5 March 2018

Chiller maintenance: cold weather checklist

ICS Cool Energy offers some advice to help with chiller maintenance when cold weather sets in. 

A cold snap does not have to result in downtime if careful steps are taken to properly maintain equipment.

Following a comprehensive chiller maintenance programme should prepare you well for running your equipment in extreme conditions if undertaken regularly. However, there are some extra precautions you can take now to minimise your risk of downtime, particularly if your maintenance is more sporadic than planned.

Glycol dosing

When the weather reaches freezing temperature, nothing is more crucial than ensuring your chilled water system has the correct level of glycol. Freezing water can cripple your system, causing hundreds, if not thousands of pounds of damage to your system overnight, as well as costs incurred from stopping production. The importance of maintaining your glycol level cannot be overstated; if you’re unsure about the correct levels for your system, look at our Glycol dosing chart here.

Ensure your components are cleared for daily use

Your equipment components, such as heat exchangers, are susceptible to debris and damage, even in perfect weather conditions. This concern escalates during extreme weather. Ice and snow can combine with existing dirt and debris to clog components, such as your chiller’s condenser, causing costly down time. Prevent this snowball effect by ensuring components are cleared daily. Strainers should not be neglected, as blockages that reduce the throughput of your chiller’s water can lead to further failure and down time.

Check your pipework and insulation for damage

If the worst happens, and the liquid inside your process or chiller freezes, you need to know about it, and fix it, fast. Rapidly dropping temperatures and quickly freezing liquid can cause your pipework to fracture or even burst completely. Perform daily sweeps of your factory, checking your most susceptible areas, and repair fractures before they turn into burst pipes.

Plan ahead

Following the advice above, even in the short term, can prevent disaster and keep production running. In future, you may consider scheduling planned preventative maintenance in the warmer months such as October, meaning that if any concerns or needs for repair do arise, you will have plenty of time to solve them.

Have a contingency plan

No matter the level of preparation, disaster can still strike. Having back-up equipment and your system prepared with stab-ins will ensure you are ready for a swift exchange and commissioning, keeping your production uptime maximised whilst the fault is diagnosed and fixed.

Planned preventative chiller and chilled water system maintenance

If your temperature control equipment is vital to your production process, it is highly recommended that a comprehensive maintenance programme is followed. Depending on how heavily your systems are used, your maintenance checks should be tailored accordingly.

To give you complete peace of mind, ICS Cool Energy’s wide network of F-Gas and Institute of Refrigeration qualified service technicians can undertake planned preventative maintenance programmes on your behalf. Its programmes include over 100-point checks and it can tailor SLAs to meet the demands of your business.

To read more about the benefits included in ICS Cool Energy’s planned preventative maintenance programmes, please visit www.icscoolenergy.com/sales/services or call 0800 774 7426 to protect your production today.

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