Houston HVAC management is one of the best ways besides commercial lighting for commercial institutions to improve energy efficiency because it is not always possible to reduce the amount of energy that is used within a healthcare facility or commercial building. A Houston healthcare facilities services company helps healthcare and other commercial entities increase their HVAC equipment’s performance.
How Internal Building Managers Address the Problem of Chiller Inefficiency
Managers tend to increase chiller efficiency with strategic refrigerant management. This strategy does work, but managers often think incorrectly about how to do it. They are concentrating on chiller-refrigerant conversions, refrigerant inventories and regulatory compliance, but this is not conducive to helping chillers function at maximum capacity.
Over time, a chiller begins to lose refrigerant because the system develops leaks. The result is that it does not work as well. Technicians solve this problem by replacing lost refrigerant so that it conforms to industry standards, but they do not investigate the cause of the loss. This allows the leak to continue.
In the above-described instance, two things are necessary. First, technicians need to keep track of how much refrigerant is being added to a chiller to improve its performance. Second, managers need to pay attention to the chiller’s overall performance so that they know when there may be a leak within the system that is preventing it from functioning properly.
Managers can ensure that there is enough refrigerant to encourage peak performance in a chiller, but they must also monitor the contaminants that enter the system. A chiller that has leaks is under a low pressure system because an increased amount of air and moisture is entering the apparatus. As more air and moisture penetrate the system, a surge of contaminants are allowed to infiltrate as well. This further reduces the system’s performance.
The newest purge systems separate contaminants from moisture and air, and this prevents refrigerant from escaping. These high-efficiency purge systems are present on the newest chillers. If desired, managers have the option of adding these systems to their existing chillers to ensure that a majority of contaminants are removed from the system. Then, technicians can monitor it for leaks.
In order to be energy-efficient, chiller systems must have clean heat-transfer surfaces without any buildup of scale, corrosion or sludge. This means that the condenser tubes must be cleansed every year, but the evaporator tubes can be cleaned about every three years. Whether technicians need to use chemicals or not will depend on how dirty the parts are.
One of the most important maintenance tools is the operating log. The log must contain the following information to be the most useful to managers:
• Time and date
• Drive-motor currents and voltage
• Supply and return temperatures of condenser water
• Supply and return temperatures of chilled water
• Evaporator and condenser pressure
• Oil and temperature pressure
This method of performing maintenance is most effective if technicians enter the data on a daily basis. When they perform any maintenance on the chiller system, they must record it in the log as well. It is also imperative to schedule regular inspections. When these occur will depend on the components that are being checked.
Evaluating a chiller’s efficiency can present a challenge to technicians. Chiller manufacturers often rate a chiller as efficient if it is operating at full load. However, chillers rarely function at this level. With enough data, managers can determine a baseline for their chillers’ efficiency-performances so that technicians can use the data for comparison purposes. To make things even easier, managers may install the latest monitoring equipment.
Maintaining and repairing chiller systems is a complex and time-consuming job in Houston, and this is what makes commercial HVAC services so valuable. These services take maintenance and repair out of the hands of managers so that they can concentrate on other duties.