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Chiller Maintenance Winter Checklist

In Winter chiller efficiency can take a hit. That needn’t be the case if you put in place a preventative maintenance schedule.

Read our ‘chiller maintenance winter checklist’ to prevent damage to your chillers and unnecessary increases in costs this winter.

1. Prevent freezing.

To prevent freezing in your chiller, it is essential to make sure the amount of glycol in your system is at the correct level. The glycol levels should be checked and maintained on a regular basis during winter. The correct amount you need in your system should be specified in the documentation issued with the unit.

Should you need it, glycol can be purchased from our trade counter, open Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.

It is also important to check for any damage and corrosion on the trace heating tape and any connections. This can help ensure there’s no risk of failure and the pipes freezing. When doing any electrical checks, this must be carried out by a qualified engineer using the correct equipment.

2. Clean coils

Coils can be put under strain during the winter months due to the likely build-up of dirt, mould, pollutants, and more. This build-up accumulates gradually, but over time forces your chiller to work harder, reducing airflow, cooling capacity and pressure. This results in a loss of performance and efficiency, and therefore increased energy consumption and running costs.

This can all be avoided by regular cleaning and maintenance of the coils. To help the coils remain clean, remove any waste, rubbish and general debris from the surrounding area of the chiller.

3. Other parts to clean and examine

– Condenser intake filter: air intake filter panels should be removed, examined and cleaned. If dirt builds up, it will have the same impact as a dirty condenser coil.
– Protective condenser fin/coil coating: after the fins and coil have been cleaned up, examine the fin coating. The condenser fins and coil may have been treated with an anti-corrosion protective spray, so check to ensure this isn’t damaged.
When cleaning the coils don’t use a hard or wire brush, a soft hand brush or purpose made narrow coil brush should be used to prevent damage to the coating.
– Panels and steelwork: wash down all panels and steel work and repair/treat when necessary. Ensure there isn’t any water accumulation around and under any supporting structure. Any dirt or mould left untreated or cleaned off will become permanent and may become corrosive.

4. Check for leaks.

Leaks lead to a lot of wasted energy and money, something every business is trying to avoid. Water leaks are generally obvious, and when noticed should be repaired immediately.

Refrigeration leaks are harder to detect and generally require a leak test by a qualified engineer. Get in touch if you need an engineer to carry out a leak test.

5. Examine insulation.

It’s important to ensure the thermal insulation is in good condition and properly fixed to the vessel/pipework – no one can afford to be losing heat in the winter months. It should be checked to make sure there are no condensation leaks, repair and replace the insulation wherever necessary.

6. Set for maximum efficiency

The setpoints and controls on chillers can be changed. When the setpoint changes with outdoor temperature, the efficiency of the chiller will be better. This is a simple step that can save you energy and money.

7. Check crankcase and evaporator heaters

Crankcase and evaporator heaters are fitted to most chillers. As temperatures are starting to change, these are very important, as they bring all of the fluids to operating temperature before starting. If they were damaged or not working properly, the chiller would have to work a lot harder during start-up which could potentially cause excess wear on the parts.
Crankcase and evaporator heaters should be checked, tested and replaced where appropriate.

For information or advice, contact us.