Prepare Your System for Cooling Season

Chilled water pumping and heat exchanger systems play a crucial role in maintaining optimal temperatures in your commercial and residential buildings. Efficient seasonal startup procedures are essential to maintain the smooth operation and longevity of these systems while maximizing energy efficiency. One of the benefits of being connecting to District Energy is that our team is always willing to assist with this process and provide guidance. In this article, we will outline a comprehensive startup procedure for chilled water pumping and heat exchanger systems, covering preparation, safety measures, and operational guidelines to provide a guide that your teams can reference as you move into cooling season.

Pre-Startup Preparation

  • Equipment Inspection: Before startup, thoroughly inspect the chilled water pump(s), heat exchanger(s), associated piping, valves, and control systems for any signs of damage, leaks, or corrosion.
  • Lubrication: Ensure that all moving parts, such as bearings and shafts, are properly lubricated according to manufacturer recommendations.
  • Electrical Checks: Verify that electrical connections are secure and conduct a visual inspection of wiring for any signs of wear or damage.
  • System Pressures: Ensure that the system’s static pressure and expansion tank meets design intent. Fill with appropriately treated water to prevent air locked locations. Consult your water treatment vendor for water treatment guidance.
  • Control System Check: Test the control system, including sensors, actuators, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), to ensure proper functioning and communication.
  • Verify water chemistry to prevent any contamination, scaling, or corrosion inside the closed systems. Consult your water treatment vendor for water treatment guidance.
  • Replace new filter media in system filter, if applicable.
  • Verify chilled water coils have been filled and blead of any air

Safety Measures

  • For personnel safety and to protect equipment, maintenance tasks should only be performed by qualified and trained individuals.
  • Lockout/Tagout: Implement lockout/tagout procedures to de-energize and secure the system from accidental startup during maintenance or inspection.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Ensure that personnel involved in the startup process wear appropriate PPE, including safety glasses, gloves, and hearing protection.
  • Emergency Shutdown Procedures: Review emergency shutdown procedures with all personnel involved, including how to stop the system in the event of a malfunction or hazardous situation.

Startup Procedure

  • Start the Chilled Water Pump: Gradually start the chilled water pump according to manufacturer specifications, avoiding sudden surges in flow rate or pressure.
  • Monitor System Pressure: Monitor system pressure gauges and check that pressure levels remain within the recommended range during startup.
  • Verify Flow Rates: Use flow meters to verify that chilled water flow rates meet design specifications and adjust pump speed or valve settings if necessary.
  • Heat Exchanger: Once the chilled water pump is operational, check the heat exchanger system, ensuring that valves are opened gradually to prevent water hammer effects. Verify differential pressure on both sides are within specifications
  • Monitor Temperature: Continuously monitor inlet and outlet temperatures on both sides of the heat exchanger to ensure efficient heat transfer and proper system operation.
  • Adjust Setpoints: Fine-tune control system setpoints for temperature, pressure, and flow rate as needed to achieve desired system performance. Note: District Energy’s chilled water minimum return temperature requirement is 56˚F.

Operational Guidelines

  • Regular Maintenance: Schedule routine maintenance tasks, including lubrication, filter replacement, inspection of mechanical components, and verify pressure differential across heat exchangers to prevent downtime and extend equipment lifespan.
  • Energy Optimization: Work with controls contractor to implement energy-saving strategies such as variable speed drives and optimized control algorithms to minimize energy consumption without sacrificing performance.
  • Monitoring and Remote Control: Utilize remote monitoring and control systems to monitor system performance in real-time and diagnose issues remotely, if possible.

Efficient startup of chilled water pumping and heat exchanger systems is essential for promoting smooth operation, energy efficiency, and safety. By following a comprehensive startup procedure, including pre-startup preparation, safety measures, and operational guidelines, operators can minimize the risk of downtime, optimize energy usage, and extend the lifespan of equipment. Regular maintenance and monitoring further contribute to the reliable and efficient operation of these critical systems. If you or your team has questions about this process or anything related to your district energy connection please contact our team at 651-297-8955 , email, or support request form.