HVAC Chiller Maintenance and Life Cycles: Trio of Articles

The World Wide Web is a Very Big Place. For this installment of Just Venting, we’ve located the following articles to help you do the best possible job in your annual task of making sure the chillers in your building are properly maintained — or, if necessary, deciding between repair and replacement for a chiller that needs help.

Best of luck!

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TITLE: Operation and Maintenance of Chillers
SOURCE: Better Bricks (“Bottom line thinking on energy”)
FEATURES: Types of Chillers, Key Components of Mechanical Compression Chillers, Safety Issues, Best Practices for Efficient Operation, Best Practices for Maintenance, sample operating log and maintenance schedule


Compared to a major chiller failure, a sound preventive and predictive maintenance program is a minor cost. Implementing a best-practice maintenance plan will save money over the life of the chiller and ensure longer chiller life. . . . Substandard operating practices frequently go unnoticed and become the accepted norm. Training personnel in both maintenance and operating practices is the best prevention.

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TITLE: Chiller Maintenance
AUTHOR: Mike Taitano
SOURCE: The ACHR News, August 6, 2007


The chiller maintenance tool that contributes most to a chiller’s overall efficiency is the daily log. . . . An accurate daily log will provide a daily snapshot of the chillers operating characteristics. This makes abnormal conditions easy to spot, so corrective action can be taken before problems get serious and expensive.

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TITLE: Chiller Challenge: Repair or Replace?
AUTHOR: Thomas Bakane, P.E.
SOURCE: FacilitiesNet, March 2009
FEATURES: Properly Diagnosing Chiller Life Cycles, Chiller Reliability: Averting Failure, Chillers: Examine Life-Cycle Costs, Replacing Chillers: Benefits Beyond Energy Efficiency


The industry standard for chiller service life depends on the type of chiller, the degree of routine maintenance, and the unit’s loading and run-time hours. Even assuming average run conditions and adherence to recommended maintenance, typical service lives differ greatly. Small scroll chillers can last up to 10 years. Properly maintained screw chillers can have a performance life of 15-20 years. Water-cooled centrifugal chillers have been known to last more than 25 years.

. . . . Replacing large, central-chiller-plant equipment generally is not a cut-and-dried issue. The decision is a question of cost, risk, and reliability, and the answer can be expensive and seem difficult to justify. Energy savings associated with newer, more efficient equipment can quickly determine whether the investment will pay for itself.

One comment

  • jay

    very nice comments

    September 26, 2011

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