Protecting refrigeration and air conditioning systems from breakdown

The breakdown of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment can be a costly loss for a business or institution. Due to the design and location of this equipment, breakdowns not only occur at a greater frequency than other machinery, but the cost of repair tends to be higher.

These breakdowns can be classified into two categories – mechanical and electrical. Proper maintenance can help you avoid either of these disasters.

Mechanical breakdowns make up about 30-40% of air conditioning and refrigeration failures. Here are two ways to help avoid these types of breakdowns.

  • Have a lube analysis done whenever routine oil changes occur. Loss, lack of or contamination of lubricant directly results in the failure of mechanical parts.
  • Keep the condenser clean. Disassemble and thoroughly wash the condenser coils, especially the pollen buildup after the spring months. Dust and dirt in the coils can cause the motor to overheat and break down. Keeping the condensers in good condition extends the life of the motor and compressor units.

Electrical Failures are the greater risk, accounting for 60-70% of breakdowns. Taking the following precautions can help protect your equipment from voltage spikes, brownouts, power interruptions and even damage from lightning.

  • Install Transient Voltage Surge Suppression (TVSS) devices. These devices will work to block voltage spikes. Installing TVSS devices at each individual unit will be more cost effective than installing at the main electrical service entrance.
  • Make sure to properly ground your electrical system. Lightning has worse effects on systems that have been improperly grounded. The system should be set up with a single point and high quality ground.
  • Use start delay timers to prevent equipment from turning on and off too quickly and shortening the life of the motor and compressor.

The costs of protecting your air conditioning and refrigeration systems are nominal when compared to their value and the cost of major repairs. Practicing these maintenance procedures can provide effective protection against breakdowns and associated business downtime.

For a deeper resource on this topic, read this Locomotive article. And if you know other ways to help protect your refrigeration and air conditioning equipment from breakdowns, leave a comment below!

Want more information like this delivered straight to your inbox? Click the “Follow” button on the bottom right, and enter your email address!


© 2015 The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This article is intended for information purposes only. All recommendations are general guidelines and are not intended to be exhaustive or complete, nor are they designed to replace information or instructions from the manufacturer of your equipment. Contact your equipment service representative or manufacturer with specific questions.


  • Wonderful information ac tips, thanks a lot for sharing kind of content with us. Your blog gives the best and the most interesting information. I wonder if we can gather such practical information about it, a great post definitely to come across.I have also found this resource useful and its related to what you are mentioning.

  • Breakdowns are common because these systems contain a variety of equipment components, such as pressure vessel, mechanical, electrical and electronic. If one component of the system does not work properly, the whole system may fail. Only equipment breakdown insurance covers losses caused by the accidental breakdown of these components.

  • Air conditioning and refrigeration systems represent the number one source of claims, and account for about half of all equipment breakdowns.
    While both systems remove heat, air conditioning systems are also designed to control humidity and air quality, and distribute conditioned air throughout a building.

  • I think this is a giant and super informative post in the online world. All the HVAC-related information has mentioned. From device installation to maintenance and how to use it is beautifully presented from start to finish. I have an AC device, I don’t know exactly how to handle it properly and take care of it properly. I got the right direction on how to use and maintain an AC device from this peace of mind presentation. Thank you so much for gifting such a beautiful article.

  • My ac is not producing enough cool air, and that is why I’ve decided to start looking for an HVAC contractor. Thank you for sharing the importance of having its coils changed. I also agree with you that the AC’s compressor must be inspected.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.