According to the International Institute of Refrigeration, 15 percent of the world’s energy consumption goes toward operating refrigeration and cooling systems.
If that relatively high number surprises you, stop for a moment and think about where the world would be without cool air.
It helps maintain the day-to-day quality of our indoor air. It’s also essential for industrial production and manufacturing processes, the creation and preservation of food and beverages and for preventing computers and other technological devices from overheating.
For something this essential to modern society, it’s a good idea to make sure your refrigeration and cooling systems are functioning at their best.
The Process of Prevention and being Proactive
Improving efficiency, cost control and extending the life of the system are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits you’ll reap from a proper maintenance program. There’s much to be gained by being proactive.
Let’s consider the mechanics involved in keeping your refrigeration and cooling systems in peak operational order. A cooling system’s overall objective is to ensure that the cool air being created stays inside the process, while using minimal energy.
Proper insulation is essential to aid in this process, as is making sure all working elements are monitored closely. This includes checking door openings to decrease the possibility of leakage, ensuring fans are functioning properly and making sure refrigerant levels are suitable to keep the machine cooling at its maximum potential.
Importance of Refrigerant
The refrigerant itself is one of the most pivotal parts of a cooling system’s design. Refrigerant is the substance – typically a fluid – that moves through each part of the system to promote cooling. The refrigerant’s function is to create and maintain a temperature and pressure relationship.
Refrigerant that transfers well throughout the system creates a high-energy efficiency. Thus, when selecting a refrigerant, it is important to keep in mind the thermodynamic properties needed to run the cooling system smoothly.
Picking the Right Refrigerant
There are several factors to consider when selecting the proper refrigerant for your system.
For instance, some may be less corrosive to metals but may be higher in flammability, and depending on the system you choose, your options may include a liquid, gas or boiling refrigerant.
Unsure about which to choose? Don’t worry, such decisions might even throw famed chemist Marie Curie for a loop. It’s easiest to simply contact a professional who can provide some guidance for this important decision.
The Compressor is Key
Next up is the compressor. It is the heart of the cooling system. A compressor does exactly as its name implies – compresses the refrigerant to create a high-pressured gas.
There are three main choices when selecting the proper compressor for your cooling system: reciprocating, rotary and centrifugal.
The most commonly used compressor among commercial cooling systems is the reciprocating compressor. For industrial applications, the rotary (screw) compressor is favored due to its high compression ratios and size.
The Condenser Coils
The condenser works in harmony with the compressor, receiving the compressor’s high-pressured gas and converting it to a liquid. As the compressor circulates the high-pressured gas, the gas moves inside coils in the condenser. With that in mind, proper maintenance of the condenser and condenser coils is of utmost importance. Keeping both free of clogs, dust and other impediments will keep the air moving freely, thus maintaining the highest efficiency.
Also, don’t forget to closely inspect all areas that have been welded, for possible leakage.
Are you getting all of this? There will be a comprehensive test at the end so keep on reading. (Just kidding).
Evaporator and Expansion
The component of the cooling system that performs the actual cooling is the evaporator, which absorbs heat from areas or products you are cooling.
Thermostatic expansion valves are used in commercial applications while electronic and/or hand metering valves are used in large industrial applications.
The evaporator is the coldest spot of the system and absorbs the heat from the process where the liquid refrigerant boils to a gas. The compressor takes the gas from the evaporator and compresses it to a high-pressure gas and sent to the condenser, completing the cycle.
As you can gather, refrigeration and cooling systems are intricately designed to cool while preserving energy efficiency.
While we hope you have gathered some knowledge from this piece, we also understand that most folks may not have time to learn the finer points of refrigeration and proper refrigeration maintenance.
The good new is you don’t have to. That’s our job, and we’re happy to help.
Whether it be manufacturing, installation, regular monitoring or one of our service maintenance plans, JAX Refrigeration is ready to assist. We always appreciate the opportunity to help our customers get their systems running more efficiently.