For industrial manufacturers, temperature regulation is critical. Most manufacturing processes require specific operating temperatures that must be maintained in order to produce a quality product.
In the field service video embedded below, the Temptek process chiller in a customer’s manufacturing facility had a leak, impacting its ability to manage the heat produced as a byproduct of their manufacturing processes. We sent out one of our expert technicians to inspect the failed process chiller, diagnose the problem, and get our customer’s manufacturing facility up and running again.
How to find a leak in your process chiller
Our customer had a water-cooled Temptek chiller with 20.5 tons of total capacity between its two compressors on their manufacturing floor. It was found with a refrigerant charge of only 5 PSI, suggesting that there was a leak in the system preventing it from maintaining its normal operating pressure. Due to this leak, the customer’s chiller couldn’t do its job, which meant the customer was having trouble regulating the temperature of their manufacturing processes.
Here are the steps our technician took to track down the location of the leak:
First, he performed leak diagnostics using an electronic leak detector across all external fittings, all long liquid lines, both condensers, and the suction and hot gas lines. The suction and supply sides of the water system set off the leak detector, and when he placed an ear up to the hose connected to the reservoir, there was an audible bubbling sound. Following the hose to the reservoir, the leak detector clearly identified the presence of a leak within it.
To further narrow down the location of the leak, our technician’s next step will be to fill the reservoir up with water and look for bubbles to visually determine the location of the leak or leaks. Once the location is pinned down, the leak can be sealed, the chiller can return to its full operational capacity, and our customer can resume production at full capacity.
How does an electronic leak detector work?
Finding a leak is like detective work. Study the scene of the leak, collect the clues, and follow the evidence where it leads. You don’t always have to be Sherlock Holmes to find a leak, though it often helps to have the right tools.
Leaks can be frustrating not just from the annoyance and damage they cause, but from how difficult they can be to actually locate. It’s not enough to know you have a leak—you need to know where the leak is before it can be fixed. Especially when the source of a leak is in a complicated machine like a process chiller, or in pipes under the ground or within a wall, pinning down a leak’s location can be tricky. This is where electronic leak detectors come in.
An electronic leak detector is a cleverly designed device that uses sound to detect the presence of leaks. Everybody knows the irritating sound of water dripping through a leaky pipe or reservoir, but an electronic leak detector knows it better than a human possibly could. In fact, an electronic leak detector can even detect leaks too small for humans to hear. By detecting the subtlest qualities of a leak’s sound using a transducer, which converts sound waves into electrical signals, the detector can determine the size and general location of a leak. It’s a little bit like a metal detector, except for finding cracked pipes and other leak sources instead of junk and potentially buried treasure.
Once an electronic leak detector has picked up the presence of a leak, a professional technician can zero in on its location and take steps to seal it or, if necessary, replace the broken component.
Leak detectors are a vital part of a professional’s toolkit, and they require specialized training to use properly.
At Chiller Systems Service, we put the right people, equipment, and service on your case to get the job done right. We’ve been servicing business and industrial boiler and chiller units for clients all throughout the metro Denver area since 1997. If you have a process chiller or HVAC system that is malfunctioning or has broken down, get in touch with us and experience our dedication to complete customer satisfaction: