A crankcase heater is an electrical component in a compressor in an air-conditioning system, heat pump system, or chiller system. The crankcase heater is normally on all the time, even when the unit is not running, though temperature sensors and set points may turn it off when not needed. A crankcase heater's sole purpose is to prevent refrigerant migration and mixing with crankcase oil when the unit is off, and to prevent condensation of refrigerant in the crankcase of a compressor. The crankcase heater keeps refrigerant at a temperature higher than the coldest part of the system. A crankcase heater generally has the same electrical symbol as a resistor because it converts electricity directly into heat via electrical resistance. The resistance in the heater coil determines the heat it produces when voltage is applied.
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