Many techs do not do sealed system work because the large majority of refrigerator repairs that customers are willing to pay for do not involve the sealed system. Many one- or two-man shops don't find that it makes financial sense to have and maintain all the of equipment needed to do the work. Larger companies often have one or two techs who do sealed-system repairs, not their whole crew.
If your company does enough warranty work or there are a lot of high-end refrigerators in your market area, then you might want to have the ability to do sealed-system repairs, and are looking for training. Read on!
First, understand that actually doing sealed system repairs is a completely different skill from diagnosing a sealed system problem to begin with. Here’s the reality: it's relatively easy to learn how to do sealed system work; it’s much harder to train technicians how to troubleshoot and diagnose warm refrigerator problems correctly, quickly, and accurately.
In fact, I've found that many guys who do sealed system work don't actually understand how the sealed system works. I know, it sounds crazy! But that's the dirty little secret of doing sealed system repairs: you don't have to understand how the sealed system actually works in order to replace a compressor and recharge a system. You just need to follow a procedure, pay attention to details, know how to use some special equipment like scales and gauges, and acquire some degree of proficiency with brazing copper (and soon, Lokring).
If you are going to work on refrigerators in any way, then the first step is to take our our Refrigerator Repair Training Course. This will teach you how the sealed system works in conjunction with the controls to keep the compartments cold. You'll then be equipped to troubleshoot all fridge problems, and repair most of them.
Then, to add sealed-system work to your repertoire, you don't need a whole new course. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a one-day workshop that steps you through the process and gives you some hands-on practice. Or, there may be a senior tech at your company who can show you the ropes. But there are also lots of free materials out there from manufacturers that you can read or watch, and then practice in your work shop. Get some old dehumidifiers or refrigerators to practice on. You'll destroy the first couple of them you work on but no big deal-- it's not a customer unit. After you get it right in your work shop, then you're ready to take your new skills into the real world.
Read, watch, learn, fix...
Technical Documents (You'll need a tech account at Appliantology.org to download):
- Refrigerant Recovery, Evacuation, and Charging Procedures
- Sealed System Training Manual from Electrolux
- Refrigeration Brazing and Evaporator Repair
- Lokring Repair Method Service Guide from GE
- Lokring Tube Connection System Service Manual from Whirlpool
Instructional Videos (from YouTube):
- Brazing and soldering techniques
- Refrigerant recovery
- Evacuation and charging
- Replacing the filter dryer
- Replacing the compressor
- Flushing with R134a
This is the other question we get asked a lot - how to get the EPA Certification required to do sealed system work. EPA certification simply shows that you’ve passed a test regarding refrigerant handling and understand the regulations and certain safety procedures. It does not demonstrate your technical competence or ability to troubleshoot and repair sealed systems.
You can search online for a place that is authorized to offer the EPA “Section 608” test and certification. Here is one example.