A chiller unit utilizes a whole host of important components, and all of them need to be kept in good order to ensure that the machine functions as efficiently as possible and enjoys the lowest possible chance of breaking.

Of those components, the compressor is among the most vital. Its role is to lower and increase the pressure of internal refrigerant to drive it into and out of the condenser. In many ways, its function is similar to that of the human heart; if the compressor isn't able to circulate refrigerant, the chiller system is not going to run effectively.

Be that as it may, many owners will ignore any potential problems with the compressor system, reasoning that smaller issues can be delayed. While this is true, no faulty compressor will remain working forever, and, in the meantime, you will risk damage to other components, so this is an issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

If you want to avoid falling foul of a broken chiller compressor, you need to know what to look out for, so here are just four common signs of growing trouble.

1. Faulty Fan

Regardless of the type of chiller that you use, an internal fan is needed to cool the compressor and prevent it from overheating. If this does not occur, or if the fan only cools the compressor intermittently, the compressor will not be able to properly cool down, which will dramatically inhibit its ability to pump refrigerant efficiently. Luckily enough, it is relatively easy to discern whether or not the fan is running. You should be able to feel it working if you place your hand on the machine, and you might notice that sound of the machine changes throughout the day.  

2. Clicking On and Off

One common compressor problem is compressor overload. When this occurs, the compressor will start to click on and off, and the issue is generally caused by a dirty relay. If a compressor is at risk of overload, it might eventually break completely, which will be a very expensive problem to put right. If your chiller's compressor starts clicking on and off without reason, or if it ceases to run at all, you need to contact an expert as soon as possible.

3. Hot Discharge Line

Your chiller system's discharge line can provide valuable hints as to the health of internal components, including the compressor. In fact, a higher temperature reading for the discharge line can be caused by numerous factors, including the presence of non-condensable materials, lack of refrigerant, and high condenser temperatures.

However, these issues will almost always manifest themselves as higher compression ratios within the compressor. When those higher compression ratios occur, the compressor is forced to work harder, creating more wear as well as raising its operating temperature. The discharge line leads right out from the compressor, so experts suggest measuring the temperature 1 to 2 inches away. If the discharge temperature exceeds 107°C, you need to call a professional.

4. High Compressor Amps

When oil becomes clogged in your chiller system's compressor, the bearings can begin to either lock up or fail completely. At the same time, an inadequate supply of oil will return to the main system. However, in some instances the bearings will not lock up but continue to wear. When this happens, you will be able to tell simply by measuring the compressor amps. If they exceed the full load ratings dictated by your manufacturer, it is likely that the compressor's bearings are not functioning properly. If you have a sightglass that can be used to see the oil level, check that it is not running low.

For more information and help with your chiller unit, contact professional service companies, like Maximus Chillers.