Chillers are essential for meeting the temperature requirements of several industrial processes, thus, consuming significant amounts of energy in these facilities. As a result, operators must prioritize the correct operation and maintenance approach to maximize system performance, ensure prolonged lifespan, and minimize energy costs. This article identifies common chiller problems and solutions and highlights relevant troubleshooting guidelines.

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3 Common Causes of Chiller Problems

Incorrect operating practices, negligence to maintenance, and incorrect chiller sizing are three common causes of chiller problems. Therefore, operators must actively consider these factors to mitigate potential threats to the cooling equipment.

1. Improper Operation

Industrial chillers come with manuals containing manufacturer’s guidelines for correctly operating them. Operators must follow these guidelines as poor operating practices adversely affects equipment efficiency and lifespan. While these cooling systems may continue working regardless of improper practices, it is noteworthy that the systems become more susceptible to more severe and expensive problems. Mitigating this threat involves implementing training programs on correct chiller operation and maintenance and efficient chiller maintenance programs.

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2. Maintenance Neglect

Operators may disregard proper maintenance practices, which are detrimental to the overall performance of chillers and lead to excessive energy consumption. Operators must ensure effective maintenance comprising adequate equipment diagnostics using operating logs. Moreover, chiller units require regular inspections to ascertain their conditions and schedule preventive and corrective maintenance.

3. Incorrect Sizing

Chiller sizing is a top consideration for installing cooling systems in industrial facilities. Undersized equipment may lead to insufficient airflow and cooling capacity inefficiencies. Conversely, oversizing restricts low-load operations significantly and results in higher operating costs. Operators must assess the cooling capacity of existing chillers to ascertain their suitability for the prevalent cooling loads.

Troubleshooting Common Chiller Problems

Chillers remain vulnerable to damage regardless of proper operation and regular maintenance due to degradation or deterioration over time. Understanding common initial troubleshooting steps can allow operators to identify the potential issue before chiller repairs.

Chiller Won’t Start

Two common factors that can prevent chillers from starting include loose wiring and a blown fuse/circuit breaker. Moreover, a power switch in the off state may prevent the chiller from running. Operators must check the equipment for these common problems to ensure the system runs effectively.

Insufficient Cooling

Operators can troubleshoot this problem by checking the temperature of the coolant at the chiller outlet. A temperature different from the standard process requirement indicates an iced-up evaporator or deteriorating coolant fluid.

Insufficient Pumping

Insufficient pumping may result from inadequate coolant volume, a partially closed valve, pump failure, or process line restrictions. These factors can significantly prevent adequate coolant flow within the refrigeration cycle.

Additional Chiller Problems

Manufacturers equip modern-day chiller systems with fault or error code display capabilities. These features can rapidly notify operators about prevalent conditions affecting system performance. Moreover, operators can rapidly diagnose and identify problems due to the specificity of the error codes and fault displays. Some common conditions or faults chiller systems notify operators about include:

High Temperature

The process temperature may increase above the user-set temperature value of the chiller system. This condition can trigger an alarm from the system and may result from a higher heat load than the chiller capacity. Moreover, a lower setting than standard requirements in the chiller system may also trigger the high-temperature alarm.

Low Temperature

A process temperature below the user-set temperature value can also trigger an alarm. This condition is common with insufficient heat load or improper low-temperature alarm settings in the chiller system.

Low Coolant Level

This condition involves the coolant falling below the acceptable level in the chiller reservoir. A low coolant level alarm may go off as a result of evaporation or leakages in the evaporation system within the chiller.


An over-temperature safety alarm can go off in a chiller system when the process temperature exceeds the user- or factory-set safety cutoff. Refrigeration system issues or improper safety settings are common causes of this over-temperature problem.

Questions? Contact the Experts at Cold Shot Chillers!

At Cold Shot Chillers, we offer our clients high expertise and deliver advanced solutions for various industrial applications. Our best-in-class air-cooled and water-cooled chillers can efficiently reduce and maintain the ideal temperature for all your cooling needs. At the same time, our experts can help you adequately troubleshoot and identify prevalent chiller issues.

Contact our experts today for further information about our industrial chilling products and services.