How to protect Your Chiller From: Brownouts, Surges, Blackouts, Fires and Heatwaves…

Protect your chiller from: Brownouts, surges, blackouts.

As most everyone is aware, power surges, brownouts, and blackouts can wreak havoc on Chilling equipment. When the supply of power to your business is interrupted or altered it can have devastating consequences. And although many people use a surge protection device on their expensive electronics at home, they are not as well prepared for that with their brewery and winery’s chiller equipment. 


We can add phase-protection and/or a line monitor to just about any unit. 


A brownout is defined as the power supply dropping more than 10% and is usually the result of the utility company rationing electricity to avoid a more devastating blackout. As a result, Chiller equipment is forced to draw more current due to the loss of voltage. The components of the system operate under a greater strain in order to compensate for the loss of power. 


When experiencing a brownout, you may notice a flicker in the lights. After that interruption to electrical power, most chiller systems re-start with no apparent problems. But sometimes your Chiller may not come back on, or if it does, it’s blowing warm air. It may also get stuck running non-stop and won’t shut down. 


Losing a leg on 3phase power can create huge problems for a chiller. 


In many cases, severe damage can occur. This is a partial list of conditions and issues we’ve seen after blackouts and brownouts:

  • Reversed phases of two of the three power legs in electrical service
  • Burnt-out compressors
  • Damaged compressor windings
  • Control board damage or burnout
  • Transformers, relays, and contactors damaged or fried
  • Damaged evaporator and/or condenser fan motors

Not all of these issues necessarily stop your system from running immediately after an interruption of power service. 


In fact, when the power company reverses the phases of power legs, a scroll compressor and 3-phase motors run backward. At first, they seem to be working but inevitably are damaged beyond repair. In the case of damaged compressor windings, it’s only a matter of time before the system will fail – when windings are damaged, acid is released into the refrigerant circuit and must be cleaned up. 


An inexpensive way to prevent damage to your equipment is to add a phase monitor to the most critical pieces of equipment you require to keep operating. A phase monitor is a simple and inexpensive control that can save the need for costly repairs. 


Read more here.

single-phase vs. three-phase power

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Opening up and getting back to it

We are all feeling the economic impacts from COVID-19. Tanktemp has over 3,000 active clients, and if you are reading this you are one of the 18,000+ that signed up for our newsletter. If you know someone who should be reading our stuff forward this on.

Everyday we work with folks just like you and solve problems you all face. We listen to what is happening with your businesses, and a lot of you are friends we hang out with outside of work. These newsletters are responses to the most asked questions we get every month.

We hear you, and we understand you.

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What I Wish I’d Known Before Starting a Brewery, Winery or Distillery

We chat with countless breweries, wineries and distilleries to see how the coronavirus is affecting them, and what we can do to help. I started working on this piece before the virus rocked the industry, and now is a great time to discuss it. This is by no means complete, but what is in this industry? So read, comment and reflect on. This article will grow, so check from time to time to see what else I’ve added.

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We are all in this together. How can we help?


The current events are impacting everyone. People first is always a good policy. The brewery, winery, and distillery communities have always banded together through fire, storms, good times, and hard times. As we always do, we will find a way to overcome the current events together. We are all in this together, and for 48 years we have been your partner and advocate as you navigate all your challenges, so if you need something, ask, we are here. 

All across the country, cities and states are ordering breweries, distilleries, and wineries to close to the public due to Coronavirus cases; though in some places you will be allowed to produce carryout and delivery orders. More states are likely to institute similar orders this week.

How are you coping with this? What are your contingency plans and how can the community support you? We are doing, and will do, everything we can to support you all. Post ideas and suggestions on our social media pages.  

Obviously on-premise sales are down, however off-premise sales are way up. 

We are on the phones all day. every day with as many of you as we can be and this is what we are hearing. This article is mirroring most of the conversations we are having with you all. 

Covid-19: How is it affecting the beer industry? 

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Everything you ever wanted to know about glycol plumbing

How you install your chiller is just as important as the chiller itself.  The layout and design of a system can make all the difference. We have been installing systems since 1972. 

Always plan for expansion, don't plumb yourself into a corner, make sure you can add to the system and make repairs if needed. 

Glycol plumbing is what is called “process plumbing”. It goes from the chiller and back to the chiller. Generally it is not hooked to city water and you definitely don’t want it hooked to the drainage system. Glycol is not cheap. 

Most of all, plan your layout and size everything to work for today and tomorrow.  Tanktemp offers design and engineering services as well as full installation and maintenance. 

Here is what everyone else won’t tell you. 

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Harvest Checklist

By May or June of next year, too much time has passed to remember all the details of the prior year’s harvest. From an operational standpoint, June is generally too late to be starting the process of preparing for harvest. The goals of building this checklist is to help prepare and be a bit more strategic. With over a decade of combined service experience in our shop, 48 of it in one guy, we have seen it all. 

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R22 Freon to be banned in 2020

Refrigerant R22 (also commonly called Freon) has been used in the production of refrigeration equipment for decades. Over time, scientists have begun to realize the environmental danger of Chlorofluorocarbon (or CFCs) in refrigerants like R22, the Global Warming Potential of which contributes heavily to the depletion of the ozone layer.

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Run your chillers harder at night and save big.

The air is cooler at night. Crash tanks at night when the air is cool. Maintain the tanks during the day and save big. This can easily save up to 20% of overall cooling energy.

Nighttime building cooling. 
Bring in low-temperature night air to cool the building further.

Tank insulation. 
Spray-on, foil-covered bubble wrap, and rigid foam all work. This can reduce refrigeration cost by 15-60%.

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How do you evaluate a chiller?  Not all chillers are created equal. 

As a matter of fact, over 90% of chillers made don’t have the capacity a brewery, winery or distillery needs. There are a lot more computer rooms, fab shops, buildings, equipment and lasers in the world that need to be maintained at 60°F than there are breweries, wineries and distilleries.  So you need to know that is what most manufacturers build for, and they try to force those units to work in our environments.

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