Air Cooled Chiller Superheat Maintenance

Vacuum pump and green compressor during air cooled chiller superheat maintenance

Air Cooled Chiller Superheat Maintenance

Air cooled chiller superheat maintenance at Maximus Chillers. During the visit, we found a high superheat condition with an Italian chiller. The customer had reported a low refrigerant charge trip out. The customer raised the order, so we got straight to work on the leak during the maintenance visit.

Pressure Temperature Relationship

Put simply, the higher the pressure, the higher the temperature of the refrigerant- this is consistent with Charles’s Law of Constant Volume. The refrigerant was found to be at a higher temperature above saturation (or boiling point) than usual, resulting in a high superheat condition. The chiller runs on R134a, which is a HFC refrigerant.

Leak Finding for the Maintenance of Air Cooled Chiller Superheat

Our engineer used his leak identification equipment to find the leak. After looking around the chiller he found the leak adjacent to the shell and tube evaporator, where 4 bolts hold the suction pipe on. This coupling is sealed with a gasket.

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Chiller Pump Down

Because of the location of the leak, our engineer decided to pump the chiller down to the condenser and valve the evaporator off. A lot less time consuming than setting up the recovery unit to decant the refrigerant.

Air Cooled Chiller Superheat Maintenance with Leak Repairs

He used his Allen key set to remove the suction pipe from the evaporator. On inspection, the paper gasket had deteriorated then been pushed out by the pressure in the system. All of our engineers carry an extensive range of commonly used parts and materials as standard in their cars. This is to reduce down time for the customer. He made up a new paper gasket, coated it with a special sealing compound, then re fitted the suction pipe to the evaporator. He then used his torque wrench on the Allen key bolts to the correct manufacturer’s recommendations. The system was then pressure tested and dehydrated as per standard industry guidelines.

Screw Compressor

The superheat value at the Bitzer screw compressor was found to be within normal operating values after additional refrigerant was added to the system. A further follow up leak test was carried out at a later date according to F-gas regulations. The paperwork being kept in the F-gas file in the chief engineer’s office.

To read more about air cooled chiller maintenance click the Tag at the top of the page.

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To read more about superheating on Wikipedia | Click Here


Chilling plant service showing yellow top recovery cylinder with gauge line and sight glass fitted

Chilling Plant Service

Our customer had been having high pressure service problems on his chilling plant.

Transducer Required Chilling Plant Service

The 4-20mA transducer needed service on the chilling plant. It was reading low by a long shot. Therefore, the PLC was not bringing the fans on as it should. The pressure in the high side of the system was getting up to 40 bar. This is because the refrigerant was R410a- it has a higher head pressure than other commonly used HFC refrigerants, such as, R407c. We ordered the replacement transducer which is fitted with a female fitting.

Chilling Plant Service Leaks

He concentrated his attention on the high side of the system to start with. Then, found a leak on a fitting, a leak on the pressure relief valve fitting and a leak on the liquid line near the drier. A sealant was used for leaks on the fittings- they were removed, cleaned and refitted. The leak on the liquid line was re sealed by removing the section of pipe, removing any remaining solder then the section of pipe was re made.

0161 370 7193

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Pressure Test

The remaining parts of the system were leak tested then the chilling plant was put on a pressure test to ensure the whole system was leak free. The pressure test was satisfactory and so the evacuation process could be started.

Evacuation Process 

Each of our engineers has a powerful vac pump to speed up the dehydration process on the chilling plant being serviced. This means that a deep vacuum can often be pulled on the same day instead of the usual overnight process. The nitrogen and other non condensables were removed quickly and the Torr gauge came down to the pressure where moisture was being removed. At this pressure, any moisture is forced to boil off around the system.

Recharging of the Chilling Plant Being Serviced

In the photo, the chilling plant is being recharged at the end of the service work. It is being recharged into the liquid side of the evaporator. All readings were okay when running the system and further leak tests were carried out at normal operating pressures.

Related Blogs:
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Read more about refrigerant reclamation by following this link to Wikipedia | Click Here


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