Purpose — Refrigeration systems are intended to contain only refrigerant and oil. Anything else in the closed system is considered a contaminant. Contaminants such as air, moisture, acid, and dirt are major causes of system and compressor failures. They can be introduced into a system in two ways:
• Air, moisture, and dirt usually enter the system during installation or servicing.
• Acid can be created in the system as a result of a compressor motor burnout or as a result of moisture contamination. The presence of acid and/or moisture in a system can be detected by testing the refrigerant with an acid/moisture test kit, or by testing the oil with an acid test kit. Acid and moisture testing is usually performed:
• Any time the refrigeration system requires service or maintenance.
• When recovering or recycling the system’s refrigerant.
• After a compressor motor burnout to gauge the severity of the burnout (mild or severe) in order to determine the amount of system cleanup that is needed.

Before performing this troubleshooting procedure, refer to the manufacturer’s installation instructions and/or service manual for specific instructions about the system being serviced. If differences exist between our procedure and the manufacturer’s instructions, always follow the manufacturer’s Instructions. Review the safety instructions and precautions given in this procedure and in Section 2 of this manual.When working on a system suspected of containing acid, such as after a compressor burnout, wear rubber gloves and eye protection to prevent possible injury.

Two methods commonly used to check for acid and/or moisture contamination are:
• With an acid/moisture test kit that checks refrigerant.
• With an acid test kit that checks oil.

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