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Five Steps to Better Chiller Maintenance


Maintenance and engineering managers around the country are preparing their institutional and commercial facilities for colder weather, so now is a good time to maintain and clean your facilities’ chillers, one of the largest operational expenses in an HVAC system.

Goodway Technologies (use link: www.goodway.com), a provider of global industrial maintenance solutions used by facilities and plant maintenance personnel, offered five steps managers should consider taking so chillers keep running properly and efficiently.

• Maintain a daily operating log: The Federal Energy Management Program recommends updating the log four times a day to monitor key operating parameters that will help indicate if any problems are developing.

• Keep tubes clean: Fouling and scale can reduce efficiency. Regular monitoring can help recognize when tube cleaning should take place, however it is recommended at least once a year. Pressure loss can also indicate tube corrosion.

• Ensure a leak-free unit: Leaks can affect the operation of the system and release hazardous refrigerants.

• Sustain proper water treatment: Failure to perform chiller maintenance can also affect water quality. Keep a close eye on water treatment and chemistry.

• Analyze oil and refrigerant: Refrigerant levels should stay within the manufacturer’s recommended levels. An air-purge timer (increases in air-purge time may indicate a leak), checking the refrigerant sight-glass for bubbles and checking at all joints and connections with a gas analyzer are all ways to help track refrigerant levels.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that the minimum amount of chiller maintenance take place once a year.

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