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Thread: Water in Chillers?

  1. #1
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    Water in Chillers?

    Hi Guys

    Looking for some chiller problem solving help
    Problem

    This summer this Carrier 30XWB 250 ton water to water lost 300 of the 435 lbs of R134a
    I have recovered the remaining refrigerant and removed the water from the vessels
    I isolated the leak to the condenser tubes through a isolated pressure test
    On Friday the Eddy Current tech found pin hole in bottome tube.
    I will plug this tube today

    Science Question

    So if my Water pressure in the condenser tubes is 125 psi and my refrigerant average operation pressure is 100 psi
    has some water leaked in ? Or is the water traveling too fast.
    I did used a "Totaltest test" on the vapor of the refrigerant and found no moisture.
    The place I use to get the oil test closed, so I havent got the oil tested, Is there a DIY Oil test for moisture.
    so Im thinking of just changing what I can get out of the oil separator.
    And also thinking of not using remaining refrigerant but can't deciede yet

    My experince with water in chillers is 50 / 50
    I dont want the EXv to ice-up

    Thoughts?

    Thanks guys

  2. #2
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    Based on your dp, there will be water in the refrigerant side. Oil acid test kits are available at most supply houses.

    Once refrigerant recovered do not let air into the system, keep nitrogen purge on the system until ready for evacuation. Use only properly sized, 2 piece, brass plugs, with locktite for plugging tubes.

    Blow nitrogen from low points to help purge any water that may have entered.

    Would not use the small remaining charge to be safe.

    Test the exv for travel & stroke, may can thru the controller or can use sporlan test module.

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  4. #3
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    The reason we can get refrigerant into a operating system is because the pressure in the refrigerant cylinder is higher than the system pressure.
    So if your waterside pressure is higher than the refrigerant side pressure and there's a compromise between the two I don't see how it couldn't have been contaminated.

  5. #4
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    May also want to open the compressor inspection plates once evacuated to inspect for any damages.

  6. #5
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    You are wasting your time without a good oil analysis. There are many labratories that can do this for you quickly if you just look around.

    We use Frick/JCI for all our chiller oils analysis tests. At the same time I have a few canisters of Nu-Calgons oil analysis that I have used, too. In all cases you must submit a sample, and you can request priority testing at an additional cost. But it will be most worth it in you case. If you have no water in your oil and your TAN is very low, then you can feel pretty confident in the direction you need to go with this repair. If your water and/or TAN levels are high, then you can generate that plan of attack.

    I had to use the Googler, but the Nu-Calgon product we use on occasion is their "Total Lube" Oil Test Kit..part# 4996-0

    As for scientific and what-if questions....I have given up a long time ago trying to guess what may be going on and what may have gone on with any hermetic system. A lot of money and time is at risk here if you get things wrong, so I would side with getting an oil analysis than dealing with wild a$$ guesses.

  7. #6
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    Unless JCI changed they outsource and use their letterhead for reports.

    List of recommended testing labs;
    Rocky Research
    Wear Check
    Thompson Labs
    Integral Sciences

    They will need unit model, refrigerant & oil type info,

  8. #7
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    Skip the analysis. Just change the oil and the refrigerant.

    You have 3 potential options with the analysis. 1) Report says it’s wet…you will change the oil and refrigerant to cover your ass.
    2) Report says it’s close/marginal….you will change the oil and refrigerant to cover your ass.
    3) Report says it’s dry….you know for a fact that your pressures were upside down and you had a leak….you will change the oil and refrigerant to cover your ass.

    Analysis (oil, refrigerant, vibration, megging, etc) are for trending and to help you make a decision on conditions that you are unaware of.

    When you can feel the vibration in your feet, you don’t need vibration analysis (if you knew me, you would know that was hard to type). When the compressor is blowing the breaker, you don’t need to meg the motor winding insulation. When you know there was a leak and the water pressure was higher than the refrigerant pressure, you don’t need an analysis to determine there was water. This, to me, is an easy and clear cut.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayguy View Post
    Skip the analysis. Just change the oil and the refrigerant.

    You have 3 potential options with the analysis. 1) Report says it’s wet…you will change the oil and refrigerant to cover your ass.
    2) Report says it’s close/marginal….you will change the oil and refrigerant to cover your ass.
    3) Report says it’s dry….you know for a fact that your pressures were upside down and you had a leak….you will change the oil and refrigerant to cover your ass.

    Analysis (oil, refrigerant, vibration, megging, etc) are for trending and to help you make a decision on conditions that you are unaware of.

    When you can feel the vibration in your feet, you don’t need vibration analysis (if you knew me, you would know that was hard to type). When the compressor is blowing the breaker, you don’t need to meg the motor winding insulation. When you know there was a leak and the water pressure was higher than the refrigerant pressure, you don’t need an analysis to determine there was water. This, to me, is an easy and clear cut.
    Agree, but would follow-up with analysis after back on line and again after ~ 6 mons.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehsx View Post
    Agree, but would follow-up with analysis after back on line and again after ~ 6 mons.
    💯

  11. #10
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    Thread Starter
    Awesome Guys
    Thanks for the input

    So I gave Carrier parts/factory tech support one and half weeks to locate the Ring and Pin for these tubes, gave them photo of the Carrier manual which had part number but just not Carrier part number
    They could not locate the ring and pin !
    So the manual said to Contact Carrier which I did or Contact Elliot Tube Company, which is a typo in the Carrier manual its actually Elliot Tool Company. They were super helpful. Pins and rings are on the way
    As an intermediate Non factory chiller guy I did not know about the Elliot Tool Company in Dayton Ohio

    Thanks again

  12. #11
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    I will make a few suggestions, based upon your post. Once you have secured all known leaks, leak tested and feel sure you are leak free, pressurize with nitrogen passed thru a new 082 (or similar) flare drier and leave a standing pressure test of trace gas refrigerant and nitrogen at 100 psi. Minimum 24 hours pressure test. Do not leave any external connections such as manifold gauges connected. Afterward, perform another thorough electronic leak detector search after verifying pressure test held. If all looks good, before releasing pressure test meg ohm compressor windings and record readings, especially meg readings between windings. Release refrigerant/nitrogen mixture (it only takes a few ounces of trace gas refrigerant by the way), and evacuate the system to at least 500 microns if it will pull. ( preferably without water in the tube bundles and oil removed from seperator) Using standard evacuation rise of microns rate try to get an indication of moisture infiltration. This becomes your baseline of how to proceed. JayGuy is correct with oil and refrigerant replacement. Your second evacuation sequence would be to break the vacuum and push out oil from the seperator again. Might be a good time to compare micron readings again. Let that nitrogen pressure reside in the system for a few hours. From this point on you are looking for milky vacuum pump oil and improvement in microns readings. Be absolutely sure that your vacuum is occuring on both sides of the system!!! Meg ohm readings should only be performed with dry nitrogen in the system!!!! If your indications suggest moisture present, then rust in the compressor screws is a valid concern. A visual inspection decision may be required, however on that particular model compressor you will really need an experienced exam. Honestly the meg ohm readings between winding is a good indicator. You may just preclude the inspection, and as JayGuy says see where it goes when restarted. Using this procedure you haven't really spent a lot of money (yet) but you have analyzed moisture infiltration a little more. If it starts looking good, check your Exv operation. It should be noted that some oil will be trapped in the bottom of the compressor body and can sometimes be pushed out by removing the very bottom fitting with just a slight positive pressure. You will however need a new o'ring to reinstall the fitting. Otherwise just leave it there and interpolate that oil presence in your micron readings. (yes, oil vapor does effect a good micron gauge). If everything mentioned above looks really crappy, time to do some serious thinking on how much it is going to cost and how much of a good product remains.

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