When the weather warms outside and business slows indoors, ice rink operators intuitively know that this is the time to tackle those ice rink chiller maintenance tasks that are hard to tend to during the busy season. However, details as to what exactly those tasks are and how (as well as how often) they should be done is not always readily apparent.
Here are the answers to the top three questions ice rink operators and owners have when it comes to servicing their ice rink chilling systems during the off season.
Which Industrial Chiller Service Tasks Are Best Done During Shut Down?
Ice rink maintenance is an ongoing effort, but clearly certain chiller maintenance tasks are best accomplished when the refrigeration system is shut down. This is especially true if your chiller system uses an evaporative condenser–these should always be inspected during the shut-down period. Here are six tasks that are best accomplished when the chilling system is not in use:
- The condenser coil should be inspected for scale build-up.
- The sump tank, along with the remote balance tank should be thoroughly flushed out.
- The condenser spray system should be inspected for plugged or damaged nozzles.
- All bearings and other moving parts should be oiled or greased as required by the manufacturers’ instructions.
- V belts should be inspected and replaced if necessary.
- The compressor crankcase oil should be drained out, the hand hold covers removed and the interior of the crankcase flushed out prior to recharging with fresh oil. Only refrigerant oil of the proper grades recommended by the compressor manufacturer should be used.
How Often Should the Industrial Refrigeration Compressor be Serviced?
Industrial chiller service is something that must be carefully tracked and monitored. Under normal operating conditions, it is recommended that compressor(s) be opened up for an internal inspection every 6,000 hours. In particular the suction and discharge valves, the connecting rods and all bearings should be thoroughly checked and replaced as required.
The approximate life expectancy of a shell-and-tube chiller, under excellent conditions, is approximately 20 years, providing the pH of the brine is regularly maintained.
On the counter side, the plate heat exchanger, with brine utilizing a titanium plate, should last substantially longer than 20 years. An exchanger with a stainless-steel plate utilizing glycol could potentially last upwards of 40 years and beyond under optimum operating conditions.
What Industrial Chiller Service Must be Done by an Industrial Refrigeration Contractor?
Effective industrial chiller service that is preventative and cost-effective requires specialized knowledge and experience. The six off-season tasks mentioned above can be conducted by in-house staff who have received the training needed to accurately identify potential faults with chiller equipment and to properly carry out the tasks needed to repair them. However, employing a certified industrial refrigeration contractor can be the most cost-effective means of chiller service as effective preventative maintenance can save thousands of dollars in the long run.
How Industrial Refrigeration Contractors Can Help
IRSL trained personnel can perform the off-season chiller maintenance tasks ice rinks require and are also available to provide in-house training to qualified ice rink operators.
Industrial Refrigerated Systems is a Berg Company. If you would like more information on how to service your ice rink chiller or to schedule a professional maintenance and cleaning appointment for your system, contact us.