HVAC Chiller Maintenance Guide



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when it comes to Chiller Maintenance over time, all equipment undergoes wear and tear. Therefore, having a thorough understanding of your commercial or industrial chiller is crucial. Large equipment maintenance is vital to secure efficiency and longevity, which ultimately leads to reduced costs. To mitigate equipment malfunctions and downtimes, there are ways in which you can effectively cut operational costs. Below, you will find various ways in which you can keep your chiller operating at its best, whilst also preventing potentially harmful malfunctions.

Maintaining a commercial or industrial chiller requires diligent tracking of operational data. Keeping detailed reports is the most effective way to monitor the performance of your chiller. These reports should include records of important data, such as flow rates, pressures, operating temperatures and fluid levels..

To ensure that your chiller continues to operate efficiently, it is important to perform regular maintenance checks. Below are a few essential items that you should include on your general maintenance checklist to ensure that nothing is overlooked.

  1. Verify the temperature difference of the evaporator water.
  2. Record oil and refrigerant levels
  3. Confirm the functionality of fan speed controllers.
  4. Check the efficiency and the operation of the compressor motor
  5. Asses the fan control system
  6. Inspect safety control settings, operating control settings and the operation of controls
  7. Be aware of unusual vibrations, noises and signs of oil
  8. Inspect oil pressures
  9. Measure the volts/amps of the condenser fan motor, and the pressures and temperatures of the condenser and evaporator
  10. Check water flow rate through the evaporator
  11. Inspect compressor motor volts/amps, crankcase heater operation, and capacity control setting/operation
  12. Check the temperature control of the chilled water and the structural integrity of the unit
  13. Inspect the condenser/evaporator controls, moisture indicator, fan and assembly rotations, belts, sheaves for tension and alignment.

Maintaining Clean Heat Exchangers

The heat exchangers on your chiller are crucial for heat transfer and can significantly affect its performance. Thermal resistance can be increased by impurities and contaminants, reducing heat transfer efficiency and affecting the temperature consistency. To prevent this, it’s recommended to clean the heat exchangers at least once a year. With regular maintenance checks, potential problems can be identified early on, allowing you to highlight issues before they become a significant problem.

Examine the Compressor Oil.

For new chillers, it’s sometimes recommended to change the oil and filter after the first year and analyse the oil to determine the frequency of future oil changes. The dirtier the oil, the more frequent the changes will be.

Condition the Chilled Water.

To ensure that your chillers perform at their best and last long, regular maintenance of the water is essential. Scaling and corrosion can cause a decrease in efficiency, which can cause lower evaporating pressures, poor heat transfer, and inconsistent water temperature and flow. To prevent these problems, treat the water with regular chemical treatments and replace or clean filters often.

Glycol Levels

When ambient temperatures drop below freezing point, any process cooling or chilled water pipework that is exposed to the elements is at risk. Inadequately protected systems may block, freeze, and burst, potentially causing thousands of pounds worth of damage, expensive repairs, and costly downtime in production.

Managing Flow Rate.

The flow rate of chilled water has a significant impact on the efficiency of your system, just like its temperature. It’s important to maintain the design flow rate. If the flow rate is too low overcooling of the evaporators may occur and the system may start faulting on LP faults.

Reduce Expenses with Variable Frequency Drives (VFD)

By adjusting the motor speed to match the needed load, Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) can offer a more efficient and cost-effective way to operate. They also provide a softer starting process, resulting in a smoother operation.

Safety Controls for Chillers

Chillers typically comprise a compressor, condenser, expansion device and evaporator/heat exchanger. Safety controls are integrated into every chiller. They protect the cooling system from potential damage caused by low oil pressure, high running currents, low temperature, or high condensing pressure.

Guide to Chiller Maintenance

Different chillers require different maintenance procedures. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and seek professional help to ensure all maintenance steps are done correctly.

If you have any questions or require any further advice about your chiller system, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We cover Liverpool for HVAC maintenance and the surrounding areas as well as the whole of the Northwest.

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