Unit?

Condenser coils. The condenser coil is essential for heat exchange to continue the refrigeration loop. They are nearly always located on the outside of the fridge to ensure heat dissipates away from the interior of the fridge. As opposed to evaporator coils, which absorb heat from the air inside the fridge, condenser coils take warmed refrigerant and cool it down for reuse.

Keep Your Fridge Cool With HomElectrical

Refrigerator condenser units are vital for keeping food cold in a fridge, along with the evaporator. At HomElectrical, we stock quality Embraco condensing units to help keep your fridge in service. When you order from HomElectrical, you can guarantee you’re getting high-quality parts and top-notch customer service.

We are also happy to help you understand your manufacturer’s warranty and walk you through the steps to take advantage of it when you need it. If you need any assistance while you’re browsing our inventory, please contact us.

To get the most out of your shopping, register for your own HomElectrical account and streamline your entire shopping experience.

What causes a refrigerator condenser to go bad?

If the condenser coils on the bottom or back of your fridge get blocked by pet hair, dust, dander, or grease, it may be hard for heat to be released from your refrigerator. This makes the condenser work harder than it needs to, shortening the lifespan and potentially causing it to malfunction. Make sure to periodically clean your condenser coils to ensure you get the most life out of your condenser and fridge.

How much electricity does a refrigerator use?

Most home refrigerators operate at around 120 volts and use between 3 and 6 amps, but can spike at peaks of up to 15 amps. It is best to install a fridge on a dedicated 15 to 20-amp, 120-volt circuit to prevent electrical surges or shortages.

The receptacle, or outlet, that the fridge is being plugged into must also be the same amperage as the circuit wiring, either 15-Amp or 20-Amp. Standard outlets are usually enough but consult with an electrician if you’re unsure of your circuitry and/or receptacle capacity.

How much energy does a commercial refrigerator use?

A typical commercial refrigerator uses up to 17,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, or 0.18 kWh of energy per hour that it is used. Here are some tips to save energy and lower the amount of electricity your commercial fridge uses:

  • Regularly clean the condenser coils
  • Ensure the fridge is well ventilated
  • Check door gaskets and seals
  • Monitor the fridge’s temperature with a gauge

All of these procedures will help your fridge to use as little energy as possible to keep cool.

How to clean commercial refrigerator condenser coils?

Cleaning condenser coils is a fairly easy process and helps keep energy costs low while maintaining the functionality of your refrigerator. Supplies you’ll need include a stiff brush or duster, a vacuum, and a screwdriver. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Remove perishable items from the fridge
  2. Shut off power to the unit
  3. Locate the condenser coils, usually on the back of the fridge
  4. Remove the cover or grate if there is one
  5. Brush off dust or debris
  6. Vacuum between and around the coils
  7. Clean off grease with degreaser (if necessary)
  8. Reattach the grate/cover
  9. Plug the fridge back in and restock it

Do this process periodically to keep your refrigeration unit in the best condition possible.

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