Proper Chiller Tube Cleaning Can Result In Significant Energy Savings

 Proper Chiller Tube Cleaning Can Result In Significant Energy Savings

Chiller Tube Cleaner: During winter, your chillers may be on a sabbatical, but it won’t be long before spring comes, closely followed by the summer season. That’s why keeping large commercial and residential facilities cool will be top of mind. Hence, you need to understand the importance of keeping your chillers in optimum condition.  It’s because chillers help you achieve comfortable temperatures during warm weather come at a substantial cost. Although, they are often the biggest single energy-using equipment in most commercial facilities.

But it’s not always their fault because many chillers are expending 30% more energy than necessary due to operational inefficiencies. That’s why comprehensive chiller maintenance is critical to making sure they perform efficiently and effectively.  Most chiller operators have taken some of the first steps to improve chiller efficiency, such as sealing the building envelope, utilizing a building energy management system, chilled water resets, cleaning condenser tubes annually, etc. These steps optimize the efficiency of your cooling system to some degree. However, you need to address the source of the problem for better results, which is keeping your chiller free of fouling.

Fouling or solid buildups in condenser tubes is the biggest cause of chiller efficiency losses. Chiller operators have recognized that the impacts condenser tube fouling has on chiller efficiency is too significant to be ignored. In a quick review of the Carrier Handbook, various studies have indicated that a layer of fouling buildup as thin as 0.3mm can decrease condenser efficiency by 25%. But what is worse is that fouling is also common even in chillers that receive good maintenance treatment. It’s because most chillers that appear to be in good working order operate at elevated fouling factors — causing compressor power consumption to increase by 15% or more.

Chiller Tube Cleaner

You may already be aware, but, there is a proven method to further increase the chiller efficiency at your chilled-water plant. While several factors can affect chiller efficiency, cleanliness of heat transfer surfaces is the largest single factor. It’s because a chiller typically can have several miles of tubing making up the condenser and evaporator. That’s why proper tube cleaning makes sense as way to keep chiller tubes running as efficiently as possible. Chiller efficiency rapidly decrease when tubes become fouled with contaminants, such as minerals, scale, mud, algae and other impurities. These contaminants buildup a layer on the water side of transfer surfaces in both closed- and open-loop systems or condenser tubes, which increase thermal resistance and decrease overall performance.

So the more condenser tubes become fouled, the more energy and cost your chiller will consume. Luckily, this type of fouling occurs gradually over time, depending on the quality and temperature of the water used, which means you have time on your hand. It’s the containment buildup that makes chiller tube cleaner so prone to energy inefficiency so the only logical thing is that your condenser tubes should be cleaned regularly to keep them free of contaminants.

Now, we’ve established that chiller tubes are more susceptible to the buildup of scale and other sediments and residue due to constantly being exposed to running water. So if you want your chiller to reach the desired output, you have to keep their condenser tubes squeaky clean without expending more power and increasing energy costs. That’s why you shouldn’t skip chiller maintenance and create a chiller maintenance plan or checklist to proactively stay on track and ensure your equipment is operating efficiently.

  • Step 1: Maintain a Daily Logbook – We recommend keeping a log of key operating parameters to monitor any activity that will help indicate if any problems are developing.
  • Step 2: Keep Condenser Tubes Clean – The presence of scale and fouling is your biggest enemy as even the smallest amount of scale can add thousands of dollars in additional energy expenses. So we recommended cleaning chiller tubes and monitoring regularly to identify any fouling taking place between cleaning.
  • Step 3: Ensure Leakage-Free Unit – Untimely leaks can also hamper the efficiency and operation of the cooling system. So keep refrigerant levels within the manufacturers’ recommendations by checking the refrigerant sight-glass for bubbles and using a gas analyzer to assess all the joints and connections.
  • Step 4: Retrofit A Proper Water Treatment – A water treatment program can help reduce the buildup of contaminants on heat-transfer surfaces and slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Since every facility uses different types of equipment, we recommend reaching out to an expert to identify the best approach and solution.

The percentages of thermal transfer increase quickly when they become free of thin layers of contaminants. That’s why tube cleaning should become mandatory and regular for heat exchangers and condensers maintenance. Therefore, you should get an automatic condenser cleaning system installed before chiller commissioning for new equipment or right after tube cleaning for existing chillers. They continue to clean the condenser tubes 24*7 while the chiller is active, helping to reduce the frequency of downtime instead of working periodically like other solutions.

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