On average, depending on several factors such as use, load, and the general location, a chiller’s lifespan hovers around 25 years. Of course, they can last longer but you have some replacement options when its time comes around.
The key to success here is to be proactive: Understand your chiller’s status, leak rate, and efficiencies to weigh out your options. This is inclusive of general costs and time constraints. Refrigerant Finders is here to help you evaluate your options when it comes to your chiller and chiller health and offers several services to ease the burden of maintaining your equipment.
One option for your chiller is to do a full ‘change out’. This is your best bet when your chiller is failing.
Although this option is both costly and time-consuming, it is the most efficient, especially if your new chiller comes with warranties from the manufacturer. This process requires the refrigerant to be recovered (removed) from the chiller before it is cut down, often involving dismantling or breaking the unit into several pieces to be hauled off.
Your second option is to opt for a ‘retrofit’ and is arguably the best choice if circumstances allow.
Retrofitting is only possible if your current system’s refrigerant has a ‘drop-in replacement’ which is typically a swap of R-12 to R-134a or R-11 to R-123a. This task could be done in just a couple of days and includes removing the old refrigerant & oil and replacing some bearings. Retrofitting also creates the opportunity to sell your old refrigerant to offset the cost of the newer bearings, oil, and refrigerant. Refrigerant Finders offers competitive buyback pricing, can supply you with the new ‘drop-in’ refrigerant, and will do the recovery inclusive of the buyback price, talk about a win-win!
Another option is a ‘tear down’.
Tear down is often time-consuming and doesn’t necessarily elongate the life of your chiller. The process is as follows: testing chilling efficiencies, determining which parts need to be replaced, ordering the parts, and recovering the refrigerant from the chiller. Contrary to popular belief, there is no “Chillers R Us” store, and many, if not all parts must be ordered with a lead time of three or more weeks. Similar to a full “change out”, this option is time-consuming however, it can be very cost-effective. This in-depth procedure could be a comprehensive way to understand how much longer your chiller will be cool.
Your last option is to do nothing at all.
With regard to budget, chiller projects can be massive. These capital projects demand preparation and planning, without which – the costs can quickly swell. Ideally, chiller work is completed within the cooler months to reduce problems such as your AC malfunctioning in the midst of summer which could cause emergency cooling costs to rise before touching your chiller. In the end, you may come to appreciate the value of being proactive and not leaving everything to chance!
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Don’t Miss Out | Refrigerant Buy-Back
In 1987, all United Nations members signed an International Treaty known as the Montreal Protocol, which set the goal of ending the global production of CFCs by 1990.
Although the production was banned, there are no laws regarding the ongoing buying, selling, trading, or use of CFC refrigerants, the most common of which are R11 and R12. Since they’ve not been produced for more than thirty years, they can be quite valuable to people operating older chillers, and there is a ‘refrigerant buy-back’ market for those looking to obtain them. When overhauling your chiller, whether retrofit or decommissioning, this is a great way to offset the cost of your new equipment and labor. Typically valued on a per pound basis, those who have older chillers running on CFCs should be sure to seek a buyer of their old refrigerant in the buy-back market. If a buy-back price is not included in any upgrade or replacement contract, consider seeking other bids.
Don’t have CFCs? Some other classes of refrigerants, which include the likes of R22, R123a, and R134a, have buy-back value as well, though their value is not quite as high as CFCs. If you’re not sure what you have in your chiller, or if you want to assess how much it might be worth, Contact us to get a quote. and we’ll help point you in the right direction. Contact us to get a quote.