We often see heavy emphasis of preventative maintenance programs being applied to the equipment directly affecting the livestock on the farm, with less focus on the Glycol Chiller System.
The items below are some common items that can be reviewed weekly to help avoid emergency service calls and improve the operation of the chiller system.
Air Cooled Condensers
You need to remember that the heat from the milk isn’t destroyed- it is simply transferred; from the milk, to the glycol solution, to the refrigerant, and finally discharged to the outside air via the air-cooled condenser.
If the condenser is fouled because of debris or dust, or obstructed (with an iodine tote) the ability to transfer the heat is dramatically reduced which can lead to decreased cooling capacity and shortened compressor life.
There are two things to check on your glycol solution – The first is to make certain the glycol reservoir is at least 85% full. A low reservoir level can lead to excessive compressor cycling and pump cavitation that could lead to freeze up.
The second is to insure your glycol concentration is properly set. Having too weak (or even too strong), of a glycol concentration can cause freeze alarms and serious damage to the chiller system. A glycol percentage tester, or refractometer, is a great investment for monitoring and testing your glycol concentration in your chiller system.
Check Refrigerant Sightglass
An unclear sight glass while the compressor is running indicates potential refrigerant undercharge or a leak in the system. If the sight glass shows bubbles or foam while the compressor is running, then a professional mechanic should be contacted. Seeing bubbles at startup, and shutdown, is normal- but after running for 30-60 seconds, the sight glass should clear up and show as a solid liquid refrigerant column.
System alarms vary from red lights to more intuitive displays that will show specific alarms. With many systems supplied with redundancy and back up capacity, a single alarm can often go unnoticed – checking for alarms will help identify a mechanical issue before a milk temperature emergency arises.
Record Operating Data
Most chiller systems are supplied with temperature displays and refrigerant pressure gauges. A great habit is to regularly record this data. This will alert you to trends and help catch small issues before they become big issues. The ideal pressures will vary depending on the style of system, operating temperature, and the refrigerant being used. Your equipment service company can confirm the best operating pressures for your system should be and to alert them when they go outside these ranges. Typical ranges for Pro Chiller Systems are 40-60 PSIG suction pressure and 225-325 PSIG discharge pressure.
Implementing a regularly scheduled inspection of the items above will help keep your system operating efficiently and prevent emergency service calls. To receive a copy of our chiller system preventative maintenance program please email email@example.com