4 Dangers of Purchasing Counterfeit Compressors and Parts

There are few things more troublesome and time-consuming than buying a new commercial compressor if you don’t know where to start. After all, there’s no “right” time for a commercial compressor failure. No matter if a compressor is used for commercial refrigeration or commercial air conditioning, catastrophic compressor failure is bad news.

Over the last few years, it’s become common for unscrupulous suppliers to offer counterfeit parts and even entire counterfeit compressors. This is happening more as a result of longer OEM delays, which encourage organizations that need compressors to cut corners for a faster solution.

Of course, it’s not always obvious when you’re in danger of buying a counterfeit compressor. A counterfeit commercial compressor could still travel thousands of miles to reach you, and it could even be priced near regular OEM pricing to cover up the truth. It’s crucial to take a close look at the situation before you buy.

If you can’t get information about a supplier such as its company history, business licensing, and reviews, you should take care not to buy a compressor that might be counterfeit. You’ll end up paying more in the long run since you have to make up for a counterfeit unit’s shortcomings.

Here are the four risks of counterfeit compressors and counterfeit compressor parts:

1. Damage to the Systems that Rely on Your Commercial Compressor

No matter if you are looking at a counterfeit compressor or counterfeit compressor components, you can be sure they aren’t manufactured to the tight tolerances of a modern commercial compressor. Knowing that a counterfeit component can fail and cause repercussions throughout the system is crucial.

Likewise, a counterfeit compressor may not operate as expected. It might not maintain the right pressure levels or lubrication. Although it might seem to work in the short run, there’s a high chance you end up with a ruined HVAC or refrigeration system, where parts connected to the compressor need replacement.

Leaks, clogged lines, and higher rates of mechanical wear are common when counterfeit parts are used. These parts can even break down and produce shrapnel that flows through the system until it gets stuck somewhere.

2. Reduced Lifespan of a Counterfeit Commercial Compressor

Commercial compressors are becoming more reliable. With that comes a longer service life – and higher levels of efficiency deeper into that lifespan. That being the case, it’s a true waste to end up with a counterfeit piece, since it probably won’t last more than a few months. Some may fail in just a week or two.

On the other hand, a modern commercial compressor will usually last around ten years. In fact, we recently worked on a compressor that had more than twenty years of service! While some components, like o-rings, might have a very short lifespan, most components should last far longer.

All-in-all, you stand to save a lot more money when you look for genuine components and equipment. Just a little bit of regular maintenance can keep remanufactured compressors going for years. By comparison, you simply never know what you’re getting if you happen to buy a counterfeit.

3. No Warranty Coverage for a Counterfeit Commercial Compressor or Counterfeit Compressor Components

Warranty coverage applies only to OEM and some remanufactured compressors. A warranty is offered by the manufacturer, while a guarantee is provided by the vendor (for example, Compressors Unlimited) as a way of standing behind their work. Naturally, nobody stands behind a counterfeit.

Not only do you lose the benefits of the warranty for the equipment or component itself, but a counterfeit compressor component can actually void the manufacturer’s warranty on the rest of the equipment. If you make contact with the OEM or an OEM wholesaler for service, you’ll find your protection isn’t valid.

Manufacturers are capable of checking the specifications for all components in a compressor, based on the compressor’s serial number. If any part doesn’t meet the documented standards, you will usually be on the hook for all repairs and replacements. Ultimately, that usually means starting over with a fresh compressor.

4. Lower Efficiency Compared to a Properly Remanufactured Commercial Compressor or Even an OEM Unit

Counterfeit parts tend to fit poorly in comparison to genuine parts, which results in lower efficiency even when the parts are new. Without a tight seal, your compressor is more likely to succumb to flooding and slugging or other issues that could result in a catastrophic compressor failure. For an HVAC system, even those that don’t completely fail suffer reduced airflow. Your system won’t meet its goals and you’ll probably get complaints.

You can avoid counterfeit risks while getting the low price and fast turnaround you want with a remanufactured commercial compressor. A remanufacturing team uses only verified components and ensures all equipment will meet or exceed OEM tolerances before returning your unit to you.


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