Preparing your commercial chiller for winter depends on whether you shut your system completely off or if you have to leave it running due to the design of your HVAC system and pipes. Here at Althoff of Chicago, we want to help you prepare your heating and cooling equipment for the deep freeze of winter with practical tips and guidance on cooling tower winterization.
Chicago Heat Ordinance
Landlords are required to provide their residents with heat from September 15th through June 1st. Therefore, it’s imperative that you make sure your HVAC system is optimized for winter and that your heating equipment is operating effectively.
Shutting the Water Chiller Down (Dry Layup)
If it is at all possible, water chillers should be shut down, according to the dry layup procedures found in Ashrea’s Guideline 12-2000. The procedures outlined in Guideline 12-2000 are to ensure that your system is shut down properly in order to avoid the growth of legionella bacteria in your chiller system over the winter.
1. Determine that Cooling Is No Longer Needed
If the temperature varies greatly during the day and night, it’s important to determine if further cooling will be needed before shutting the system down. Only once it is determined that cooling is no longer needed should you perform a dry layup.
2. Sterilize the System
Before you can turn off the system, the chiller and chiller pipes will need to be sterilized with specific chemicals that remove bacterial and viral contaminants.
3. Drain the Water Chiller
The chiller and chiller pipes should be completely drained of water. This involves removing the bells off both ends of the pipe.
4. Clean the Pipes
Once the water is completely drained, pipe cleaning brushes should be used to remove any remaining dirt and sediment.
5. Schedule a Seasonal Chiller Shutdown Inspection
Once your system has been cleaned, it’s time to schedule an inspection. An inspection helps identify problems with the system that could adversely affect you during the winter and when you start your system at the beginning of summer. A chiller inspection involves thoroughly examining the chiller for wear and tear and checking the pipes for corrosion, leaks and other problems.
Leaving the Water Chiller On (Wet Layup)
In some instances, you may not be able to completely turn your chiller off in the winter. This can be due to the need to provide sporadic cooling or the design of your system and its pipes.
1. Sterilize Your Water Chiller
To spite still leaving your system on in the winter, you will still need to sterilize it with cleaning chemicals that remove pathogens.
2. Drain the Water Chiller
Drain your chiller and the chiller pipes of all the old water. This will require removing both end bells.
3. Clean the Pipes
Once the chiller has been drained, clean the pipes to remove any remaining dirt, sediment and other loose particles.
4. Reinstall the Bell Ends
Once the pipes are clean and drained, reinstall the bell ends, ensuring that they are on correctly.
5. Fill the Cooling Tower
Fill your chiller with fresh, clean water. Don’t forget to add a corrosion inhibitor directly to the chiller since it won’t be in regular operation during the winter.
6. Create a Biocide Schedule
During the winter, it’s unlikely that you would adhere to your regular biocide schedule. This means that you will have to add the biocide chemicals manually to your chiller, according to your winter schedule.
Cooling Tower Winterization with Althoff
If you need help with chiller and building winterization, we can help you. Our HVAC technicians can perform wet and dry layups on your cooling tower and inspect your system to make sure that is it in good condition. This helps ensure that your chiller is properly prepared for the heating season. We can even provide you with tips to help maintain your energy efficiency throughout the winter.
To schedule an appointment to have your chiller winterized, call us at 800-225-2443.