Today we would like to talk about an elephant in the laboratory — recirculating chiller maintenance.
Recirculating chillers are essential tools for many labs, but their need for maintenance can easily be overlooked. Routine inspection and servicing will ensure optimal performance and the longest lifespan possible.
Signs that your chiller may need cleaning
- If the chiller is unable to reach a previously obtainable target temperature.
- If it takes longer than usual to produce the same results.
- Do you know what fluid is currently in your Ai C-series chiller?
• For normal operation at 50°F (10°C) or warmer: use distilled water.
• If operating between 50°F (10°C) and -22°F (-30°C): use a 1:1 ratio of ethylene glycol and distilled water. Always test the mixture using a meter to verify the correct ratio.
Important: The above fluid recommendations are only applicable for Ai C-series chillers. For all other chillers, refer to the manufacturer for proper chilling fluid requirements. Never use “Chill50” chilling fluid with Ai brand equipment.
- How old is the fluid?
• If you do not know the age, it’s time to change the fluid. With extended use, a general rule of thumb is to change the fluid annually.
- Is your coil clean?
• This is the biggest reason for decreased performance. Dust and dirt can accumulate on the chilling coil, which makes it harder for the machine to reach lower temperatures.
Cleaning your C-series recirculating chiller condenser coil
Now that the big questions are out of the way, it’s time to clean the condenser coil on the C-series chiller. If you need assistance during cleaning, please call 888-988-0899 to speak with our technical support team.
- Turn the breaker off. Unplug the chiller.
• Do not disconnect the hoses unless it is absolutely necessary to gain access to the unit.
- Remove the side panel to access the condenser coil (assume you are facing the front of the unit for left/right directions):
• Important: Proceed with caution when removing the side panels. Panels may have ground wires attached, which can become disconnected from the terminals if the panels are pulled too far away.
• If the chiller has handles on the side, the side panels can be popped off.
• If it has screw panels, use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the panels. (The Ai C30-40-50 is bolted with 10 mm screws.)
• C-15-10, C-30-17, C-30-20, and C-30-40 chillers: Remove the panel on the right-hand side.
• C30-40-50 chillers: Remove the panel on the left-hand side.
• C80 chillers: Remove the lower panel on the right-hand side.
- Clean the front of the condenser coil with a brush. Try to remove as much debris as possible.
- Use either of the following methods to further clean the coil:
• Compressed air: Use to blow off the remaining dust.
• Coil cleaner: Start from the bottom of the coil and work your way up to the top. Spray the cleaner into all areas of coil. Let the cleaner stay on the coil for as long as the cleaner instructions specify. Use a spray bottle filled with water to rinse the cleaning agent off. Dry all of the water out of the interior of the cabinet. (Note: Remove additional panels if necessary in order to fully dry the housing.)
- Re-assemble and test the chiller to make sure everything is working properly.
We encourage customers to keep a maintenance log next to the chiller. Clearly note what fluid the chiller contains and the safe operating temperature limits of that fluid.
Proper recirculating chiller maintenance can add many years of operation to a chiller, keep it performing at maximum capability, and ensure proper safety. A well-maintained chiller is a happy chiller! 🙂