With the cooler season upon us, now is the time for facility managers need to ensure optimal equipment functions for efficient and prolonged use. Several periodic shutdowns in the past year and a half make it even more critical to perform routine maintenance work promptly to ensure operations are running smoothly.
Why Is Chiller Maintenance Important?
Lack of preventative maintenance on your chiller can lead to other unbudgeted costs through increased energy bills or repairs. Most chillers face the prevalent issue of sediment buildup and residue in the chiller tubes. This serves as a blockage and forces the chiller to use more energy to produce the desired level of airflow.
This leads to an increase in energy bills and a lack of efficiency. In addition, most organizations overlook the maintenance of chiller systems due to the costs and time to perform maintenance associated with them.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 35% of a building’s total energy use comes from its HVAC system. Inefficiency can therefore have a significant impact on the bottom line. Chiller tubes are susceptible to the buildup of scale and other sediments and residue. A chiller that has to work harder to achieve the target output will use more power, resulting in higher energy costs.
Steps To Improve Chiller Maintenance
Creating a checklist for your chiller maintenance is ideal for staying on track and ensuring your equipment operates efficiently.
We are here to share the best practices to help you improve your chiller’s performance with proper maintenance.
Step 1: Maintain a Daily Log
The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) advises organizations to maintain a log for all their chiller systems and monitor the critical operating parameters that will help indicate any developing problems beforehand.
It is advised to do this four times a day. However, if that is unfeasible for your organization, once a day is also alright.
This data log will help keep track of performance and potential complications, helping you proactively address issues.
Step 2: Keep Tubes Clean
A common and recurring issue in chiller systems is the buildup of scale and residue in the tubes. This buildup can result in inefficiencies because the system will require more energy to compensate for the blocked airflow.
This extra energy can cumulate and result in thousands of dollars in additional energy expenses. Experts recommend that chiller tubes should be cleaned at least once a year.
It should also be regularly monitored and cleaned. Pressure loss can also result from tube corrosion, which can be identified through regular checks.
Goodway offers mechanical tube cleaning solutions, chemical descaling solutions, and expert consultation services to find the proper cleaning approach.
Step 3: Ensure Your Unit is Leak-Free
Another common issue in most chiller systems is refrigerant leaks. This affects the efficiency of the chiller system and can also lead to health hazards from the hazardous refrigerants being released into the air.
Therefore, it is advised to keep refrigerant levels within the manufacturers’ recommendations and keep track by:
- Using an air-purge time
- Checking the refrigerant sight-glass for bubbles
- Assess joints and connections with a gas analyzer
Step 4: Sustain Proper Water Treatment
It is essential to have a proper water treatment system to maintain efficiencies between cleaning the chiller system.
A proper water treatment system helps reduce the buildup of contaminants on heat-transfer surfaces and slows the growth of harmful bacteria.
Since every organization is different, there is a strong possibility that the scale could be other. Therefore, you should reach out to an expert to identify the best approach and solution.
Step 5: Maintain The System
After you have developed a chiller maintenance program and outlined all the action items, the final step is implementing an upkeep plan.
It is essential to keep all the parties updated about the process and ensure that they have received training to work on the system. This information also needs to be shared by all the facility management employees working on the system.
Regularly provide updates on the impact and positive results of the routine maintenance to log and document the benefits.
Once you have developed a chiller maintenance program and outlined all the steps and actions, one last thing is left to implement. It is only possible for the program to work if all the necessary parties have been informed of the process and trained on it. Distribute the information to anyone involved with facility management or who comes into contact with the system. Provide regular updates on the success and effects of routine maintenance to demonstrate the benefits.
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