Draining the refrigerant oil from your chilling system

5 Ways to Increase Chilling System Efficiency and Decrease Operating Costs

Spring is finally here, and with it, heat and dust. These contribute to an increased workload on your chilling system, lowering efficiency and costing you more money. That’s why spring is a great time for plant managers and ice rink technicians to start thinking about annual chiller maintenance tasks and ways to improve their industrial refrigeration system’s efficiency. Especially with costs of hydro on the rise!

5 Ways to Increase Industrial Chilling Efficiency

  • Installing VFD, Variable Frequency Drives
  • Keep on top of oil and filter changes
  • Run an energy audit on your industrial chiller
  • Perform annual maintenance tasks
  • Rebuild compressors if necessary

1) Variable Frequency Drives Increase Chilling System Efficiency

One way to cut down on operating costs and increase efficiency is to install a VFD, Variable Frequency Drive. They allow you to vary control on lock in your system’s head pressure, this prevents compressors from starting and stopping frequently. An additional benefit is that the refrigeration system’s air unit evaporator fans will operate more quietly and efficiently. To summarize, soft starting reduces electrical costs and VFDs are important to load capacity.

2) Draining Refrigerant Oil and Changing Filters Increase Chilling System Efficiency

Draining refrigerant oil is an important maintenance task, that if forgotten, can lead to extra spending on operating costs. When refrigerant oil is not drained it causes poor temperature and heat transfer. This means your chilling system has to work harder. In worst case scenarios not draining your oil can cause the entire chilling system to shut down.

Draining refrigerant oil should only be done those who know how to safely drain refrigerant oil. The chiller oil should never be removed directly from the refrigeration system or from the high-pressure receiver. The best approach it to drain from an oil pot or an oil sil, as this eliminates the risk of opening the system to the atmosphere.

3) Refrigeration System Energy Audit

Another way to increase chilling system efficiency is to have an energy audit performed on your chilling system. The audit will make recommendations specific to your equipment and facility on ways to lower energy use. The energy audit of your industrial refrigeration system looks specifically at the power usage of your system and compares energy levels to an optimized system.

4) Chilling System Maintenance Tasks

Regular maintenance is the best way to lower operating costs and prevent system failures. Some maintenance tasks should be done regularly, while some only have to be completed annually.

Annual Chiller Maintenance Tasks

  • Test all safety controls and interlocks.
  • Inspect pressure relief valves for corrosion or accumulation of scale and for leaks.
  • Inspect vent lines to ensure that they are clear, that they discharge to a safe place and are protected against ingress moisture
  • Service machinery room ventilation systems.
  • Test all sump heaters, pump seal heaters, compressor crankcase heaters and all heat tape.
  • Check all electrical connections for proper tightness
  • Check calibration of all pressure gauges.

For more maintenance task information, check out our convenient chiller maintenance tasks checklist. A great reference tool for ongoing and routine refrigeration maintenance tasks.

It’s also important to note that proper installation of your refrigeration system can significantly impact cost savings. The refrigeration system is more likely to work reliably and efficiently if it is installed and started up correctly.

5) Rebuilding a Refrigeration System Compressor

Your compressor is crucial to operating your refrigeration system efficiently. While compressors are designed to run non-stop for years, the constant use can quickly wear on the compressors internal parts leading to a variety of issues. If the compressor is not operating in peak operating condition it is costing you more in hydro.

You can optimize the life expectancy of your compressor by completing ongoing and annual maintenance tasks. If the compressor begins to malfunction, the compressor may need to be replaced or overhauled to avoid dangerous conditions. In many cases overhauling a compressor can be the cheaper way to update your compressor and get it running like new again.

Contact a Professional to Increase Refrigeration System Efficiencies

To learn more about increasing your refrigeration system’s efficiency and decreasing operating costs, contact IRSL.