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Southeast HVAC News Guest Column

Chiller Maintenance Tips for Professionals

by Tremper Longman
Chillers are often the largest strain on a company’s electrical load, putting them at the top of the list of potential risks for unnecessary consumption of excess energy. Ensuring that chillers are operating at peak efficiency is integral to any industry, as it helps to prevent an excessive amount of capital going to waste every day.

Thankfully, the maintenance of chillers has advanced significantly, in part due to the new developments in centrifugal chillers with magnetic bearing chillers, as well as the inclusion of innovative remote monitoring abilities. Yet, maintaining these intricate devices can still be a hassle without the proper knowledge. The following tips have been collected to help professionals keep their chillers operating effectively.

Maintain a Flow Rate of 3 – 12 FPS for Chilled Water

One of the easiest ways to affect a chiller’s performance is to adjust the chilled water flow rate. If you attempt to keep the rate too low you encounter the risk of diminishing overall efficiency and invite the threat of laminar flow. If you must reduce the flow, avoid setting the rate below 3-ft. per second to maintain a functioning system. Raising the flow rate too high can also lead to issues, such as vibration, noise, and tube erosion. Similarly, to prevent these problems ensure that the flow rate does not exceed 12 ft. per second..

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Check and Maintain Starter Operations

To protect the chiller from damage and to ensure the most efficient use of energy, always inspect safety and sensor calibrations on microprocessor controls. Electrical connections and any switchgear related to the chiller should also be checked and repaired, if needed. If you have a history of insulation faults, begin testing electrical motor windings for resistance to ground and winding-to-winding.

Variable Speed Drive Installation

As mentioned earlier, the motor in a chiller requires a great deal of energy to operate. Variable Speed Drives, or VSD for short, can help provide a great deal of savings. The drives are able to recognize the level of operational efficiency and adjust for maximized work. They also have the added benefits or reducing mechanical shock when starting the massive motor, which increases the machine’s life.

Tremper Longman is a long time Carrier Rental System employee, who enjoys blogging about various HVAC tips for professionals.




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