Chiller Reliability: Averting Failure

By Thomas Bakane, P.E.  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Properly Diagnosing Chiller Life CyclesPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Chillers: Examine Life-Cycle CostsPt. 4: Replacing Chillers: Benefits Beyond Energy Efficiency

Many issues arise after a chiller is well into its performance life. Simple safeties, switches, bearings and internal micro-devices can fail, causing the machine to simply turn off and go into alarm. Assuming the rest of the system has been engineered and commissioned correctly, technicians can solve most of these problems in the first year of operation.

But if a chiller has similar problems after years of service and after technicians supposedly have repaired these problems, the chiller will be branded as unreliable.

But a chiller becomes unreliable before it outright breaks beyond the point of cost-effective repair. Usually, repairs on older chillers result in relatively small costs that add up over time, and they do nothing to improve overall machine reliability.

Cost-conscious facility mangers often rotate an unreliable machine out of service, repair it and hope it runs when a more reliable machine requires service. This strategy can be a big mistake. Managers often find that backup chiller capacity is most needed during peak load. Mission-critical facilities should always have reliable, spare chiller capacity connected to the system and operationally rotated in the sequence.

Continue Reading: Chiller Challenge: Repair or Replace?

Properly Diagnosing Chiller Life Cycles

Chiller Reliability: Averting Failure

Chillers: Examine Life-Cycle Costs

Replacing Chillers: Benefits Beyond Energy Efficiency

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  posted on 3/1/2009   Article Use Policy

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