Commercial Chiller Maintenance Guide

Proper commercial chiller maintenance helps prevent damage, prolong your chiller’s life span and save your company time and money. A regular maintenance schedule allows your chiller to operate efficiently, conserving power and reducing your energy costs. You should perform daily, weekly, annual and professional inspections and maintenance to help your chiller remain in good condition.

The Importance and Benefits of Chiller Maintenance

Chiller maintenance is crucial for a company’s success and cost savings. A chiller is typically one of a company’s highest-cost machines and can consume the most power within a facility. Maintaining your chiller prevents machine downtime and helps you conserve energy.

Regular chiller maintenance benefits your company in the following ways:

  • Time and money savings: While scheduling or performing regular maintenance may seem like a significant expense or time-consuming task, it can save you time and money. Regular chiller maintenance helps prevent damage, helping your company save on future repairs. While routine maintenance can’t eliminate all risks, it can significantly reduce potential damage.
  • Machine longevity: As proper maintenance reduces damage, it also increases your machine’s longevity. A chiller’s life span is typically longer when a company maintains it and makes repairs when necessary. Regular inspections enable you to identify chiller problems and solutions early. You’ll be able to make repairs before the damage worsens or affects other machine components, helping the system last longer.
  • Greater efficiency: Proper maintenance can increase a chiller’s operational efficiency. Regular cleaning, tuneups and repairs allow machines to operate properly, helping them function effectively while conserving energy. A machine that works efficiently will conserve power and help you save money on energy costs.

Developing a Chiller Maintenance Checklist

Maintain your chiller with the following daily, weekly, annual and professional maintenance checklists:

Daily Maintenance Checklist

Create a daily checklist so employees can ensure maintenance checks and tasks are complete. At least one person should perform the following tasks each day and communicate their completion:

  • Clear debris: Inspect your chiller closely at the end of each day to ensure it’s free of debris. Loose materials such as leaves or insulation can fall around chillers. Removing debris before it becomes lodged in the machines’ components is crucial.
  • Listen for vibrations or sounds: Listen for anything that doesn’t match your chiller’s typical sounds. Abnormal sounds can indicate loose components or a part that requires repair.
  • Check for leaks: Ensure your chiller is free of leaks each day. Excessive condensation and fluid leaks indicate you may need to repair a hole or crack in the chiller. Schedule professional maintenance if you notice any leaking components.
  • Check for fault codes: Contact a professional immediately if your chiller alerts you with any fault codes. Avoid making temporary repairs yourself — you could accidentally damage your machine and void your warranty. A professional can repair your chiller properly and allow you to remain within your warranty’s guidelines.

Weekly Maintenance Checklist

Weekly Maintenance Checklist

Completing a weekly inspection lets you investigate your chiller more deeply. Most of these checks can be completed without scheduling downtime.

You should perform the following checks weekly. Be sure to follow your company’s safety protocols prior to performing any inspections or repairs:

  • Clear debris: Similar to checking the outside of a chiller for debris, you should check inside the unit and clear any debris that has entered the chiller.
  • Tighten fastenings: Check the chiller’s fastenings and tighten any loose ones you find.
  • Check for leaks: Check the chiller’s pipes to ensure they are free of condensation and leaks. Contact a professional immediately if you spot any leaks or any oil puddles which could signify a refrigerant leak.

Quarterly Professional Maintenance Checklist

Hire a professional technician with a detailed service log that covers all necessary chiller maintenance checks. You can contact a professional to perform the following maintenance checks and repairs during a quarterly maintenance appointment:

  • Compressor tuneup: A professional can check your chiller’s compressor to ensure the suction and discharge have the proper pressure and temperature. Additionally, they’ll check the current voltage and the oil pressure and levels.
  • Evaporator tuneup: A professional technician inspects a chiller evaporator to check the pressure and temperature of the air or fluid inlet and outlet. They’ll also check the refrigeration outlet and inlet temperatures and the insulation condition.
  • Secure enclosures and boxes: You should also check enclosures and boxes to ensure the screws, locks and hinges are secure. Tighten these components if necessary.
  • Glycol level check: Allow a professional to help you manage your chiller’s glycol concentration. Maintaining the proper glycol concentration prevents freezing and protects your pipework from damage. (Note: It is not recommended to ever exceed 50% glycol (to water) concentration).
  • Condenser tuneup: In addition to the condenser coil’s condition, the inspector should check the temperatures of the air intake, air exhaust, refrigeration outlet and refrigeration inlet. They should also check the fan motor currents and repair any issues causing vibrations or noise.
  • Leak tests: Service engineers have the proper certification to perform leak tests safely and ensure refrigerant is not leaking from the chillers.
  • Water quality tests: Hiring the right technician for water quality checks is essential. Some professionals inspect water quality but do not offer water treatment services. It’s vital to look for a professional who can both identify and help you solve water issues.

Annual Maintenance Checklist

Complete the following maintenance checks annually:

  • Clean the chiller’s evaporator: Impurities and contaminants can contribute to thermal resistance, so cleaning your chiller barrel for optimal functioning is essential. Removing dust and particles from the evaporator shell will help your chiller transfer heat more efficiently. (This cleaning can only be performed by a licensed refrigeration service technician.)
  • Change the compressor oil and filter: You should change a new chiller’s compressor oil and filter after its first year of operation. Afterward, you can analyze the oil and determine how often to perform future oil changes. (This service can only be performed by a licensed refrigeration service technician.)

Stock up on Spare Parts

Keeping spare chiller parts in your facility enables you to make rapid repairs and reduce machine downtime. Spare parts may be in low supply when you need them, so it’s crucial to stock up on parts when you can. Create a list of spare parts to keep on hand in case you need to replace parts on your chiller.

Learn More About Maintenance With Our Smart Academy Videos

Learn About Chiller Operation & Maintenance With Our Smart Academy Videos

Chiller maintenance is essential for efficient operation, damage prevention and cost savings. Creating and following daily, weekly, quarterly and annual maintenance checklists will help you keep your chiller functioning efficiently.

Smart Family of Cooling Products offers a wide selection of chillers and cooling products. We also provide online resources to help you maintain these products. View our Smart Academy service videos to learn more about chiller maintenance, process chillers and everything about industrial chiller systems. Contact us to learn more about our high-quality chillers.