Is that chiller you just purchased ready for winter?

If you haven’t noticed, the COLD is coming. And if you’ve recently purchased or installed an outdoor packaged chiller, now is a great time to make sure you’ve done the necessary prep work to ensure a worry free, and freeze free winter season. Here are a few things to think about before the real cold comes.

  1. Is everything in the system completely installed, including the piping, pumps, controls and safeties? Is the chilled water piping wrapped with heater cable and insulated? Has the electrical been connected and the chiller and pumps started up? If you can check-off this first step, then we are headed in the right direction. If not, there is still time! 
  1. Has the cooler evaporator heater been connected to its separate electrical service and checked for the correct applied voltage? Be very careful here; an under voltage condition will keep the heater OFF until full voltage is restored to the system. 
  1. Once the chiller has been started up and in operation for a while, have you done a visual inspection of the cooler evaporator and water piping to check for cracks or leaks? Spotting and fixing a leak now, could save 10’s of thousands of dollars in repair costs later, especially if it is located in the evaporator. 
  1. If you plan on using glycol (anti-freeze), make sure you choose the right type and proper mixture for your application and for adequate freeze protection. Once you’ve filled the system, double check the mixture to make sure it is correct. A specially calibrated refractometer is the most reliable and practical means of verifying this. If the system was designed with 100% water, be VERY careful if you are now using glycol. Depending on the mixture percentage, this can drastically reduce the capacity of your system AND pump flow rates. 
  1. Do you have a backup plan for loss of power? If you choose to not use glycol, and will not be draining the system, you probably plan on running the pumps all winter to prevent a frozen evaporator or piping. But what happens if your chiller loses power? 

Did we miss anything? If so let us know so we can add it to our checklist for next time. You can tweet us at @cfmdistributors or email me at

Brad Telker
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