The Importance of Chiller Maintenance
If your facility depends on a commercial chiller, you know how much just the additional electricity usage can cost. This may discourage business owners from spending additional money to maintain their chiller units. However, the costs of preventative maintenance often outweigh the costs of decreased efficiency and critical failure in the long run.
With the cold winter months soon arriving here in Chicago, this a great time of year to start performing preventative maintenance on your commercial chillers. Here are six tips to get you started on planning a winter maintenance schedule to keep your chiller running efficiently while preventing critical failure:
1. Clean your chiller tubes
Chiller tubes easily collect contaminants like minerals, scale, and algae, reducing operational efficiency by up to 30%. During downtime, you can use rotary tube cleaners, descalers, and brushes to remove these deposits and return your chiller to running at optimal operating levels.
2. Identify leaks
After you’ve thoroughly cleaned chiller tubes, use additional downtime to identify any leaks in your system. Leaks result in a less efficient system and can release harmful refrigerant into the air. Small cracks will inevitably form over time. However, it’s much easier to remedy these cracks when they’re small than to wait to remedy a critical failure caused by larger cracks. By identifying and repairing these smaller cracks, you’re improving chiller efficiency while saving money and time in the long run.
3. Maintain cooling towers
The overall efficiency of your chiller is directly linked to cooling tower performance. Cooling towers easily grow algae and collect scale deposits. Frequently cleaning and maintaining your cooling towers reduces the chance of breakdown while optimizing operational efficiency.
4. Check water, oil, and refrigerant
Wintertime offers a great opportunity to make sure your chiller refrigerant levels are within the manufacturer’s recommended levels. At the same time, you should check oil levels and refill as needed.
Checking water can be a little more complicated. It’s wise to have a water sample tested for impurities and pH levels. When these levels are off, impurities build up more easily, decreasing thermal resistance and reducing system efficiency.
5. Inspect and replace Critical Components
Use system downtime to inspect and replace critical components like gaskets, strainers, and filters based on the manufacturer’s recommended lifetimes. We also advise checking the operation of all starters and motors and repairing or replacing as needed.
6. Write Everything Down!
What’s the point of performing preventative maintenance if you can’t remember what’s been done and what hasn’t? Keeping a written log of all maintenance and service performed on your chiller makes it easier to plan ahead while guaranteeing that your chiller is operating at peak levels. Plus, if you have any questions for us, we’ll be able to take a look at your records and get caught up in a matter of minutes instead of days.
By following these six steps, you can guarantee that your commercial chiller will be running at peak performance when the warmer months return. If you have any questions about chiller maintenance or need any help with any steps of the process, contact us today.