Steps to Improve Your Chiller Maintenance

With the cooler season upon us, now is the time for facility managers need to ensure optimal equipment functions for efficient and prolonged use. Several periodic shutdowns in the past year and a half make it even more critical to perform routine maintenance work promptly to ensure operations are running smoothly.

Why Is Chiller Maintenance Important?

Lack of preventative maintenance on your chiller can lead to other unbudgeted costs through increased energy bills or repairs. Most chillers face the prevalent issue of sediment buildup and residue in the chiller tubes. This serves as a blockage and forces the chiller to use more energy to produce the desired level of airflow.

This leads to an increase in energy bills and a lack of efficiency. In addition, most organizations overlook the maintenance of chiller systems due to the costs and time to perform maintenance associated with them.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 35% of a building’s total energy use comes from its HVAC system. Inefficiency can therefore have a significant impact on the bottom line. Chiller tubes are susceptible to the buildup of scale and other sediments and residue. A chiller that has to work harder to achieve the target output will use more power, resulting in higher energy costs.

Steps To Improve Chiller Maintenance

Creating a checklist for your chiller maintenance is ideal for staying on track and ensuring your equipment operates efficiently.

We are here to share the best practices to help you improve your chiller’s performance with proper maintenance.

Step 1: Maintain a Daily Log

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) advises organizations to maintain a log for all their chiller systems and monitor the critical operating parameters that will help indicate any developing problems beforehand.

It is advised to do this four times a day. However, if that is unfeasible for your organization, once a day is also alright.

This data log will help keep track of performance and potential complications, helping you proactively address issues.

Step 2: Keep Tubes Clean

A common and recurring issue in chiller systems is the buildup of scale and residue in the tubes. This buildup can result in inefficiencies because the system will require more energy to compensate for the blocked airflow.

This extra energy can cumulate and result in thousands of dollars in additional energy expenses. Experts recommend that chiller tubes should be cleaned at least once a year.

It should also be regularly monitored and cleaned. Pressure loss can also result from tube corrosion, which can be identified through regular checks.

Goodway offers mechanical tube cleaning solutions, chemical descaling solutions, and expert consultation services to find the proper cleaning approach.

Step 3: Ensure Your Unit is Leak-Free

Another common issue in most chiller systems is refrigerant leaks. This affects the efficiency of the chiller system and can also lead to health hazards from the hazardous refrigerants being released into the air.

Therefore, it is advised to keep refrigerant levels within the manufacturers’ recommendations and keep track by:

  • Using an air-purge time
  • Checking the refrigerant sight-glass for bubbles
  • Assess joints and connections with a gas analyzer

Step 4: Sustain Proper Water Treatment

It is essential to have a proper water treatment system to maintain efficiencies between cleaning the chiller system.

A proper water treatment system helps reduce the buildup of contaminants on heat-transfer surfaces and slows the growth of harmful bacteria.

Since every organization is different, there is a strong possibility that the scale could be other. Therefore, you should reach out to an expert to identify the best approach and solution.

Step 5: Maintain The System

After you have developed a chiller maintenance program and outlined all the action items, the final step is implementing an upkeep plan.

It is essential to keep all the parties updated about the process and ensure that they have received training to work on the system. This information also needs to be shared by all the facility management employees working on the system.

Regularly provide updates on the impact and positive results of the routine maintenance to log and document the benefits.

Chiller Maintenance Program

Once you have developed a chiller maintenance program and outlined all the steps and actions, one last thing is left to implement. It is only possible for the program to work if all the necessary parties have been informed of the process and trained on it. Distribute the information to anyone involved with facility management or who comes into contact with the system. Provide regular updates on the success and effects of routine maintenance to demonstrate the benefits.

 

Next Steps

View all Goodway Chiller Tube Cleaning Solutions

Learn how to How to Effectively Clean Your Chiller and Cooling Tower

Download your HVAC Facility Cleaning Checklist

Rid Your Systems of Struvite and Vivianite

waste-water-plant

What is Struvite or vivianite?

Struvite is formed when ammonia, phosphate, and magnesium come together to precipitate and initiate Struvite crystallization. Struvite can present itself as a white, brown, or yellowish hardened substance.

Vivianite is a combination of iron, phosphorus, hydrogen, and oxygen and is formed during anaerobic digestion. Vivianite commonly presents as a deep blue to deep blue-green crystalized color.

Both of these formations can rapidly adhere to various equipment surfaces. Both Struvite and Vivianite crystalize and solidify to rock-like formations. Struvite and vivianite formations significantly reduce flow and functionality within wastewater treatment plants causing significant maintenance costs and loss of efficiency.

Where do you find Struvite or Vivianite?

Struvite and Vivianite are commonly found in industrial piping that has wastewater with Magnesium, Ammonia, or Phosphate. Areas within wastewater systems most prone to these formations are piping, especially 90° bends, valves, T fittings, pumps, belt presses, centrifuges, Digesters, grit screens, and heat exchangers.

treatment plant wastewater

How to get rid of Struvite and Vivianite?

The most common concern with Struvite and Vivianite is how to get rid of them without having to replace pipes or cause interruptions. When removing Struvite or Vivianite, you can either do it chemically or by hydro-blasting. While hydro-blasting has its benefits, most piping lays underground which makes this method inefficient. Making chemical solutions the most effective and easiest method of dissolving Struvite and Vivianite from pipes.  As these chemicals react with the building blocks of struvite and vivianite, they steadily dissolve formations found within the clogged pipes. The solution we suggest for wastewater operators to use for dissolving the Struvite and Vivianite is our ScaleBreak®-SS, a non-hydrochloric acid solution.

ScaleBreak®-SS can dissolve struvite and vivianite formations, restoring the flow of pipes and equipment. Every system cleaning procedure must take the specific challenges related to that particular system into account.  Depending on the severity of the Struvite/vivianite formation, these methodologies can range from static soaking to circulation to flow reversal or all three.

Next Steps:

Reach out to a Goodway expert to find the best way to get your pipes back to prime condition.

 

Keeping Your Cargo Safe: Refrigeration Plant Maintenance On Marine Vessels

Cargo Ships

The continuous use of refrigeration plants on a marine vessel carrying perishable food makes it one of the most important systems on the ship. The refrigeration plant supplies cooling to various parts of the ship, most importantly this includes maintaining the climate conditions of whatever cargo the ship is transporting. As a lifeline for all perishable food items, temperature-sensitive cargo, and personnel, the refrigeration plant is one of the most important systems on a ship. 

When away from the port, marine vessels are isolated, self-servicing floating businesses, and have to have great any maintenance crews. The great isolation and distance from the port reinforce the need for proper maintenance and upkeep of critical systems on the ship when is in port, but also having on-board expertise when on a voyage.

The Nature of a Marine Refrigeration Plant 

As mentioned before, the main purpose of the refrigeration plant is to avoid any spoilage or damage that could occur to the perishable cargo on the ship. Properly maintained climate levels on a ship prevent the growth of microorganisms, oxidation, fermentation, and drying out of cargo. 

Refrigeration plants have multiple important components, all vital to maintaining performance. Some of these components are simple to replace en route, while others are more complicated and require port-based maintenance. Depending on your system configuration, maintaining components like evaporator coils or air handler coils can help keep systems operational, longer. Using proper technology to clean air handler coils, refrigeration coils, and condenser coils can help keep system head pressure within specifications and increase system efficiency. 

Cleaning and Maintaining the Components of a Refrigeration Plant

Crew and customers both rely on the dependability and functionality of the ship’s refrigeration plant. Without a well-maintained refrigeration plant, the rest of the ship is unable to perform its main function of transporting its cargo. 

Ships may rarely stay at a dock for a long enough period of time for engineers to fully service and maintain the health of the refrigeration plant. Ship engineers need to fully understand the movement schedule of a ship so that they can best plan the overall maintenance of the refrigeration plant. A common practice of ship engineers is to conduct all of their routine maintenance nearly every day at sea. Engineers save the in-depth maintenance overhauls and part replacement for the docking periods of a ship, where access to additional resources is available. 

With such a small window to conduct refrigeration plant maintenance, it is vitally important that ship engineers make the time that they have to conduct maintenance count. Proper cleaning and maintenance equipment increase the effectiveness of maintenance efforts. The key equipment to have for refrigeration plant maintenance includes coil cleaning systems and chemicals, tube cleaning systems, chemical descalers, industrial pressure washers, and surface sanitation systems. This equipment should be paired with a comprehensive maintenance plane that is also in sync with the docking schedule for the ship. 

Goodway’s experts are also on standby ready to answer any questions about marine refrigeration plant maintenance. The best refrigeration maintenance plans fully consider the port and at sea dates of the ship, and utilize this time to conduct the major cleaning, maintenance, and performance checks. Routine maintenance can be completed easily and quickly daily with numerous Goodway products that maintain the operational health of the refrigeration plant. 

 

Next Steps:

Learn more about Ship Maintenance: Descaling is Critical for Effective Heat Transfer

Find your Maritime & Offshore perfect solution

Get tips & tricks with Dealing with Scale Deposits in Maritime Environments

 

 

 

The True Cost Of HVAC Scale

What can you, as the facility maintenance manager, do about limescale? Limescale and other water-formed deposits can cause major loss of efficiency, increased operating costs, and minimize the life expectancy of capital equipment. But first, as a Facility Manager, how can you tell if your HVAC system is suffering from limescale build-up?

Signs of Increased Cost from Scale Buildup

Some of the symptoms will be gradual because limescale deposits build up over time. But small changes in equipment efficiencies can be a sign of limescale growth. Here are some additional signs that show you need to tackle your limescale problem:

  1. Rising operational costs (including tube or pump failures or the chiller shutting down due to high head pressure)
  2. Increased equipment downtime
  3. Progressively growing heating and cooling energy costs
  4. Poor equipment (boiler, chiller, heat exchanger, or tower) performance, including high head pressures or pump reading more elevated than usual

Rising operational costs

If your HVAC gas or electric bill is rising with no change in facility operational hours, there’s a good chance you’ve got limescale problems. Scale deposits can lead to significant increases in energy costs by reducing the heat transfer surface on both cooling (chiller) and heating (boiler) systems. Consequently, more energy is required to achieve the same level of heating or cooling when limescale fouling is impeding the energy coefficients. Also, the reduction in pipe diameter means your pumps work harder to move the same amount of fluid. This not only increases electricity costs but may lead to premature pump failure. Increased fuel costs mean increased building operating and maintenance costs, which affect the profitability of your business.

Some key findings on the costs of scale are:

  • Energy consumption is increased up to 11% for just 1/16-inch of scale, according to the American Society of Plumbing Engineers
  • Equipment failure rates increase due to scale
  • Scale often necessitates the use of chemicals to counter hard water use. Detergent usage increases by 2-4% percent per 1,000 gallons of water.

Want to find out what scale is really costing you? 

Increased equipment downtime

When left to build up inside HVAC components, scale deposits will eventually require removal for the equipment to function. Depending on the amount of build-up, the equipment may experience downtime for days or weeks. This downtime quickly cuts into the operational capability of a building, and if all HVAC systems serving a building are down, the building may have to cease operation entirely until the problem is fixed.

Preventing equipment downtime is one of the most significant concerns of facility managers, yet some may not realize that they need to practice correct preventative maintenance plans on their systems to prevent downtime. Naturally, all equipment will experience some sort of downtime for maintenance, but when equipment downtime sharply increases for cleaning, it may be evidence of a larger scale build-up problem.

Progressively increasing heating and cooling energy costs

Progressively increasing heating and cooling costs can be a reliable indicator of scale build-up inside HVAC components affecting the performance and efficiency of HVAC systems. This is especially true when heating and cooling costs increase despite a relatively stable period of climate and building usage.

Facility managers are certainly in tune with the energy costs that a building accrues. Energy costs are often one of the most significant operations and maintenance budget items that a facility manager is concerned about. If patterns of rising heating and cooling costs show a decline in efficiency, it may be time to clean the system entirely of scale build-up.

Poor equipment performance

Poor equipment performance – like on boilers, chillers, heat exchangers, or cooling towers – is often first noticed by monitoring the key performance indicators of your systems. Things like the pump and head pressures should be monitored daily to identify baselines. This way, any disparency can quickly indicate scale issues.

Scale build-up inside the boiler, chiller, heat exchanger or cooling tower may be causing the lack of performance out of the system. Poor equipment performance will not only deliver inadequate heating or cooling results but also end up costing many multiples of the maintenances costs for replacement.

Preventing Scale Build Up

There are different methods for removing limescale build-up. These methods generally fall into two categories chemical and mechanical.

A combination of water treatment programs along with chemical or mechanical descaling is necessary to keep scale in check.

Chemical descalers are fluids that react with the calcium carbonate, sulfate, or silica build-up to break it down and flush it out of the system.

Mechanical include using rotary tube cleaning or projectile-based systems to remove scale deposits mechanically. They work to remove the mineral deposits plaguing the tubes of HVAC chillers, fire or water tube boilers, heat exchanger tubes/coils, and condenser tubes.

To slow the scale accumulation, water treatment solutions are often employed. Depending on the chemistry of your water source, a water treatment company will come up with the right treatment solution for your boiler or cooling tower. Regular tests and checks are essential to ensure the water is receiving the correct dosage of treatment chemicals. However, no chemical treatment will prevent scale deposits entirely, and so vigilant monitoring of system performance is required.

Next Steps:

If you haven’t been taking preventive action against HVAC limescale, today is an excellent time to start. It is never too late to begin, and you may be amazed by the results you will achieve. While there are many different options on the market today, choosing the right solution for your system is essential.

Get started by maintaining a daily logbook of your system parameters like head pressures, pump pressures, etc. The set up an annual or biannual maintenance cleaning program. This will help you get a handle on your scale problem. Next, get guidance from a reputable descaler manufacturer so you can make the right choices for addressing scale in your facility. With their expertise and products, soon your facility will realize lower running costs and a more efficient HVAC system.

Mechanical vs. Chemical Scale Removal: What Is Best For My Facility’s HVAC Equipment?

Scale or limescale is caused by mineral deposits in water becoming adhered to pipes, pumps and other hydronic system components. This adhesion is a natural occurrence when water is heated or cooled. Even the best-treated water contains scale deposits, however raw water deposits, including those from well and other underground sources, lakes, and ponds can contain significant levels of minerals, also known as “hard water”. In fact, over 80% of the continental USA has moderate to hard water.  Scale build-up that is caused by hard water can have numerous adverse effects on the systems and components that come in contact with the water. It is important for owners, operators, and facility managers to not only pay attention to excessive scale build-up but to also have a response and maintenance plan for removing the scale.

The first general approach to maintaining scale build-up is the use of mechanical tools and practices to remove scale build-up. There are multiple techniques and practices that fall under mechanical scale removal. Primarily, mechanical scale removal involves removal utilizing machines or machinery to physically remove the scale build-up from system components. For chillers, boilers and other heat exchange equipment, Goodway offers numerous excellent products that mechanically remove scale buildup from machine and system components. The RAM-4 Chiller Tube Cleaner is one of many varying capacity tube cleaners that, when paired with an appropriate brush, effectively cleans tough scale deposits in chillers, condensers, evaporators, absorption machines, and other heat exchangers.

When mechanical tools are not enough to rid scale, a chemical scale remover can be a great tool to safely, efficiently and effectively remove scale. Chemical scale removal is a generally more passive approach to system and component maintenance, where a chemical solution is flushed through the interior piping and components of a system and reacts with mineral scale build-up to remove and cleanse the system.

Chemical scale removal can be conducted in a number of ways but is most effective when the chemical is pumped through the interior piping and connections of a system. One such system that is effective on larger industrial HVAC and process machinery is the GDS-100-BV is Scale Removal System. When paired with ScaleBreak®, Goodway’s advanced descaling solution, the system quickly and effectively removes the scale leaving system operating at optimal efficiency. In fact, in many instances systems will operate at an efficiency higher than when first installed. Read how in this case study.

Plant maintenance managers need to understand both mechanical and chemical descaling options and how they apply to the equipment in their plant. Deciding between either method can be difficult, but there are a few key factors that managers can focus on to make their choice. These deciding factors for managers include upfront cost and lifecycle cost, effective fit for their intended use, the amount of money saved in operating and the extension of the usable lifetime of the serviced equipment, and any regulatory guidelines pertaining to the equipment needed to be maintained.

Goodway offers two excellent features on its website to assist managers with deciding which method of descaling equipment to purchase and utilize. Managers who are considering implementing a new maintenance plan or changing their current one should consult with the experts at Goodway and utilize the tools they have for making these difficult decisions.

The first feature on their site is their cost calculator. This cost calculator can break down the cost data for numerous types of equipment to include boiler, chiller, and cooling tower descaling equipment. Utilizing this calculator provides an excellent insight into the potential savings and best-fit equipment for different types of industrial equipment. The second decision-making tool that Goodway offers is their buyer guide, which provides key information and articles about descaling technologies, with further information on key factors to consider when choosing maintenance equipment.

 

Next Steps:

Watch our webinar on Scale: Why You Have It, What It Does and How to Descale Safely and Effectively.

Watch our webinar on Industrial Descaling: Challenges and Benefits.

See Instructions for Cleaning Brazed Plate & Gasketed Heat Exchangers with ScaleBreak.

See Goodway ScaleBreak® featured in Canadian Facility Management & Design.

Read up on Goodway Descaling Solutions For MULTISTACK® Chillers

Listen to this Podcast: Descaling Large Equipment brought to you from HVAC SCHOOL.

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