Water Chiller Repair

Looking down on 2 large water chillers under repair

Water Chiller Repair

A water chiller repair visit to rectify the non condensables which were discovered in a refrigerant system. This condition happens when a system is purged through with refrigerant. Carrying out this procedure does not remove the air from the complicated internal pipework. Read on to find out how this condition was diagnosed and then repaired...

Customer Satisfaction

Because we sorted out various other problems on the first day of the contract, this customer is really happy with Maximus Chillers. We have a 3 year Maintenance Contract with them too. We know that we are expanding in a recession because we always put the customer first. It is easy to win a contract, but to keep one means that we have to provide a service that is second to none. With a full complement of specialist equipment in each mobile workshop and engineers with years of industry experience- Maximus Chillers completes the picture.

Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures

That all gasses in a vessel will act as if they are on their own. The air in the system works its way round to the condenser where it sits on top of the liquid refrigerant and won’t condense. This is where the term non condensable comes from. Let’s say the condenser pressure should be 8 bar on a system running with R134a refrigerant. The air, acting as if it is on its own, in this instance, was raising the condenser pressure to 15 bar. This was 1 bar below the high pressure trip out. The higher pressure also causes an increase in electricity consumption.

False Reading of Subcooling

A 30°C false reading of subcooling was recorded due to the air in the refrigerant system

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Water Chiller Repair Procedure

When one of our engineers arrived on site to resolve the issue, he started by decanting the refrigerant from the system. Because the refrigerant was contaminated, he sent it back to the suppliers for recycling.

Pressure Test

No refrigerant leak was suspected, but our engineer carried out a nitrogen pressure test as a matter of course. This was passed, so now on to the next phase of the job…

Vacuum

This part of the job rectifies the previous poor repairs. A vacuum was pulled overnight of 2 Torr. This process removed the non condensables and also dehydrated the system.

Switch it On

Half of the new refrigerant was charged into the system, then the remaining refrigerant was charged into the liquid side of the evaporator during operation. This process was carried out until the superheat and subcooling values came to within standard industry guidelines.

System Monitoring

Now that a professional repair had been carried out, the condenser pressure was found to be running at 8 bar. The running amps on the compressor had lowered too.

Energy Monitoring during Water Chiller Repair

The power consumption of the various plant around the building is monitored on the customer’s computer in his facilities office. This is to help identify where electricity is being wasted. He has auditors who assess the efficiency of the building and he has targets to meet. He had already noticed the more efficient running of the chiller subsequent to the repairs. The end user also monitors the energy consumption and worked out the cost saving of the repair over time. The repair would soon pay for itself and then start to save the building money.

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Condenser Cleaning during Water Chiller Repair

The condenser on the other system of the same chiller had recently blocked due to grass pollen. Our engineer brushed it down and chemical cleaned it while on site at no extra cost to the customer.

Pressurisation Unit during Water Chiller Repair

The water system pressure was found to be lower than usual due to a fault that had been reported by the customer. The internal pumps of the pressurisation unit had failed. Therefore, our engineer made a manual top up of the water system to the same pressure as had been recorded on the previous maintenance Tick Sheets. The water system readings were then monitored and were found to be nominal.

Pump Sets

The chillers are fed by a pump set comprising of two pumps. The second pump is a redundant system (N+1) Both pumps are fed from inverter drives which lower the electricity consumption of the pumps. There had been an issue reported with the building management system (BMS) so Pump 1 was running in Hand. Our engineer changed the running pump over to Pump 2 which he also left running in Hand. This was to even out the running hours between the two pumps.

Paperwork Time

At the end of the job, our engineer completed a full report on his phone which was uploaded to Head Office in Droylsden, Manchester. He also filled out a Job Sheet with his findings which was duly signed by the customer.

 

Any Chiller- Any Problem- Any Part- Any Refrigerant- Anywhere- The MAXIMUS ADVANTAGE™

 

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New fan decks being lifted onto ammonia chiller during chiller repair service

Chiller Repair Service

An effective chiller repair service is what you need to get you up and running- fast! Here at Maximus Chillers, no job is too small, or too big. We have the capability to do anything from replacing contactors to centrifugal compressor remanufacturing- we are a one stop shop for all of your needs.

News Article No.26

Customer Orientated Chiller Repair Service

We also know the reason why we are an expanding company: you- the customer! Listening to your requirements goes a long way to help us achieve your objectives. We assign the same engineer to each site, so that you have the chance to build up a relationship and he gets to know your plant. Read on for an insight into some of the repairs that we carry out…

All new fan decks in place on large air cooled chiller during chiller repair service
Fast supply chain for retrofitting fans

Fan Deck Retrofitting Chiller Repair Service

The photos show the fans being lifted up, then when they are in position on a 200kw ammonia chiller. The fans had been failing one at a time until the chiller started experiencing high pressure trip outs. Action was not immediately taken because there were insufficient funds in the customer’s budget. When the customer was allocated a new budget, they gave us the Order to carry out the work. We decided to change all 8 fans.

Odd Size

The old fans were 790mm blade diameter instead of the standard 800mm. Manufacturers ask suppliers for odd sizes and specifications along with an OEM data plate in an attempt to monopolise the customer. A bonafide chiller company, however, is adept at making square pegs fit round holes. Not really a round hole though with this one- we just plonked our fan decks on top where the old ones had been fitted.

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Refrigerant Leak Chiller Repair Service

HFC refrigerants are becoming more expensive due to the HFC phase down. Therefore, as well as the environmental cost of a leaking chiller, there is the cost on your pocket too. At Maximus Chillers we find the root cause of the leak instead of just brazing it up. Some of these causes are:

Condenser Vibration

Some head pressure control systems bring the fans on, forwards and backwards in different stages. This causes the chiller frame to judder and vibration related leaks to occur on the condenser. The solution is easy- fit stand alone fan speed controllers.

Compressor Vibration

Some chillers are designed to fit into a small footprint of space. A good example of this is a particular model of laser chiller that had been designed to fit down the side of a laser cutter. That’s alright until, years after production, reoccurring leaks start happening around the compressor. There is no room to fit vibration eliminators, besides, they only work if they are fitted horizontally and vertically with the far end being clamped. Brazing the leak up just causes the already work hardened copper pipe to further anneal and become even more brittle- another leak will happen shortly there after. The solution is to remove the whole piece of pipework, go up a pipe size and replace it with new.

Component Failure

We find some components are flawed and are prone to leaking. An example of this are refrigerant hoses which are prone to rubbing through against the chiller. The solution is to fit anacondas or static copper pipework.

Reduced Service Costs

All of these measures and more are how we reduce the frequency of refrigerant leaks on your plant.

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Compressor Remanufacturing Chiller Repair Service

Weather you have scroll, reciprocating, screw or centrifugal compressors, we have the capability to get it out, rebuild it and get it back in again. With same day delivery of internal compressor components- we won’t keep you waiting around. Our expert team are adept at ensuring that your compressors are rebuilt with minimal run out and have clearances that are within tolerance. All bolts are touqued up to the correct setting too. The last part of the job is the compressor paint re spray to the same colour as before, or to our standard battleship grey.

Controls Retrofitting Chiller Repair Service

When a controller fails it is often found to be obsolete. Don’t worry because we can fit a new controller to any machine. For HFC chillers we fit Carel controllers, we fit Beijer Electronics to ammonia chillers and MCS controllers to centrifugal chillers.

Strip Out

The easiest way to do a controls retrofit is to start all over again from scratch. We remove the defunct controls from the panel and pull all the control wiring out too. We leave the three phase wiring in place, the contactors and the common neutral.

Rewire

One wire at a time, we rewire the chiller. All of the analogue inputs are wired in along with the digital inputs. Then, the outputs are wired to the contactors and relays. The transformers in the panel are often reused to get the various voltages that are required for the new controller, contactor coils and relay coils.

Commissioning

The new controllers come pre set with default parameters so only minor adjustments are needed to get the chiller to settle down. We then spend the rest of the day monitoring the chiller so as to watch it running in the various stages of loading and under different running conditions.

Chiller Repair Service that is Second to None

The above examples are just an insight into our extensive range of capabilities in the repairs of your plant. Basically- if you have a problem- then we have a solution. This is just part of what we call the MAXIMUS ADVANTAGE™ Any Chiller- Any Problem- Any Part- Any Refrigerant- Anywhere. With customers around the world in places like Saudi Arabia, Spain and the United States of Amarica we continue to exceed the expectations of our customers. We have a network of engineers around the UK too, so we are never farer than a couple of hours away. For the best service, the choice is clear- Maximus Chillers!

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Dirty tubes on the left and clean tubes on the right after chiller condenser tube cleaning

Chiller Condenser Tube Cleaning

A nice job for our overseas engineer: to carry out chiller condenser tube cleaning in Cadiz, Spain. We have The Spanish Office near Malaga with a manager and an engineer out in the field- so our Spanish engineer assisted our overseas engineer.

Centrifugal Chiller Condenser Tube Cleaning

The factory has 4x water cooled centrifugal chillers with a combined cooling capacity of 8 MW. The chillers cool down a process involved with the production of an industrial chemical.

High Condenser Pressure

When we looked through our Tick Sheets we could see a gradual deterioration of the high side readings over a period of time. This showed us that an overhaul needed to be carried out on the condensers.

Water Tower Contaminants

We think that the fouling was due to contaminants that were carried in the air from around the factory. Each condenser has a water tower which is open to atmosphere. The condenser cooling water enters the cooling tower at the top. It runs down along plastic slats which are stacked on top of each other. In the opposite direction, air is blown up using large blowers. The air flow cools down the water, which then returns to the condenser. This process is how the contaminants from the air end up in the water.

N+1 Redundancy

This is an algebraic way of saying that there is twice as much cooling as is needed. Where N is an amount of something and +1 means another one. Redundancy is needed when a process is critical. In this instance, the factory would grind to a halt if the chillers went down. Therefore, only two of the 4 chillers run at any one time.

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Sequencer

A sequencer is available to switch between the chillers when they go into fault and to balance the compressor run hours. We decided to start work on Chiller 1 as this was a system in standby. The next chiller in standby was Chiller 2. After this chiller had been overhauled, we switched Chiller 3 off which brought Chiller 1 on. Then, when we isolated Chiller 4, the sequencer brought Chiller 3 on. Before leaving site, we temporarily lowered the setpoint for all 4 chillers to watch the sequencer bring all of the chillers on together. We then put the set point back to its usual setting, whereby Chillers 1 and 2 remained running.

Shipping for Chiller Condenser Tube Cleaning

We keep tube cleaning equipment in our stores in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia which we ship to our Middle East customers. We also have tube cleaning equipment in our stores at Head Office in Manchester, UK. We use a pallet shipping company based in Rochdale to ship parts, materials and equipment overseas. Therefore, we packed all of the necessary equipment on to a pallet, then shipped it to Cadiz. For the consumables used on the job, we have suppliers in Spain, but we usually prefer to ship these smaller things from the UK along with the equipment. This is because our engineers are more used to the brands and types of consumables that we get from our UK suppliers.

RAMS for Chiller Condenser Tube Cleaning

All of our paperwork, Tick Sheets and Risk Assessment Method Statements have been professionally translated into Spanish. Therefore, our Spanish engineer carried out a site survey to assess the risks, he then sent a report to Head Office. We decided upon the appropriate measures to control the risks, then sent the RAMS to site prior to the visit.

Permit to Work for Chiller Condenser Tube Cleaning

The onsite health and safety officer looked at our RAMS and decided how to compose his Permit to Work. Then, both of our engineers signed it at the start and at completion of the job.

Walk Round before Chiller Condenser Tube Cleaning

On completion of the paperwork, our engineers, the onsite health and safety officer and an onsite engineer had a walk round to assess the job. This was to make sure that all was okay to carry out the tube cleaning.

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Chiller Condenser Tube Cleaning Operation

Each of the 4 chillers was worked on in turn in the order as described above.

Valve Configuration

Each condenser was valved off with the configuration of the pipework changed. This was to ensure that the flow rates were correct for all 4 of the chillers. Otherwise, a catastrophic failure of the chillers could occur.

Drain Down

The condensers were then drained down and vented using a selection of fittings that were shipped out with our equipment.

End Plates

Our engineers unbolted the end plates and lifted them to the side using specialist lifting equipment.

Tube Cleaning

In Spain they just use a 220v supply for electrical equipment instead of the 110v equipment that we commonly use in the UK. As our equipment is 110v, we shipped our transformer on the pallet. Once the equipment was set up- we carried out the cleaning of each condenser tube according to standard industry guidelines.

Rebuild

The seal on the end plates is prone to leak after breaking into the system so we shipped replacements from Head Office. Our engineers found it a fiddly job as the new seals had been folded up in a different position in the packet. This meant that they kept jumping out of the grooves. When the seals eventually remained in the grooves, the end plates were bolted into position according to the correct torque setting.

Air Purge and Valve Configuration

The air was purged from the shell of the condensers and the valve configuration was returned to the original position.

Test Operation

Each of the 4 chillers was run tested in turn and the system readings were recorded on our paperwork. A dramatic increase in performance was recorded on each system. The refrigerant pressures and temperatures were a lot better and the coefficient of performance was markedly higher. This means a lower carbon footprint and lower electricity costs.

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Chiller maintenance service Tick Sheets showing readings

Chiller Maintenance Service

Maximus Chillers have just carried out our quarterly chiller maintenance service at a factory in the North West. We look after 6MW of cooling across 12 industrial process chillers. This was a minor visit, so no need for oil changes and checking the head gear on the reciprocating compressors. Instead, we took oil samples which we analysed in our laboratory. Read on for an insight into our engineer’s findings on each of the chillers…

News Article No.25

Chiller 1 Maintenance Service

System 1 has a compressor that had blown all three of the 200 amp centred tag fuses. On inspection with a multimeter, our engineer found a dead short to earth on the internal electric motor. We have submitted a Quote for the lift and shift, remanufacturing at our facility, then the lift back in. Several oil changes will then be carried out at planned intervals.

Chiller 2

More or less textbook readings were taken and no problems to report.

Chiller 3 Maintenance Service

Slightly poor readings were taken on the low side of all 4 of the systems. This issue has now been flagged in our system for monitoring. If it deteriorates, we will submit a Quote to take the evaporator end plates off and carry out a chiller tube cleaning operation.

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Chiller 4 Maintenance Service

Compressor 3 has had an issue that has been developing over a period of time. Occasionally, it throws the breaker, then when the electrical readings are taken- they all check out okay. The contactor condition had been inspected, the wiring and motor connectors had all been tightened up too. Shortly before the visit, our customer rang to say “Chiller 4 has gone for a Burton!” When we attended the call out, we found the contactor had blown against the inside of the panel. We have submitted a Quotation for the replacement.

Chiller 5

System 2 had a flashing sight glass in some conditions, but the other fridge readings were okay.

Chiller 6

This system had low side readings similar to Chiller 3. Again, they were not deemed to be an issue yet, but if we decide to do a chiller tube cleaning operation, we will prepare one Quote for both chillers.

Chiller 7

No problems to report.

Chiller 8

Only a short run was available due to the process load conditions, but no problems were found by our engineer.

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Chiller 9 Maintenance Service

All the way through to chiller 9 and the fault finding was easy, now this: external interlock alarm. When our engineer logged the issue with our Technical Support Desk using our real time app on his phone, he stated that to his knowledge, there were no external interlocks.

Fan Motors

Therefore, he decided to check the fan motor overload switches. All 5 fans on each system are linked together in series, so he looked for the volt feedback in the panel for System 1 and System 2- this checked out okay.

External Switch

Therefore, he decided to look for an external switch as the fault suggests. He walked along the gantry and down into the plant room below the chillers...

Pump Set Panel

There is a panel that controls the chilled water pump sets. No wire from the chiller was found to go into this panel.

Remote Monitoring Panel

This is a display that conveys the running condition of the chiller down to the plant room below. It saves a process engineer from having to go up the stairs and onto the chiller gantry. This panel is indeed connected to the chiller with electrical wiring. However, no switch was found that could have caused this fault.

Buffer Vessel

A 10,000 ltr buffer vessel is also located in the plant room. As it is open to atmosphere, our engineer looked for a low level switch which may have tripped- no switch was found.

Program Settings

Now that anything external to the chiller had been eliminated, our engineer decided that the fault must indeed be coming from inside the machine. Because the fan overloads had checked out okay, he decided to have a look at the program settings...

Extensive Library

We have an extensive library of manuals and passwords for all chillers. We also have a network of engineers around the country- one of them will know someone who will has a manual or password. When our engineer contacted our Technical Support Desk real time through his app- the manual and passwords were sent to his phone. He found the menu level and parameter for external interlocks which was found to be wrong. To our knowledge, our customer does not have the password for this chiller. The process had been off for some time due to system upgrades with contractors on site doing other work. They could have changed the setting for some reason. We don’t know- but at least the setting was corrected and the chiller came out of fault.

Chiller 10

This chiller uses belts to drive the fans. On inspection, several of them were found to be in poor condition or broken off. We have just replenished the stock of spare fan belts on site, so our engineer replaced them, then tested each fan motor in turn.

Chiller 11

This is the same make and model as Chiller 10. The same issue was found and then rectified.

Chiller 12 Maintenance Service

This chiller is in a part of the factory where the environment is very dusty. Therefore, a blocked condenser and high pressure cut outs are common place. The process engineers are aware of this issue, so they keep on top of the maintenance of the condenser. If the condenser does deteriorate- they know how to reset the fault. No problems were found with this machine.

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Far end plate removed to show the tubes in the shell of a condenser

Chiller Tube Cleaning Service

Our chiller tube cleaning service will improve the efficiency of your plant by up to 30% This is because the dirt on your copper tubes causes thermal insulation which prevents heat transfer. The chiller will therefore load up and stay on longer to achieve the same amount of cooling. Eventually, you will start seeing error messages such as discharge limiting and then a high pressure cut out. Loss of production, or staff walking out of a hot building can easily be prevented through our services…

News Article No.24

Chiller Condenser Tube Cleaning Service

We attended site to carry out the full overhaul of 4 chiller condensers for a customer of ours in Manchester. Our engineer signed in and completed the Permit to Work which was issued by the onsite maintenance engineer.

Risk Assessment Method Statement

The necessary Risk Assessment Method Statement was emailed in PDF format in advance. Our engineer carried out a short site survey of the work location to check if there were any additional risks that were not included in the RAMS. All was okay, but we have an amendments section if there were any additional risks.

Chiller Isolation

Chiller 2 was found to be in standby, so our engineer decided to start with that chiller. The grey toggle switch was turned from the 1 position to the 0 position. He then down powered the control panel. Having done this, he reconfigured the water system butterfly valves to prevent potential failure of the other condensers. Then, he valved off the Water In and Water Out butterfly valves and drained down the condenser.

Unbolt the End Plate

The bolts were removed and the end plate was moved to the side.

Inspection

The photo shows the condenser tubes being inspected. The bottom half of the tubes flow into the end plate and the top half of the tubes return to the other end. You can see red foreign objects blocking the tubes and lowering efficiency.

Equipment for Chiller Tube Cleaning Service

The loose objects were easily removed, but the real difficulty was removing the dirt from the inside of the tubes. We have state of the art tube cleaning equipment which is suitable for normal and internally enhanced tubes. We worked on each tube in turn until the dirt was removed, then we rinsed them all out.

Reassembly

The end plate seal was replaced with our specialist seal kit which we keep on the shelf in our stores. This replacement was required to ensure there would be no leaks when full system pressure was reintroduced into the condenser. Then, the end plate bolts were tightened up to the correct torque setting.

Testing

The final step was to reconfigure the water system butterfly valves ready for the next system. This done, the Water In and Water Out valves were opened and the condenser was purged of air. The chiller was started up and dramatically improved system readings were recorded. It was calculated that this chiller alone was now consuming 23% less electricity than before the job.

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Shell & Tube Chiller Condenser Cleaning Service

Midde East

We have a store in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for our shell and tube chiller condenser cleaning equipment which we use for our customers in the Middle East. We arrange the shipping from Jeddah to our customers who are mainly in Riyadh, The United Arab Emirates and Oman. We also have some customers in Bahrain and Qatar.

Saudi Arabia

The visit to Saudi requires our overseas engineer to have had 3 Covid jabs which are recorded on his NHS Pass. The QR code expires, so it needs to be updated shortly before the trip. Then, the NHS pass has to be uploaded onto the Muqeem Portal. This is a Saudi verification portal to check if an engineer is vaccinated. Having done this, the Tawakkalna app is enabled in his phone which allows entry to public buildings and the factory he will be attending. To obtain the VISA, our site contact has to invite our engineer to the Kingdom as a guest. The VISA process is quite complicated, so we use a company in London to guide us through the process from start to finish.

Site Assistance

This kind of work is a lot easier with a second man to assist. When working in the Middle East, the factory or facility provides us with one of their onsite engineers to help with the manual handling. It is a lot quicker with another engineer to help set up and then stow away the equipment.

United Kingdom

In the UK, we keep our tube cleaning equipment at Head Office. Prior to a site visit, we palletise, then ship the equipment to the customer’s location. We charge the same price to all of our customers anywhere in the UK. This is because we have a network of engineers around the country who are no more than 2 hours travel time to your location. We have a lot of customers in the North West of England, the West Midlands and London. We also have customers in out of the way places, such as, Aberystwyth.

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Chiller Evaporator Tube Cleaning Service

The evaporator of a chiller is less often fouled as the chilled water system is not exposed to a water tower. Therefore, we carry out evaporator cleaning less frequently. We carry out an extensive set of tests during the maintenance to assess the efficiency of chiller evaporators. When the readings are poor, we recommend our tube cleaning service. The process is exactly the same as described above. Often, our customers ask us to clean both heat exchangers on a chiller as this reduces the cost of cleaning them separately at different times.

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Ammonia warning sign and yellow light flashing during chiller call out

Chiller Call Out

Chiller call out is the essence of what a company like Maximus Chillers is all about. It is a time when our engineers come into their own. Read on to see examples of how we do it…

News Article No.22

Chiller Call Out for Ammonia Leak Alarm

At first sight this appears to be a dangerous situation as ammonia is very harmful to human health. This is because of its corrosive and toxic characteristics. Each of our engineers carries breathing apparatus and full length ammonia PPE should it be required.

Location Assessment

The work location in the photo is assessed using an NH3 detector. This is sensitive enough to detect lower than the 35 parts per million short term exposure limit. The detector is fitted to the work wear of our engineers whilst near to the plant. When the alarm does not sound and there is no smell of ammonia- it is safe to proceed.

Electrical Fault

Usually this alarm is due to a controls issue rather than a leak. There are various reasons:

UPS and Alarm System Malfunctions

Chiller panels for this kind of plant have a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) This is a battery which is charged by the mains. When a power failure occurs, the charge in the battery supplies 240v to the ammonia alarm. This means that the chiller continues to be protected. When malfunctions occur to the UPS or the alarm system, the yellow warning light and siren is activated which needs to be manually reset.

Sensor Failure

The sensors have to be calibrated at regular intervals. The base setting of 0 parts per million has to be set and then the trip outs of 35 and 25 parts per million. These sensors can be knocked out of calibration by small leaks over a long period of time, or they can malfunction internally. If you require the service of your leak alarm- email our Technical Support Desk and will arrange a site visit.

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Chiller Call Out for BMS Failure

Chillers can get blamed for everything as the customer can notice a building that is getting warm and then call us out. An example of this is when a new customer of ours signed up to a maintenance contract after a long period of neglect. They did so because the office workers in a large office block had started to leave their desks and walk out of the building.

Investigation

When our engineer attended site, he found various faults with a row of four, 500 kW chillers on the roof. There was found to be N+1 redundancy built in, so he considered there to be sufficient cooling available to satisfy demand.

No Run Signal

Despite there being available load, the chillers were not being given the run signal from the BMS. The toggle switches on the BMS panel did not give the run signal to the chillers when they were put into Hand. This was found to be because of other issues with the poorly maintained panel.

Link Out

Our engineer therefore decided to link out each of the chillers in their respective panels. He consulted the wiring diagram and made the modifications accordingly. He then entered the password for that particular chiller and adjusted the program settings. These changes made the chillers stand alone and not reliant on the BMS run signal.

Chiller Call Out for Pump Sets

The pump sets were also found to be in poor condition. There were found to be failed pumps, blown contactors and defunct controls. The good news was that by changing components in the panel, he managed to get at least one of each pair of pumps going for the various water systems used around the building.

Pressurisation Unit

This is a machine with an internal pump and a pressure switch which is used to maintain the pressure of the water system. Both the run and the standby pumps were found to have failed with other component failure in the unit as well. Our engineer decided to manually fill the water system with mains water to build up the pressure.

Get it Away

Having done all this, our engineer got the chillers away and watched the water temperature come down from 24°C to 6°C. As the chiller systems came down to set point, they unloaded to match the demand from the building.

Return to Work

The office staff started to return into the building and resumed work at their desks.

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Fault Finding during Chiller Call Out

Now that the pressure was off, our engineer carried out the necessary fault finding to the systems that had failed:

 Refrigerant Leaks

Three of the systems were found to be locked out with low pressure alarms. He assessed the quantity of recovery cylinders and refrigerant that was required. Then, he submitted a report to Head Office for a return visit to carry out the repairs.

Blocked Condensers

Some of the systems were found to have blocked condensers. The call out was during the summer when a high pressure condition was more likely to occur. A build up of contaminants had reduced air flow and caused the high pressure switches to be activated. We arranged a site visit with a special cleaning agent to remove the contaminants and restore the air flow through the condenser fins.

Chiller Call Out for Flow Switches

These are a switch used to detect water flow and two of them were found to have had failed. There are various types for different applications. We select a suitable flow switch and then make the necessary adjustments to the internal control screws. This ensures that the switch will function correctly when problems with the water system occur. 

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Air Cooled Chiller Condenser Testing

Chiller Breakdown

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Red chiller with lantern illuminating the internal components showing test equipment for checking chiller efficiency

Improve Chiller Efficiency

In this article we will be looking at some basic ways to improve chiller efficiency...

News Article No.18

Improve Chiller Efficiency with a Clean Condenser

When an air cooled condenser becomes blocked, there is a reduction in air flow through it. This causes a high pressure condition to exist. The compressor pulls more amps to achieve the same mass flow rate of refrigerant. Also, more fans come on to try and reduce the excessive pressure. The on site maintenance team usually brush down the condensers at regular intervals. However, some of the contaminants require specialist cleaning equipment to be used by our engineers during the scheduled maintenance visits. We also carry a set of fin alignment tools to ensure that the air flow is kept at its optimum condition.

Improve Chiller Efficiency by Removing Evaporator Thermal Insulation 

Contaminants circulating in the water system accumulate on the surface of the tubes in the evaporator. This thermal insulation prevents the absorption of latent heat into the chiller refrigerant system. Because the water is not being chilled efficiently, the compressor stays on longer to try to achieve set point. When this condition is allowed to deteriorate, the compressor never goes off and the chilled water temperature rises to a point where little effect is being made to the cooling of buildings or the cooling of an industrial process. We strip down the heat exchanger and use specialist cleaning equipment to repair the problem.

Blocked Strainer

This problem is particularly prevalent on chillers supplying chilled water to a heavy industrial process. The strainer is essential to prevent the contaminants continuing to the evaporator and causing the above mentioned thermal insulation. This is usually one of the periodic checks of the on site engineers as part of their planned preventative maintenance schedule. Our engineers also check the strainer on each maintenance visit.

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Improve Chiller Efficiency with Correct Refrigerant Charge

In the photo, the superheat and subcooling values are being worked out by one of our engineers. This is how we determine a refrigerant shortage. Less latent heat is being absorbed into the chiller refrigerant and so a lot of electricity is being used with little effect to the chilling of the water.

Refrigerant Leak Repairs

The remaining refrigerant is decanted from the system using a pump out unit and recovery cylinders. We then pressure leak test the entire system using nitrogen. After locating the leaks, we repair them using oxy-acetylene. The system is then pressure tested according to industry guidelines to ensure its integrity. Then, the dehydration process is carried out by pulling the system down to a near vacuum. This also has the effect of removing non condensables from the system, such as, air and nitrogen. We then recharge the system with refrigerant, a little at a time, until the superheat and subcooling readings come to within standard industry guidelines. This saves a considerable amount of electricity used for the running of the plant.

F-gas Register

Our leak tests and follow up leak tests are recorded in your F-gas register so that when an external auditor arrives on site, you can show that you are maintaining your plant according to the current regulations.

Blocked Pump Fan

On smaller process chillers, the water system pump is located inside the chiller. Over time, the pump cooling fan inlet becomes blocked causing a reduced air flow across the external cooling fins on the pump. This causes the pump to run hotter and so pulling more amps. The bearing life of the pump is also reduced because of its inefficient operation. As well as the increased cost of electricity, expensive pump replacement is needed at more frequent intervals. Pump efficiency and functionality checks are just some of the procedures that we carry out during a maintenance visit.

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Waste of Money

When you look at these examples of inefficiently running chillers, it is easy to see that there is a significant waste of electricity and the untimely replacement of parts. The above are just a few examples of some of the more basic reasons for a poorly running chiller.

Maintenance Visits Improve Chiller Efficiency

We carry out an extensive list of other checks and procedures during each maintenance visit. We have developed a detailed Tick Sheet to ensure that our engineers do not forget any of the adjustments that can be made.

Mobile Workshop

We also carry an extensive selection of commonly used parts and materials in each company car. This means that we can often improve a chiller’s performance during a visit with no extra cost.

Kilowatt Hour Meters

Our maintenance saves money! With new customers who have poorly maintained chillers, we have the option of fitting kilowatt hour meters. We record the amount of electricity being used at the start of the contract. Then, we carry out our list of procedures and adjustments to improve the running of your chillers. This is a visual way for our customers to see just how much money they are saving. When this is compared to the cost of a maintenance contract, they can see how worthwhile it is having Maximus Chillers on site.

Scheduled Chiller Maintenance

Send us an asset list of your chillers and we will put together a maintenance schedule to keep your chillers running in the best condition. We will recommend how many visits are required each year and what needs to take place on each visit. A plan will be put together regarding the procedures that your onsite engineers can carry out in between visits.

Technical Support Desk

To keep your costs down, we offer a free Technical Support Desk to all of our contract customers. Manuals and passwords can be sent in PDF format direct to your computer. To further assist, we offer real time technical support using face time on your phone. This is because it is often a lot easier to show our technical engineer a chiller that is running poorly, rather than to explain it.

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Chiller Condenser Tube Cleaning

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Read more about how to improve chiller efficiency on The Engineering Mindset


Man commissioning a chiller in Saudi wearing head gear

Saudi Chiller Commissioning

We arranged the trip to carry out Saudi chiller commissioning for our Company Director and overseas engineer Dave Thompson. 2x 500kw air cooled chillers had been positioned at high level on a gantry. These were at the back of a newly constructed building at a factory in Jeddah. The factory produces plastic water pipes used for buildings and industry. Their own pipework, produced onsite, was used for the water systems of the plant in this article.

Water System Check Valves

There are two underground water system reservoirs for the plant. A check valve is fitted below the water line on the inlet pipe feeding all of the pumps. This ensures that water is available to the pumps on start up, despite the reservoirs being below the pumps.

Saudi Chiller Commissioning of Chiller Pump Set

The chiller pump set sucks water from the underground chiller reservoir. It then discharges the water through a plate heat exchanger, then it flows up to the chillers. The chilled water then returns 5°C cooler back to the underground chiller reservoir.

Saudi Chiller Commissioning of PHE Pump Set

Another pump set sucks from the separate underground process reservoir and discharges through the other side of the above mentioned plate heat exchanger. The water is chilled by around 5°C which can be adjusted with a pressure regulating valve on the outlet of the PHE. This chilled water then returns to the underground process reservoir.

Saudi Chiller Commissioning of Process Pump Set

A third pump set also sucks from the above mentioned underground process reservoir. It then discharges up to a ring main which goes along the top of 6 lines. Then, it drains down into plastic extrusion moulding machines to cool the newly formed plastic pipe. It does this at just the right rate to prevent bending and distortion. After this, the chilled water drains at gravity pressure back into the underground process reservoir.

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Control Panels for Pump Inverters

All of the pumps run on inverter drives which saves a significant amount of electricity. These drives are located in three panels- one for each pump set. A spare inverter is available in each panel for easy switch over in the event of failure. A touch screen pump control display is fitted to each panel. Each display is wired into a PLC.

Touch Screen Central Control

The PLCs in each panel are in turn wired into a Schneider Electric touch screen central control interface. This is located on the front of the middle panel. All of the analogue sensor and transducer inputs are wired into this interface from around the plant. The underground process reservoir temperature sensor was found to be reading 4°C high, so an offset was put into the program. The digital outputs go from here to the various components around the plant.

3 Way Valve

One of these components is a 3 way valve on the plate heat exchanger. This valve regulates the percentage flow of water through the PHE, relative to the percentage of bypass to the chillers. In high load conditions, 100% of water is pumped through the PHE. With no load, 0% of water goes through the PHE with full bypass to the chillers. In a low load condition, the valve modulates at between 0% and 100%. All of these scenarios achieve a close control at 20°C in the underground process reservoir.

Saudi Chiller Commissioning of Filtration Systems

Chiller Evaporators

The chiller evaporators are protected by a ‘y’ strainer on each inlet.

PHE Chiller Side

The plate heat exchanger also keeps contaminants from the process reaching the evaporators of the chillers. This prevents the premature failure of the evaporators and also prevents heat exchange issues due to thermal insulation.

PHE and Process Bollfilter

Both of these water systems go through a Bollfilter back flush system. As the difference in pressure between filter inlet and outlet reaches a predetermined level, the back flushing operation is initiated with a green light being illuminated. This feature prevents the need to manually clean the filter at scheduled intervals. During the visit, however, these filters were overwhelmed by the residue left in the pipes and a narrow 100 micron filter size. The maximum difference in pressure was exceeded and the filtration system yellow warning light became illuminated. The filters were stripped down, cleaned and reassembled.

‘Y’ Strainer in Parallel

The onsite engineer who had assisted in designing the system had the foresight to build a second filter into the water system. This ‘y’ strainer runs in parallel to the above Bollfilter and ensures seamless operation of the factory in the event of a blocked Bollfilter.

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Start Up during Saudi Chiller Commissioning

On first start up of the chillers, they were both found to be tripping on high pressure and not loading up. The chillers run on R134a which is a low pressure refrigerant in the UK. In Saudi Arabia, however, the ambient is around 40°C. This translates to an operating pressure of between 15 bar and 18 bar depending on loading and water temperature.

Loading Solenoids

Unloader switches are available on each system. These feed back to the PLC, from here the program energises the loading solenoids. They had been set to 14 bar which was the cause of the unloading issue. Our overseas engineer set the switches to 19 bar.

High Pressure Switches

He then changed the high pressure cut outs from 15 bar to 20 bar.

PRVs Checked during Saudi Chiller Commissioning

The pressure relief valves vent at 23 bar which is enough of a difference in pressure from the high pressure cut out.

Low Load Trips

Because only one line was running at the time of commissioning, one of the chillers was found to have tripped on a low temperature related trip. This fault had occurred the following morning when the water temperature had become too low due to the minimum run time of the compressors. The freeze up set point was also found to be too high at 7°C. Our overseas engineer entered a password into the front end of each chiller and modified the parameters to prevent this fault re occurring.

Full Load Testing

The water system temperature was allowed to build up to 30°C when production in the factory was offline. Then, the chillers were ran in anger until set point was achieved. An efficient superheat value of 3°C was recorded on all of the systems. This is due to electronic expansion valves being fitted. When the factory came back online, the systems were found to be off cycling or unloading to match the load.

Chiller Redundancy

Redundancy has been considered in the capacity of the chillers to allow for future factory expansion and systems being offline during repairs.

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Two large air cooled chillers during condenser testing

Air Cooled Chiller Condenser Testing

We at Maximus Chillers have recently carried out air cooled chiller condenser testing at a new 3 year maintenance contract in the North West. The last of 4 systems had gone down on the morning that we first attended site. 1.2 MW of cooling had been lost which resulted in the water system temperature rising to 31°C. These chillers are used to cool an office block, so we wanted to get some of the systems up and running as quickly as possible…

News Article No.16

Air Cooled Chiller Condenser 1 Testing

One of the systems was disabled due to a condenser fan failure. 1 of 5 fans was found to be seized and disconnected. Fan speeds have sufficient redundancy built in to allow for a high ambient and a partially blocked condenser. There was a high ambient condition, but the condenser was found to be clean. Therefore, our engineer decided to run test the system and monitor the condenser pressure…

Fan Speed Transformer

3 fan speeds available on this chiller- low, medium and high. The fan speeds are achieved using a transformer which makes a different voltage for each fan speed. This is quite a good way of controlling the condenser pressure, as all of the fans run smoothly together. The program looks at the condenser pressure using a transducer, then selects the required fan speed.

Medium Fan Speed

As expected, the chiller program selected the medium fan speed. This provided the required saturation pressure in the condenser and so adequately subcooling the refrigerant.

Compressor Protection

All of the system pressures and temperatures were nominal, so the compressor was protected. There was a good oil return and sufficient cooling to the suction housing from the refrigerant. This cooling ensured that the internal motor windings did not overheat.

Monitoring

Having got this system away- our engineer monitored the water system temperature which started to come down. More cooling was required, however, to get the water system temperature down to set point…

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Air Cooled Chiller Condenser 2 Testing

Another system had been the only system running for some time.

Blocked Condenser

Grass pollination had caused a covering of organic material to accumulate on the condenser. The increased head pressure had caused the high pressure switch to trip. This type of material was easy for our apprentice to remove, as it clumped together when brushed.

HP Reset

The high pressure switch was reset and the system was run tested. It did not trip again, but a high pressure condition still persisted in the condenser.

Chemical Clean

Therefore, our engineer decided to carry out a chemical clean. After the whole of the ‘v’ type condenser was cleaned- the pressure came down a little.

Non Condensables

This system stayed running, but in the high fan speed. On the upcoming maintenance visit, a refrigerant diagnosis will be carried out to assess whether there are non condensables in the system. If this is the case, a false reading of subcooling will be recorded, as the non condensables throw out the calculation.

Cool Building

With 2 systems now running, the water system got down to set point. Our customer was really happy as the situation had gone from: office workers walking out of the building- to a cool building before 10 o’ clock on the first day of the contract.

Air Cooled Chiller Condenser 3 Testing

The third system had been on pressure test for the past 2 months with the condenser valved off. There was still pressure in the system, but our engineer decided to confirm the pressure test for himself. He did this by leaving it on pressure while having a drive round the suppliers. Several hours later, the pressure had remained constant, so he was able to start the evacuation process. After this was completed, the system was recharged and run tested. Now there were 3 systems up and running.

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Air Cooled Chiller Condenser PRV Testing

The pressure relief valves on the condensers have recently been changed. Industry guidelines state that they should be tested or replaced every 5 years. There is no guarantee that the PRVs will re seal satisfactorily after they have been tested. Therefore, in practice they are usually replaced. We inspected the date of the replacement, the burst pressure, the associated certification and paperwork- all was found to be satisfactory.

Air Cooled Chiller Condenser 4 Testing

The fourth system has a leak on the condenser with some refrigerant remaining in the system. This refrigerant will need to be decanted on a subsequent visit using a pump out unit and a recovery cylinder.

F-gas Leak Testing

The entire system will be pressure leak tested to identify the location of all leaks. Then, the leaks will be repaired using oxy-acetylene. After this, the system will be pressure tested to ensure its integrity.

Dehydration

Then, the dehydration process will be carried out. The achievable pressure of the vacuum pump will be tested and recorded. Evacuation will be carried out until this recorded pressure is achieved. Our engineers are issued with a powerful 10 cfm vacuum pump to speed up this process. This system will then be recharged and its operation tested.

Air Cooled Chiller Condenser Testing and Calibration

One of many tests that we will carry out on the upcoming maintenance visit is condenser transducer calibration. Transducer readings are not linear, so care will be taken to achieve an accurate calibration. A password will be entered into the controller to gain access to the required menu. Then, each of the transducers will be adjusted. The result of this means that accurate diagnosis can be carried out and the correct subcooling readings can be recorded.

The above is just part of the service that we provide to you- the customer! Having the capability to do anything and to extend the life of your chillers is part of what we call the MAXIMUS ADVANTAGE™ Any Chiller- Any Problem- Any Part- Any Refrigerant- Anywhere.

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Large chiller, refrigerant cylinder, brazing equipment and tools during chiller service company visit

Chiller Service Company Visit

A typical rainy day in the North West, perfect for a chiller service company visit.

News Article No.11

Electrical Faults during Chiller Service Company Visit

This was a return visit to do a refrigerant leak, but the customer alerted our engineer’s attention to an electrical fault. System 2 was found to be locked out in fault on the recent maintenance visit, but now System 1 was being held off too. The fault message on the controller was High Pressure. The controller sends a 240v fault feedback signal, through the high pressure switch which returns to the controller. Our engineer had a look at the wiring diagram to find the number on the terminal strip and checked it out with his multimeter. As he suspected, there were volts going out, but not coming back. He removed the side panel for system 1 and found the switch on the discharge pipe. It was the type that has a red button on the top. When he pressed it, there was a click and volts returned to the controller.

Alarm Reset during Chiller Company Service Visit

He interrogated the Carel controller and followed the reset procedure. The controls went through a timer and then the start sequence was initiated.

Run Testing during Chiller Company Service Visit

After the first scroll compressor started, the head pressure started to build up, but the condenser fans did not start. The on board high pressure gauge carried on rising until the high pressure switch was tripped again.

Head Pressure Control

A transducer on the discharge is used by the controller to sense the pressure in the condenser. When our engineer looked for this in the controller, it was found to be reading wrong by a considerable amount. There is a facility to enter a password and recalibrate the transducer, but this only allows for a small adjustment.

Test Instrument

Our engineers carry various kinds of test instruments which can be used to give a temporary false reading to the controller. This gets the customer up and running and back in production whilst a new transducer is ordered and sent to site.

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Chiller Company Service Low Pressure Visit

Now on with the job to resolve the low pressure issue with the chiller.

Refrigerant Pump Out

Our engineer lifted the liquid line solenoid valve and decanted the remaining refrigerant into a vessel using his recovery unit. He only got out 7kg of a charge of 36kg.

Leak Testing during Chiller Company Service Visit

We use nitrogen for the leak testing as it is an inert gas that will not cause problems with the refrigerant system. There was a sign of the leak in between the steel frame at the middle of the condenser and the condenser tubes. We always strip the chiller down and leak test the entire system though. This is so that the job does not end up going round in circles. At first the leak could not be found, so the pressure was built up in stages, taking into account industry recommended guidelines for a chiller. Sure enough the leak was where it was suspected to be. The occurrence of this kind of leak can be reduced with the use of vibration eliminators.

Brazing during Chiller Company Service Visit

The location of the leak was reported to the maintenance engineer onsite and a hot work permit obtained. The equipment we use is tested at regular intervals to be safe and in good working order. A half hour fire watch was stipulated in the permit, along with the removal of combustible materials from the work location. Correct PPE being donned, he brazed the leak to the required industry standards.

F-gas Pressure Test

A chiller has a different pressure test procedure to other systems, so our engineer built the pressure up according to industry standards, then recorded it on his pressure test certificate. After the required time had elapsed, he rechecked the readings which were found to be satisfactory.

Vac Pump

Each of our engineers carries a state of the art 10 cfm vacuum pump to speed up the dehydration process. We use high quality Torr gauges too, so as to get an accurate pressure reading. A good read back was achieved at the end of the process.

Recharge and Run Test

After the refrigerant recharge was carried out, a satisfactory run test was achieved.

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Refrigerant Economizers

This particular chiller uses an economizer to further subcool the refrigerant. Chiller designers have worked out that the end user can save a considerable amount of money over 10 years if these components are used. After the subcooled liquid refrigerant leaves the condenser, it goes through a plate heat exchanger. Some of this refrigerant, however, is diverted through a thermostatic expansion valve, to the other side of this plate heat exchanger. Further subcooling occurring through the plates.

Expansion Valve

The refrigerant drops in pressure as it goes through the expansion valve. A bulb is fitted to the suction pipe on the outlet of the heat exchanger. The bulb has to be at the correct 'o clock position as oil insulation will affect the operation of the valve. A capillary tube connects the bulb to the valve. Inside the bulb, the same kind of refrigerant that is running in the system is present in its liquid state. As the temperature rises in the suction pipe, this refrigerant boils off, adding pressure into the capillary tube. This added pressure forces the power element down on the valve body and a needle forces the valve open.

Flash Gas

Imagine if the refrigerant was not subcooled at all. It would be around its saturation point with a lot of it flashing off into its vapour phase. Not good when you have warm water coming back from the process. The refrigerant would not absorb very much latent heat into the refrigerant system.

Efficiency

Imagine, on the other hand, the economizer which is fitted to this chiller. Now we have a good proportion of refrigerant in its liquid phase, on the low side of the system, with a minimum amount of flash gas. The warm process water has more chance to cool and the refrigerant absorbs a lot more latent heat. The chiller achieves set point easier and therefore saves a considerable amount of electricity. With this further subcooling monitored for a while, time for a signature from the customer and another job well done!

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F-gas Chiller Leak Testing

Chiller Commissioning

Air Cooled Chiller Condenser Testing

Chiller Problems

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Large white chiller being inspected to compose a chiller maintenance schedule

Chiller Maintenance Schedule

The chiller maintenance schedule in essence is as follows:

  • What is the plant? According to the asset list for that particular contract.
  • What are we going to do with it? The checks, procedures and diagnosis in the pursuit of the maintenance of the chillers.
  • How often? The periodic maintenance schedule defining the required interval between visits to ensure seamless operation of the plant.

News Article No.5

Chiller N+1

N+1 is intrinsic in the development of a chiller maintenance schedule. N+1 means the amount of cooling required + the same amount again in parallel. It can also be represented as 2N. Two water system pumps are a good example: where the pipework splits in two- one pipe for each pump. When a pump fails, the redundant pump comes online. Chillers are arranged in parallel, in this way, on the water system. This redundancy allows for a stress free maintenance of the plant. The failed system can be rectified and brought back online while the redundant system takes the load.

Intervals of Chiller Maintenance Schedule

The intervals in the contract are influenced by the redundancy of the chillers on site. The less run hours the compressor does, the less maintenance is required. We at Maximus Chillers can tailor make a maintenance schedule exactly to your needs by looking at how much the chillers are used and how hard they work.

Load affecting Chiller Maintenance Schedule

For some applications, the chiller operates under a high load condition all the time, with a redundant system in standby. On other applications, the chiller works in minimal load conditions. Regardless of the load conditions, the chiller is critical to the cooling of buildings or for an industrial process.

Lead/ Lag of Chiller Maintenance Schedule 

An important thing to remember is to balance compressor run hours and bearing wear by rotating the lead/ lag duty of the chillers. This can usually be done in the in the sequencer (if fitted) by changing a program setting. Otherwise, the switchover controls can be changed on the off/hand/run toggle switches. Where manual changeover is required, the onsite engineers are usually conversant with the procedure concerning the water system pumps, valves and controls. During the maintenance, the stop checks can be carried out on the redundant system, while the run checks are carried out on the system which is online.

Chiller Maintenance Schedule for Recip Compressors

Recip compressors require a log of the compressor run hours. This is because the valves and bearings should be changed at pre prescribed intervals as laid down by the schedule. Particularly important to reciprocating compressors are regular oil changes and oil sampling- a small change in the result of an oil sample can prevent a serious compressor smash up. A check list including the model number and serial number is completed on each visit and kept in a file on site. This file can be consulted during diagnosis and maintenance to decide on the beast way forward with an on going issue.

Chiller Maintenance Schedule for Air Cooled Condensers

Air cooled condensers can often be looked after by the onsite engineers in between maintenance visits. Just a quick brush down every few months is usually all it takes. Where the environment lends to a type of contaminant being collected on the condenser coils, an effective chemical is selected from our stores and used on the coil. Where there is an issue with the serviceability of the condenser, we can put together a plan to keep on top of it. We can even retrofit a new condenser- it’s what we call the MAXIMUS ADVANTAGE™

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Shell and Tube Evaporators

The shell is made from a heavy steel sheet rolled into a circle. The seam is welded together to form a cylinder. The tubes are pushed though the tube holders which are made from steel and are welded into the shell of the evaporator. The tubes are copper because of its good thermodynamic properties.

Direct Expansion Evaporators

Direct expansion is achieved in an evaporator with a thermostatic, or electronic expansion valve. The refrigerant enters the valve from the condenser as a high pressure, hot liquid. The pressure drop on the evaporator side of the valve makes the refrigerant flash off into a cold, saturation point liquid and vapour mix. The liquid boils off, absorbing latent heat through the inside of the copper tubes. On the outside of the copper tubes is the return water from the process, or the cooling of buildings.

The parts of the maintenance schedule that relate to DX evaporators are:

Oil Pooling

The inside of the tubes are in the clean environment of the fridge system. This means they do not become fouled. A tube insulating issue, however, can be caused on the inside by oil. If there are issues with the oil return system, the oil can pool in the evaporator. A low refrigerant charge can have the same effect. Written into the maintenance schedule are manual oil return and oil draining visits. During these visits, the monitoring of the refrigerant charge is also carried out.

Sensor Location

If a sensor is not located in its pocket correctly, or without sufficient heat transfer paste- it will read incorrectly back to the electronic expansion valve driver. This will cause the expansion valve to malfunction.

Pressurisation Units

A full maintenance of the pressurisation unit is carried out. This includes the pumps, controls and program adjustments as required. Incorrect pressure in the water system will cause a knock on effect of faults on the chillers.

Pump Sets

As above with chiller lead/ lag change over, water system pumps are manually changed over from lead to lag in the building controls. Carrying out this procedure reduces the chance of pump failure between visits. This is because it balances the pump run hours and so prevents bearing seizure after a long period not running.

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Flooded Evaporators

Flooded evaporators are the reverse of the above DX evaporators. The refrigerant is on the outside of the tubes, with water on the inside of the tubes. Gravity and refrigerant charge determine the refrigerant level in the condenser and evaporator. In between the two is located the liquid pipe with the orifice located in the pipe for the expansion of the refrigerant. The cooling water flows through the condenser tubes and off to the cooling towers. On the low side, the chilled water flows through the evaporator tubes and off to the process, or the cooling of facilities.

The parts of the maintenance schedule that relate to flooded evaporators are:

Tube Fouling

Because the condenser cooling water and chilled water systems are pumped through the pipes, the tubes become dirty over time. This occurs more often on the condenser as the water towers are open to atmosphere. Contaminants from surrounding buildings and factories gets into the water system and thermally insulates the tubes. This thermal insulation reduces the heat exchange through the copper tubes. The knock on effect is higher head pressures and eventually high pressure trip outs.

Specialist Cleaning Equipment

We at Maximus Chillers have in our stores the required equipment to carry out the cleaning of the tubes. Our engineers can attend site and liaise with the onsite engineers as regards the draining, strip down and lift out of the heat exchanger end plates.

Flushing Agents

A water sample is taken from the cooling and chilled water systems. These samples are sent off to our laboratory for analysis. Bacteria can build up in the water system causing slime- this can be rectified with a careful selection of chemical agents. Also, silt can build up- various chemicals are added to positively charge the silt and so carry it around the system to the strainer. Where the issue is caused by rust- an inhibitor can be added to prevent, or slow the oxidization of the steel.

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F-gas Testing of Leaks

The frequency of F-gas leak testing is determined by the size of the plant. This will be detailed in your F-gas file which is kept on site. Another record of this is kept by the chiller company at their registered office. The copies of the periodic leak testing sheets are kept by both parties. These detail the result of the test, refrigerant added to the system, refrigerant removed from the system and the required follow up actions. Some methods of leak detection are:

Visual Inspection

On each visit our engineers remove the coverings of the ends of the condensers and panels. This is to inspect the whole machine for a sign of a leak. Any potential leak is marked for future identification of where it is. A visual inspection will always be backed up with a further diagnosis such as:

Superheat and Subcooling

These readings are taken during a maintenance visit to determine the refrigerant charge of the chillers. The engineer, however, has to bear in mind that the subcooling and superheat readings can read abnormally due other reasons.

Bubble up Leak Spray

Various makes are available from the suppliers. Each engineer having his own preference. We at Maximus Chillers stock leak sprays and a wide selection of other materials.

Electronic Leak Detectors

Fixed

This type of leak detector is installed in the chiller low down in the panel. This is because HFC refrigerant is heavier than air. The leaking refrigerant will tend to pool in the bottom of the various panels around the chiller.

Portable

Each of our engineers carries a portable sniff tester. It comes with an extended tip to get into the most tight and awkward places. The leak detector has a replaceable element inside the unit. It also comes with replaceable tips which can be swapped out periodically. They come with a portable plug socket and transformer to charge the on board batteries after use in the field.

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Air Cooled Chiller Planned Maintenance

Water Chiller Maintenance

Process Chiller Maintenance Visit

Chilled Water System Maintenance

Centrifugal Chiller Maintenance

Industrial Chiller Maintenance

Air Cooled Chiller Condenser Maintenance

Glycol Chiller Maintenance

Chiller Maintenance Company

Chilling Plant Maintenance

Preventative Chiller Maintenance

To read more about chiller expansion valves hit the Tag at the top of the page.

Further reading on chillers and the chiller maintenance schedule at Better Bricks


A pile of completed chiller maintenance checklists on a table

Chiller Maintenance Checklist

Introducing a series of in depth news articles, this time featuring the chiller maintenance checklist:

News Article No.1

This article has been written with you- the customer in mind. Read below for practical advice on how to keep your chillers in the best condition.

Each day when you walk round, you can check to see if your plant is starting to malfunction. Become accustomed with the usual readings to help you diagnose the faults.

Here are the things to check for and how to remedy them:

Water System Pressure

Keep an eye on the pressure in the water system.

Small Chiller Maintenance Checklist

On a small chiller, there will be a water outlet pressure gauge. Make a mark on the gauge where the pressure is when the chiller is in good working order. You can use this mark to notice if the pressure is starting to drop off.

Strainer

The most common cause for low water system pressure is a blocked strainer. It is usually a ‘Y’ type with a bolted fitting. With the chiller off and the water system valves closed, unscrew it and check for debris. If it is blocked, make a note of how long it took to block, then add the cleaning of the strainer into the periodic maintenance schedule.

Pump

Ensure the pump rotation is correct by checking that the cooling fan is sucking into the pump. If it is going backwards: isolate electrically, then swap any 2 of the 3 phase wires. Brush down the inlet to the cooling fan to ensure good air flow and a cool pump motor.

Large Chiller Maintenance Checklist

On a large chiller, the water system pressures may be available in the controller- have a look through the menus. The pressure will be measured in bar. Another popular method on a large chiller is a flow meter. This may be a stand alone device on the chiller panel, or on a control panel nearby. It will read in m3/hr. Check to see if the pressure or flow is lower than usual. If so, ring one of our trained professionals.

0161 370 7193

service@maximuschillers.com

Contact Form

Water System Temperature

The chiller should be:

  • Matching the load and running continuously.
  • Loading and unloading in sequence with other chillers.
  • Going through a cycle and achieving set point.

In any case, you will become accustomed with the usual chilled water temperature according to varying load conditions. If the plant is struggling to achieve set point, or is running higher than usual- this is a sign of system faults.

Walk along the chillers that feed the same water system and make a log of the faults showing on the controllers.

Here are the things to check when you have high water system temperature:

Small Chiller Maintenance Checklist

Low Pressure

If the chiller has a low pressure gauge, look to see if the pressure is lower than usual. If so, this is a sign of refrigerant shortage in the plate evaporator. A scheduled visit from one of our trained engineers to carry out a pressure test can be arranged.

Breakers

Look for any breakers that have tripped in the panel. One reset can be carried out by a qualified onsite electrician. If the fault reoccurs- ring our support team. If the scroll compressor has tripped, check to see if the compressor is hot. If so, isolate and do not attempt a restart.

Condenser

A blocked condenser will inhibit the rejection of heat. Brush it down and give it a rinse with water. A common occurrence onsite with some condenser designs is a panel being left off with the chiller running! This happens when the onsite engineers are fault finding another issue with the chiller. The fans will suck through the opening as this is the easiest path. The gauge will be higher than usual as the condenser builds in pressure. A high pressure trip out will occur.

High Pressure Switch

To locate the switch- first identify the discharge pipe. It is the smaller of the 2 pipes on the compressor. The high pressure switch will either be bolted onto the pipe, or a thin pipe will lead from the discharge to the frame of the chiller. In any case, you are looking for a small box with a button and a wire leading to the panel. Press the button and you should hear it click. If this fault reoccurs- ring our technical support desk.

Large Chiller Maintenance Checklist

Suction

Should there be a refrigerant shortage, the controller will display a pre alarm like 'suction limiting' This is the controller preventing the compressor from loading up, so as to prevent a low pressure trip out. As above, one of our team of engineers can be sent to site to resolve the issue.

Discharge

If the controller is showing 'discharge limiting' this is a sign of a condenser issue. A full strip down and cleaning of the tubes may be required. Ring our technical support desk for further advice.

0161 370 7193

service@maximuschillers.com

Contact Form

Chiller Remote Monitoring

We at maximus chiller can install remote monitoring systems to your chillers so we can fault find and diagnose from a laptop. This means we can give you real time advice over the phone. Now you are accustomed with our chiller maintenance checklist, you can give feedback regarding the plant to assist our engineer.

Parts

For our contract maintenance customers: a range of commonly used parts are kept onsite to reduce downtime. We can give practical, step by step advice on the fitting of parts. We often carry out video calls with our customers, as chiller data plates, parts and components can be easier to show than describe.

Any Chiller- Any Problem- Any Part- Any Refrigerant- Anywhere- The MAXIMUS ADVANTAGE™

Related Articles:
Air Cooled Chiller Planned Maintenance

Water Chiller Maintenance

Process Chiller Maintenance Visit

Chilled Water System Maintenance

Centrifugal Chiller Maintenance

Industrial Chiller Maintenance

Air Cooled Chiller Condenser Maintenance

Glycol Chiller Maintenance

Chiller Maintenance Schedule

Air Cooled Chiller Maintenance

Chiller Maintenance Company

Chilling Plant Maintenance

Preventative Chiller Maintenance

To read more about air cooled chiller condensers hit the Tag at the top of the page.

Read more about chillers on Wikipedia


Engineer carrying out process chiller service with yellow and black cylinder

Process Chiller Service

Maximus Chillers has just carried out process chiller service to a flooded evaporator. The refrigerant seal on a four bolt, flanged coupling had been found to be leaking liquid refrigerant. There was no possibility to valve off that section of the machine, as the flooded evaporator is the storage vessel for all of the charge of the system in its liquid phase.

Refrigerant Recovery during Process Chiller Service

Our high capacity refrigerant recovery unit was set up next to the machine to carry out the task. 55 kg of refrigerant was recovered in a short time into our recovery cylinder. This refrigerant was collected for recycling after the job was completed.

Stainless Steel

Our unit is made from stainless steel because this metal works well with ammonia.

Condenser for Process Chiller Service

The condenser is made from tubing which is connected to ‘u’ bends on either end. These ‘u’ bends send the condensing refrigerant back along the next tube in the opposite direction. This process, back and forth allows time for the refrigerant to condense into a liquid. Fins are pressed around the tubing to increase the surface area and help to dissipate more heat from the refrigerant. A condenser fan is fitted to suck the air through the fins and so reject the heat.

Reciprocating Compressor

A four cylinder reciprocating compressor is fitted to the unit to provide the pressure difference to pump the refrigerant into the above mentioned condenser. It has an air cooled electric motor fitted which is open drive. This is because ammonia would corrode the windings of the motor if a semi hermetic compressor were to be used. Semi hermetic meaning that the windings, stator and rotor of the motor would be internal to the system. The motor is fitted in the vertical position with the four cylinders opposing each other on the central crank shaft.

Controls for Process Chiller Service

For safety reasons controls are fitted to the unit. These include:

HP Switch

If the recovery cylinder were to become over filled, the pressure would build up to a dangerous level. The TARE and the ullage need to be calculated prior to the job to prevent this from happening. The below mentioned liquid pipes have been designed with pressure issues in mind, but somewhere on the system would be the weakest point. This would burst causing a catastrophic refrigerant leak. The whole charge of the machine and all the refrigerant in the recovery cylinder would leak to atmosphere. The HP switch is set by the engineer on site to the correct level given the ambient conditions. This takes into account the temperature of the refrigerant and the safe operating pressure of the vessel.

0161 370 7193

service@maximuschillers.com

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Refrigerant Liquid Pipe

Steel Braided

The refrigerant in its liquid phase is pumped into the above mentioned unit down a steel braided liquid pipe. The steel braiding is to provide additional protection from the pipe being damaged on the outside. Damage like being driven over by a forklift truck, or having sharp objects coming into contact with it. Also, the braiding helps to prevent bursts when pressure builds up on the inside. This can be due to a restriction, malfunction of system components or vessel overfilling.

PTFE

The inner part of the pipe is PTFE. Other types of plastics and compounds corrode due to the toxicity of ammonia. Polytetrafluoroethylene is the chemical name for this compound, it is a fluorocarbon solid and is considered to be non reactive.

Fittings

There are various metric and imperial thread types that can be used. This depends on the fitting size on the machine and the fitting size and type going onto the recovery unit. We carry a wide range of fitting types to step down and step up in size. We can go between male to female types and use male to male and female to female where necessary. We carry adaptors to go from metric to imperial thread types.

Remote Access during Process Chiller Service

We carry an extensive stock of liquid pipes that can be connected end to end to provide remote access. We will always try to get the recovery equipment as near as possible to the plant, but when this cannot be achieved, we can arrange access up cat ladders or the side of a building. We can use our lift and shift team to arrange the hauling of all the required equipment and ancillaries to any location. Just part of what we call the MAXIMUS ADVANTAGEAny Chiller- Any Problem- Any Part- Any Refrigerant- Anywhere. Contact our office for prices for the above mentioned pipes.

Process Chiller Leak Service

The flanged coupling was unbolted and the failed refrigerant seal was removed. The new seal was fitted from our full range of sizes that we keep on the shelf in our stores. Our engineer bolted the flanged coupling back up to the correct torque setting.

Pressure Leak Test

A nitrogen pressure leak test was carried out to ensure the integrity of the system with the result being a pass.

Dehydration Process

As the system was open to atmosphere, air had got into the system which carries moisture content. The moisture and non condensables were removed down to a near perfect vacuum using one of our high capacity vacuum pumps.

0161 370 7193

service@maximuschillers.com

Contact Form

Charging of Refrigerant

The photo shows the charging of a cylinder of refrigerant into the system in its liquid phase. The cylinder has a dip tube fitted for ease of handling. Once the pressure in the system and the cylinder equalized, remaining refrigerant was drawn into the system during the operation of the plant.

Run Testing

The sight glasses and level glasses were found to be at the optimum level under the normal running conditions of the plant. As it is a flooded system, there was found to be a low superheat value. A high subcooling value was achieved with the use of a subcooler. Our engineer monitored a full cycle of an hour and a half: compressor temperatures and oil level were found to be within normal operating limits.

Remote Service Monitoring of Process Chiller

The process chiller can be remotely monitored via a data uplink through the internet. Our office continued to monitor the plant for some days as it went into seamless operation.

Related Articles:
Chilling Plant Service

Chilled Water System EEV Service

Water System Service of Evaporator

HFC Chiller Service

Process Chiller Vacuum Service

Chiller Fan Deck Service

Packaged Chiller Service

Chiller Service Company

Chiller Breakdown

Industrial Chiller Service

Chiller Service Company Visit

Chiller Fault Finding & Diagnosis

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Purchase BESA pressure testing technical bulletin


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

Chilling Plant Service

Chilling plant service had been arranged because our customer had been having high pressure problems.

Transducer required Chilling Plant Service

The 4-20mA transducer needed replacing as 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 which has a higher head pressure than other commonly used HFC refrigerants. We ordered the replacement transducer which is fitted with a female fitting.

Chilling Plant Service Leaks

Our engineer concentrated his attention on the high side of the system to start with. Then, he 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 rebrazed.

0161 370 7193

service@maximuschillers.com

Contact Form

Pressure Test

The remaining parts of the system were leak tested then the 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. 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 plant is being recharged at the end of the work. It is being recharged into the liquid side of the evaporator. All readings were okay when running the system. Further leak tests were then carried out at normal operating pressures.

Related Articles:                                                                                        Chilled Water System EEV Service

Water System Service of Evaporator

Process Chiller Service

HFC Chiller service

Process Chiller Vacuum Service

Chiller Fan Deck Service

Packaged Chiller Service

Chiller Service Company

Chiller Breakdown

Industrial Chiller Service

Chiller Service Company Visit

Chiller Fault Finding & Diagnosis

F-gas Chiller Leak Testing

Chiller Commissioning

Read more about refrigerant reclamation at Wikipedia


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