After an autumn and winter of wind, rain, leaves and debris, your chiller is probably in need of a thorough inspection and a good clean before the summer weather arrives when it will be put under greater pressure.
We’ve put together some practical steps you can take in advance of an annual or bi-annual maintenance visit. These steps should only be undertaken whilst the chiller is stopped and isolated electrically and by a competent person who has undertaken a risk assessment and is fully aware of the potential hazards and necessary safety procedures.
Dust, Dirt and Grime
Windblown dust and dirt will permeate every nook and cranny on the chiller, its panels and the air-cooled condenser coil(s). Remove any waste, rubbish and general debris from the surrounding area and inside the chiller. This would otherwise be likely to be drawn into or onto the condenser air intake filter or the condenser coil itself.
Any accumulation of dirt, dust and grime will cause progressive underperformance. As dirt builds up on your condenser coils, it makes it harder for those coils to transfer the heat from your process to the air outside. This forces your chiller to work harder, which reduces its cooling capacity and increases its energy consumption. The accumulation of dirt will also impose a greater load on the fans, drawing air through the coil, again resulting in loss of both performance and efficiency.
Dirty coils cost money, in terms of bigger energy bills, higher Climate Change Levy charges (where applicable) and a shorter life for the system and its components.
The condenser fins and coil may have been treated with an anti-corrosion protective spray, so take care to avoid damage to this coating – do not use hard or wire brushes. A soft hand brush or a purpose made narrow coil brush should be used to reach deeper into the finned coil block.
If the condenser is heavily fouled or the dirt is difficult to move, contact ICS Cool Energy to arrange for a full chemical wash and straighten any fin damage.
Condenser Intake Filter
Where an air intake filter panel is fitted, it should be removed, examined and cleaned. If dirt and/or dust is allowed to accumulate, it will have the same impact as a dirty condenser coil.
Protective Condenser fin/coil Coating
Once the fins and coil have been cleaned up, examine the fin coating.
If it looks like it needs patching up or recoating, contact ICS Cool Energy to arrange for a full examination and re-treatment advice.
Panels and steelwork
Wash down all panels and steel work and repair/treat as necessary. Check for water accumulation around and under any supporting structure; check the condition of all supports and structures and repair/ retreat as necessary.
Any dirt or mould left untreated or cleaned off will quickly become permanent and may become corrosive.
Check for leaks inside the chiller. Water leaks will be self-evident and should be repaired immediately.
Refrigeration leaks are much more difficult to detect and generally require an examination and leak test by a qualified refrigeration technician, but small leaks can sometimes be identified by traces of oil directly under the source.
Do not try to repair the leak yourself – contact ICS Cool Energy to arrange an examination and leak test.
Examine the condition of the thermal insulation – make sure it is in good condition and properly fixed to the vessel/pipework and that there are no condensation seepages; repair/replace as necessary.
Check all gauges and displays and clean where necessary.
It is useful to keep a daily/weekly log of all gauge readings to assess the continued proper operation of the systems.
Contact ICS Cool Energy to arrange for delivery and fitting of any replacement gauges required.
All of the above steps are taken care of as part of ICS Cool Energy’s comprehensive planned preventative maintenance programmes. To find out more or to arrange a visit from one of our F-Gas qualified technicians, please call us on 0800 774 7406.