Shutting Down Your Ice Rink Refrigeration System

Curling Rocks - Shutting down your ice rink

It’s that time of year again, the time when the weather finally starts to get warmer and it becomes necessary to shut down your ice rink refrigeration system.

While there are some maintenance tasks you can do on your ice rink refrigeration system, having it shut down for the season is something you should trust to the professionals. Working with refrigeration inherently comes with risks, and trained professionals have the knowledge and equipment to accommodate for these dangers.

11 Tips for Shutting Down an Ice Rink Refrigeration System

There are many steps involved in properly shutting down your ice rink refrigeration system. Below we outline eleven important tips. Missing any of these steps could cause serious problems restarting your chiller system in the fall. 

1) Review Ice Rink Refrigeration System Control Panel Functions

It does not make sense to shut down the system if there are any functions on the system that are not operating correctly. Review all functions from the system’s control panel to ensure that they are all in working order, if you find anything not working this is the perfect time to have these parts fixed.

2) Pump Down Ice Rink Refrigeration System & Store Refrigerants

The next step involves “pumping down” the refrigeration system. Make sure when you drain the refrigerant you are storing it in the correct container. Check out this infographic for more information on refrigerant recovery and maximum capacity.

3) Verify Operation of the Oil for Crankcase Heater

This is the perfect time to ensure that proper operation of the oil in the crankcase heater. The crankcase heater must be energized for a given period of time to make sure that the refrigerant is separated from the oil. During the off-cycle they are designed to boil off the refrigerant that has been absorbed by the oil.

4) Complete an Oil and Refrigerant Analysis

Complete an oil and refrigerant analysis, as this will help identify issues with oil viscosity, moisture and acid in the refrigerant.

5) Water Bundles Should Be Isolated and Drained

As part of shut down procedure water bundles should be isolated and drained. Once the draining process is complete, the bundles should be checked for refrigerant leaks. If anything is discovered this is the perfect opportunity to fix it.

6) Complete a Through Leak Check on the Ice Rink Chiller

Check the chiller itself, for any possible leak spots. Any identified leaks should be repaired immediately to prevent refrigerant loss during shut down procedure. Winterization of the heat exchanger bundle may be required to prevent freeze damage as the chiller is subjected to sub-freezing temperatures.

7) Oil and Grease Moving Parts of Ice Rink Chiller

Check the manufacturers guide, and oil and or grease any moving parts recommended. Tighten all electrical connections as loose connections can lead to overheating of components and premature failure.

8) Clean the Heat Exchanger and Condenser Coils

Proper maintenance of the fan coil units of your ice rink refrigeration system can heavily impact how efficiently the chiller performs. Make sure that the condenser coils are washed in a manner that will not cause damage to the fin. Refer to your manufacturer’s guide for specific recommendations and guidelines.

9) Remove Water Boxes

Remove the water boxes, making sure to brush the tubes clean. When finished, bundles need to be completely dried before storing to prevent corrosion. If you are unable to completely dry the bundles you can get corrosion inhibitors, they are specifically designed to provide adequate corrosion protection.

10) Examine Ice Rink Chiller Equipment for Corrosion

Before re-installing the water boxes an eddy current test should be performed. This test will detect corrosion and tube wear. If anything is found, take appropriate action to correct and or prevent the problem.

We recommend taking the time to examine all equipment for corrosion and oil leaks.

11) Tag the Ice Rink Chiller Out of Service

Once the chiller is completely shut down make sure to tag it as out of service. This is a good time to take an inventory of emergency spare parts and replenish any that are out of stock.

11 Tips for Shutting Down Your Ice Rink Chiller Infographic

An infographic of 11 tips for shutting down your ice rink chiller

Download the 11 Tips for Shutting Down an Ice Rink Refrigeration System infographic.

Why You Should Use Technicians for Ice Rink Chiller Shut Down

  • Improved chiller performance
  • Improved chiller reliability
  • Minimized downtime
  • Potential energy savings of 30% or more
  • Optimized equipment life expectancy
  • Minimal repair and services costs
  • Greater return on capital equipment investment

Contact a Professional to Service Your Ice Rink Refrigeration System

Shut down procedures should always be performed by a qualified technician wearing protective equipment. They have the knowledge to improve your chiller’s performance and reliability, minimize downtime, optimize equipment life expectancy and could potentially save energy by 30% or more.

Contact IRSL today for help with ice rink or ice arena shut downs.