The Simplest Way to Maintain Chiller Efficiency

Chillers in large commercial buildings are often the most expensive piece of equipment in the facility. Not only is a chiller expensive to purchase and install, but according to the North Carolina Energy Office’s “Chillers: Energy Saving Fact Sheet”, chillers “consume more than 50% of electrical energy during seasonal periods of building use.” So with a very expensive, very energy-hungry piece of equipment you might think facility managers spend a lot of time ensuring chillers work at peak efficiency. But the same fact sheet points out that a Department of Energy survey estimates that “120,000 chillers in the U.S. are expending more than 30% in additional energy through operational inefficiencies.” It seems a lot of chillers are wasting a lot of money through operational inefficiencies. But what exactly is an operational inefficiency and how can facility managers correct these inefficiencies?

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Innovations in Maintenance Technology

Facility managers with chillers and heat exchangers in their buildings know that a big part of routine maintenance is merely keeping the equipment clean. Cleaning the internal components, cleaning the housing, and even washing down the work area might be a messy and tedious job, but it’s necessary to ensure the proper function of the HVAC system. Clean equipment simply runs better and breaks down less frequently.

Over the years the complexity of HVAC equipment has increased, but many basic maintenance tasks like cleaning haven’t changed very much. Luckily for technicians, the tools needed to perform this work have improved, and dirty jobs like cleaning, pressure washing, or descaling can be completed faster than ever before.

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Mission Critical Cooling: Focus on Data Centers

A 2016 report by the Ponemon Institute studied 63 data centers across the United States and calculated that the average cost of a large data center outage is $740,357. That astounding number probably makes IT professionals and data center maintenance staff a little nervous. No one wants to be the person who made a mistake that cost the company $740,357! Businesses that cannot keep data centers online also lose customers, costing the company even more money. Finally, there is the high price to rebuild their reputation and bring customers back. The pressure to keep data centers up and running has never been so high.

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The Importance of Clean Condenser Water Systems

Water Wasters Poorly-Maintained Cooling Towers Foul Up SavingsCommercial HVAC systems account for between 40 and 50 percent of a building’s total energy use. With one system being responsible for so much cost, facility managers and building owners have an obligation to their tenants to reduce the system’s energy use while still keeping people comfortable. On larger buildings with water cooled chillers and cooling towers, these complicated pieces of cooling equipment are interconnected. When once piece of equipment is not working well that inefficiency spreads throughout the entire HVAC system driving up energy costs. Through good maintenance practices, facility managers can have equipment that operates efficiently and keep energy costs at normal levels.

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Ammonia, the “New Thing” in Refrigerants?

“Tomorrow was created yesterday” penned British author John le Carre’ confirming the old saying that “History repeats itself”.  The HVAC industry is seeing the technologies of yesterday presented as new and what was once considered old-school, is now seen as the future. Consider, for example, the resurgence of ammonia as a refrigerant.

The Global Cold Chain Alliance, a non-profit organization that advocates for companies involved in the temperature-controlled food industry, had an article on their website entitled “Ammonia: The Refrigerant of the Future”.  A similar article in the NEWS noted that ammonia-based refrigerants remain on the list of possible refrigerants of the future.”  Apparently, ammonia is the “new thing” in refrigerants, maybe “the next best thing”.

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