Any machinery will experience wear and tear gradually. This is the reason why it is mandatory to be well versed with your industrial or commercial chiller. Maintenance of large equipment is important to ensure efficiency and the long life of the machinery. A happy chiller leads to a cheaper bill. Minimizing machinery, malfunctions, and downtime via using a chiller maintenance checklist can be a good way of lowering operational costs. In this article, we are going to look at methods of keeping your industrial chiller up and running while averting damaging chiller breakdowns.
Daily logs and chiller maintenance checklist
Conducting daily inspections is just the tip of the iceberg when maintaining chillers. You need to keep detailed daily logs to understand how your chiller is doing. These logs should have relevant details such as flow rates, fluid levels, operating temperatures, and pressures. You can check various downloadable log sheets to update these numbers. Remote monitoring systems are common in daily logs on machines. It takes less time and updates frequently since it is automated.
Chiller maintenance checkups are a must. You can add the following items to your chiller maintenance checklist to make sure you do not miss anything:
- Take note of oil levels and refrigerant
- Inspect fan control
- Check the differential of evaporator water temperature
- Measure condenser fan volts/amps
- Check the flow of water through the evaporator.
- Measure the pressures of the evaporator and condenser
- Monitor operation of controls
- Measure leaks and make verification of refrigerant, oil, water, etc
- Monitor safety control settings
- Inspect operating control settings
- Check compressor motor operation
- Check compressor motor efficiency
- Monitor compressor motor amps/volts
- Protect cap tubes from chafing
- Inspect cap control operation/setting
- Inspect crankcase heater function
- Check evaporator/condenser controls both water and air
- Check the moisture indicator
- Monitor oil pressure
- Regularly check assembly and fan rotations
- Inspect chill water temperature control
- Check the belts, sheaves alignment, and tension
- Monitor fan speed controllers
- Look and listen for unusual noises and vibrations
- Check the overall structural functions of the equipment.
- Make a comparison of tonnage being produced and the consumption of electricity.
Maintaining tubes cleanliness
The main function of tubes in chillers is heat transfer and they affect the overall performance of the chiller. Some impurities can rise thermal resistance. This reduces the efficiency of heat transfer. These tubes should be brushed at least once per year. Using a high-quality monitoring system gives you the ability to solve problems before they happen. This helps you to clean the tubes before they become a problem.
Condenser water treatment
The condenser water should be clean for both chillers and boilers. Scaling and corrosion reduce the functionality of the chillers. Scaling and corrosion build up over time if the water is left untreated. Untreated condenser water can lead to irregular heat transfers, high pressures in the condenser, and inconsistent water flow and temperature. Routine chemical treatments can assist in keeping the water clean and make sure that the filters are regularly replaced.
Compressor oil analysis
When operating a new chiller it is a common practice to conduct a filter and oil change within the first year. You can also analyze the oil to determine the frequency of oil changes in the offing. If your system is dirty it would require oil change frequently.
You can also perform a spectrometric chemical analysis of oil once per year. This will help you get to understand your system and even make clear some potential issues. Getting to learn how to tackle various problems from the size of the particles contaminating the oil to high water content is invaluable. Some chillers do not use oil hence lowering chiller maintenance costs.
This is performed on low-pressure machines. It means purging the chiller of non-condensable gases. These gases are produced by the chiller from the side with low pressure where there is a filter or pump. The evaporator components operate within a vacuum and some non-condensable elements leak inside. Make sure that the moisture and air are very low while doing the purging.
Increase the water temperature of the condenser
If you want to improve the efficiency of a factory’s air handling units you will need to increase the temperature of chilled water being directed to the units. Centrifugal chillers and variable speed drives can have up to 13% efficiency improvement per 5⁰ of relief of water temperature from the condenser. Constant speed chillers can also be maintained efficiently, however, they only get a 5% gain in efficiency per 5⁰ of relief of chilled water.
Similar to water temperature water flow plays a major impact on the efficiency of your boiler. The flow rate of the chilled water needs to be over 3ft per second and lower than 12ft per second. If the flow is below 3ft per second the fallow may change to a lamiae. If it rises over 12ft per second it causes noise and vibration leading to tube erosion.
Use Variable Frequency Drives to cut costs
VFDs motor speed is equal to the needed load creating a low energy and cost-efficient manner of operation. They also provide a smooth start and minimize current in-rush. Chillers are very complex and with the help of a professional, you can be able to keep your equipment functioning normally. If you need preventative chiller maintenance, consultation, parts, rentals, or repair you can reach out to qualified professionals to figure out what they can do for you.
A chiller consists of an evaporator a compressor and condensers. Every chiller needs different settings that are similar to the load for optimum efficiency. Each chiller has safety controls made to offer protection to the cooling system. This offers protection from low refrigerant temperature, high condensing pressure, or very low oil pressure.
Among these controls include refrigerant flow control and capacity control. The main function of capacity control is regulating the chilled water temperature. The refrigerant flow control is used according to the type of compressor used.
In summary, having a chiller maintenance checklist goes a long way in helping you conduct regular chiller inspections. You will be able to notice problems earlier and rectify them sooner to prevent total chiller breakdown which affects the overall production process. You can also seek advice from a consultancy firm to have basic knowledge of how to conduct routine checks or you can still hire a team of professionals who will be doing the checks and repairs on your behalf.