Tri-Point Refrigeration Blog | Two Big Cs: Cap Tubes and Compressors!

Two Big Cs: Cap Tubes and Compressors!

Jan 28, 2024 | Commercial Kitchen, Ice Machines, Reach-Ins, Refrigeration, Walk Ins | 0 comments

Let’s talk caps and comps; capillary tubes and compressors, that is. In the refrigeration world, cap(illary) tubes and compressors are some things we see quite a lot. Capillary tubes are used to control the flow of refrigerant and maintain a steady temperature inside a fridge or freezer. The compressor, on the other hand, converts low-pressure gas into high-pressure gas through–you guessed it–compression! These two devices work in harmony as a simple system that keeps your fridge or freezer running cooly and smoothly.

However, for those not dabbling in the trade, we can make an easy comparison to make their functions make sense. We can think of a refrigeration system as a body. In this analogy, the compressor is the heart, and the capillary tubes act as the arteries. Without the heart of the refrigeration system, the system simply would not be: this simple system is entirely responsible for the lifeblood of a fridge, which is the act of cooling.

Much like the heart of any system, the cap tubes and compressor are not immune to issues or minor setbacks. In fact, it’s quite normal to have to replace these parts. When this does happen, you might be asking yourself: what exactly went wrong here?

Well, the answer can be pretty simple: it all starts with the oil, which acts as a lubricant, inside the compressor. Due to a wide range of factors, such as high compression ratios or a lack of external cooling, the oil can overheat. Once the oil overheats, much like any other oil, it begins to chemically break down. To illustrate what the breaking down of oil might look like, think of a time when you may have overheated oil in a frying pan on the stove. In this case, the oil will reach a smoking point and become pretty unpleasant and basically unusable–something very similar happens with the oil in a compressor, sans the smoke.

Once the oil breaks down in the compressor, it will convert into a slimy sludge that can very easily clog up the cap tubes (or, referring back to the heart analogy, the arteries). For all intents and purposes, we can call this a refrigeration heart attack. If this does happen, you can expect your refrigerator or cooler to stop cooling altogether. This situation can be pretty dire, especially if you’re running a food business!

What’s the remedy in the event that your cap tubes clog? Well, cleaning those tubes might be the first thing that comes to mind. It seems the most logical solution, right? A few swipes here, a few swipes there, and no more clog! Well, not exactly. What about just replacing the cap tubes? That’s where the clog is, so it makes the most sense to just change them out, right?

The latter is exactly the right choice: complete replacement of the cap tubes. But, it doesn’t stop there. Of course, a replacement of the cap tubes could give you a quick and extremely short-lasting effect, and wouldn’t really be worth the time, effort, or money, and we’ll explain why. In this wonderful little compressor-cap-tube system, these two parts depend completely on one another. They interact with each other and exchange with each other. The oil that has become a sludge that has clogged up your cap tubes in the first place is still taking up residence in that compressor. If you replace only the cap tubes or only the compressor, the system is doomed to fail again, and you could be doomed to an extra expense that could have been avoided had they both been replaced at once. There’s no permanent solution to clogged cap tubes other than replacing both the cap tubes and compressor. This will not only solve the issue but will extend your fridge’s life and extend your dollar as well!

Want some extra explanation? Danny’s here to help!

Therefore, if you have to replace the cap tubes, you must also replace the compressor, or else the maintenance is for naught. At Tri-Point, we are committed to making sure we keep your fridge and business running at maximum efficiency. That’s why it’s our policy to replace both the cap tube and the compressor in one fell swoop–to fix the problem, heal your fridge’s heart, and keep your business rolling.

For a direct line to any of our employees ready on the line to help you, please call…(512) 651-4565 for our Austin, Texas community (806) 686-0050 for our Lubbock, Texas community

Or check out our website at #hvaclife #hvacr #hvactechnician #hvactech #hvacservice #commercialrefrigeration #hvactools #refrigerationservice #restaurantmaintenance #refrigerationtech #refrigerationsystems #leasing #restaurantleasing #cooler #freezer #walkinfreezer #walkincooler #walkinmaintenance