4 Problems That Can Arise with a Glycol Chiller System

15 March 2017
 Categories: , Articles


Glycol chillers use an anti-freeze solution and utilize several inhibitors to ensure that damage is prevented from occurring. As a result, glycol chillers are incredibly reliable, especially compared against systems that use mains water, but that reliability can be something of a double-edged sword.

The very fact that glycol chillers seldom offer any issues for their owners to deal with means that those owners often forget to check the system for any signs of trouble.

Of course, glycol system failures are relatively few and far between, but that doesn't mean that they will never occur. Therefore, it makes sense to keep an eye on your unit, so read through this list of four common failures and the ways you can spot them.

1. Pump Failure

The pump is one of the most important parts of your machine. Unfortunately, even the most dependable glycol pump can eventually develop problems after serving you for years. Most of the time, that failure will be a leak at the rear seal. When the rear seal fails, a very small amount of glycol will begin to leak out of the system.

This in itself is far from ideal, but it's a problem compounded by the fact that leaks from the rear seal of the glycol pump often cause fluid to run into the front bearing of the motor. Motors have a very low tolerance for moisture, so damage will almost always occur. Make sure you periodically check that the seal is intact.

2. Lack of Glycol Solution

There are several reasons why a glycol chiller might begin to lose its glycol solution, including the kind of leak detailed above. Glycol leaking into the system is bad, but any type of leak can cause problems, since this will result in the amount of glycol in the system falling below the minimum storage tank volume dictated by the manufacturer.

If there is not enough glycol in the system, air will be sucked into the pump. This is known as pump cavitation, and it will result in an immediate freeze up of the chiller. Additionally, the pressure can loosen further components. Luckily, you can easily prevent such problems by simply checking the level of glycol in your chiller on a regular basis.

3. Tripped Overload

Sometimes the glycol pump will not turn on, despite previously running perfectly well. You might be tempted to contact a professional if this occurs, but it might be an issue that is down to nothing more than a tripped overload switch.

Make sure the power is turned off, then open the control panel and find the motor starter. If you don't know where it is, just look in your owner's manual. Flip the starter, and you should have the system running again. If the overload switch trips again and shuts off the motor, a larger issue is probably the cause, in which case you will want to seek out a service technician.

4. Restriction to Fluid Flow

Flow restriction is serious. If certain parts of the system aren't receiving the correct amount of glycol, it is possible that those components will get damaged. Additionally, the chiller could start to perform inefficiently enough to impact the cooling process, which could lead to serious consequences.

Flow restrictions can be caused by several internal issues, including grime within the pipes or a closed valve. However, you shouldn't have any problems knowing that something is wrong. Flow restrictions will almost always cause a Freeze Alarm to activate. If your Freeze Alarm activates, don't just shut it off without calling a professional to have the problem investigated and addressed by an expert technician.

For more information and help with maintaining your chiller system, contact a repair company, such as Maximus Chillers.