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.

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