By: Scott Lance, EBCP, LEED AP O+M, Engineering Manager
Now that winter is close to an end in the norther region of the United States, it’s time to start thinking about entering back into the cooling season.
Many facilities shut down their cooling operations in the winter; this includes items such as draining down cooling towers and exterior condenser water piping, shutting down chilled water and condenser water pumps for the season, and stopping chemical treatment of these systems. Now is the time to start performing some operational checks before that first warm day in late March or early April happens.
The easiest things to do while chilled water systems are shut down, is to start-up pumps and recirculate water through the entire interior chilled water system. This will break-up any rust scale that might have settled in the system throughout the winter and collect this material in wye strainers and suction screens of pumps. Once the recirculation has taken place, clean out the strainers and screens. During the recirculation operation, check motor voltage and amperage for all three phases of power; this will help determine if the pump motor has any issues. You’ll see it in the amperage readings, or it will determine if there is a phase imbalance issue with the incoming power.
Also, look for leaks while the system is running; when pumps sit for an extended period of time and then start back up it may cause a shaft seal to start to leak. Identifying a leak now and repairing it will be more convenient then when chilled water is actually required to be online and stable.
This is also a great time to do