Chillers are meant to help our businesses grow while cutting costs, but factors such as fouled tubes, leaky refrigerant and other unexpected problems, can quickly increase costs. Operating chillers at their peak performance may be time consuming, but will cut costs in the end.
Chiller maintenance has advanced significantly over the years. The industry has been moving toward demand maintenance programs and away from pre-determined schedule maintenance.
Whichever type of chiller you have or what type of industry you are in, here are 5 maintenance tips to help maintain the efficiency of your chiller.
- Daily logs:
A daily log should always be the first step toward maintaining your chiller. Keeping a log allows you have a recorded history of operating conditions such as temperature, pressure, fluid levels, and flow rates. Modern technology allows you to inspect chillers continually rather than every other month or so. Having a daily written maintenance report will allow any issues to be caught quickly.
- Clean Tubes:
The efficiency of heat transfer is a critical aspect of a chillers’ performance. Dirt, minerals, and foreign debris can increase thermal resistance and hurt the chillers’ overall performance. A higher approach temperature is a prime indicator that the chiller’s heat transfer is declining. Condenser tubes should be brushed at least once a year to keep them clean and conaminant free.
- Treat Water:
All condenser water loops require water treatment of some sort. This helps to eliminate scale, corrosion and growth of bacteria. Dirty water in the tubes can decrease the chillers’ piping effectiveness. Remote monitoring can also be used for water quality and corrosion.
- Refrigerant Charge:
The actual amount of cooling a chiller can provide will depend on how much refrigerant is moving through the compressor. It is important to maintain the proper level of refrigerant at all times. Leaks will decrease efficiency and the reliability of the system. A low refrigerant charge can ultimately cause the compressor to work harder, for less cooling effect
- Water Flow:
Changing the chilled water flow rate will affect a chiller’s performance. Too low a flow rate lowers the chiller efficiency. The minimum flow rate is typically around 3-ft. per second (FPS). Too high of a flow rate can cause vibration, noise, and tube erosion. The maximum recommended flow rate is typically around 12 FPS.
Now matter how busy you are, it is imperative to scheduled time for chiller maintenace. Skipping maintenance will greatly hurt your business in the long run, so make sure to have daily maintenance scheduled into your calendar.