How to Troubleshoot for a Centrifugal Water Chiller


The proliferation of air conditioning units and industrial chillers, also producing cooling air, has lead to the belief that cool air is the only source of a cooling breeze on a sweltering summer's day. Yet, with a centrifugal water chiller, you can get exactly the same cooling sensation through water, rather than air. The cooling principle is the same, but instead of cool air the condenser release water vapors to bring down the temperature. This method is certainly not as widespread as "regular" air conditioning.

  • Check for air in the system. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the liquid refrigerant leaving the condenser, and compare this with the condensing temperature. If the temperatures are not within three degrees of each other then it suggests that there are non-condensables in your centrifugal water chiller system. Test the purge system operation and check for any leaks.

  • Clean the tubes of your water chiller thoroughly to clear any blockages or other problems being cause by dirt and debris. Using a tube-cleaning machine and gasket material, clean out the tubes; a particularly good remedy if you find the head pressure is rising but the various components of the chiller appear in working order.

  • Listen for a loud squealing noise coming from the water chiller; this indicates "surging," a phenomenon which occurs when the difference between the evaporating temperature and condensing temperature exceeds 70 degrees. There could be a number of causes of this issue, ranging from fouled condenser tubes, low condenser water flow and low refrigerant charge. You should call an expert to verify and repair the problem once you have diagnosed the surging problem.

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