Chillers are integral to industrial and commercial cooling systems. However, you can’t just forget about them and leave them to look after themselves – they need regular maintenance to ensure they remain effective. This article outlines some simple tips that will help you to get the best out of your chiller:
Always use inhibitors
For chillers in areas where there may be human contact, such as in food production areas, using the wrong inhibitor in the MPG solution poses a contamination risk.
Take water samples
The chiller system can suffer deterioration and corrosion in any area, so it’s important to take regular water samples from all the available access points and not just from one location. Give particular attention to high-risk areas including cooling jackets, heat exchangers and every product-fluid interface.
Test fluid pH levels
The system’s performance can suffer if you don’t take pH level readings when you carry out routine water checks. Chiller pH tolerances vary depending on the materials present but generally, the recommended limits are 8.0 to 8.5 – incorrect pH levels outside this range may mean that not enough inhibitors are being used or that the glycol level is too concentrated.
Both these issues can cause corrosion within the system if not remedied and this can result in unscheduled downtime and expensive maintenance bills in the long run.
Check for debris in the sample
A simple test to check whether the chiller system is corroded, you should look for debris in the water samples. If the water is clear, this is a good indication that the system is working properly – cloudiness could signify that there’s already some system damage that needs immediate attention. Debris can cause blockages in crucial areas including the heat exchanger and this can rapidly start to impede the efficiency of the chiller.
Chemically flush the system
Immediately after installation, the chiller system should be chemically flushed to make sure the fluid doesn’t contain contaminants or any debris. Failure to do this can lead to damaged pipework and equipment and contaminated fluid. This procedure must take place whether it’s a temporary or a permanent installation.
Consult a professional
If you’re in any doubt about the efficiency of your chiller, consult an expert to take a thorough and accurate chilled water sample. Off-site laboratory analysis and regular water sampling procedures are often available as part of the manufacturer’s aftersales or servicing package.
It’s better to take preventative action early rather than be hit with a large repair bill when it’s too late.