4-Step Guide For Troubleshooting Your Factory's Cooling System That Keeps Icing Over During Winter

Industrial & Manufacturing Articles

If your factory has a cooling system that runs year-round to keep the equipment at optimal temperatures, you may find that it ices over during the winter months. If so, use the four steps below to troubleshoot and fix potential simple problems that are not related to the weather.

Step 1:  Inspect The Outer Vents For Clogs

The first step involves inspecting the outer vents of the cooling unit for clogs caused by dirt and dust. If the vents become blocked, the air is unable to flow freely throughout the unit and the ducts. When this happens, cold air can become trapped inside, causing ice to form on the shell.

The problem can become compounded when ice starts to clog the vents. The additional blockages then trap more cold air, adding layers of ice to that already formed on the casing.

If you find dirt or dust, use a stiff broom to clean it out. If ice is also trapped in the vents, carefully chip away small pieces using a putty knife or the head of a flathead screwdriver. However, do not hit the ice too hard, as the metal may be brittle and could shatter.

If the vents appear clear, go on to the next step.

Step 2:  Change The Filter

Another potential cause of the ice formation is a clogged filter. As with the air vents discussed in the first step, a dirty filter can hinder the air flow and trap cold air inside the unit. 

If the filter is dirty, change it out with one recommended by the manufacturer. Then, set up a schedule to change the filter more frequently during the winter months to keep the unit from icing up. However, if the filter is clean or the unit continues to freeze up after changing it, go on to the next step.

Step 3:  Check The Refrigerant Level

After ruling out the vents and filter, check the refrigerant level on the unit. If the level is too low, the inconsistencies in the refrigerant's flow could be making the air colder than needed.

If the refrigerant is low, and you feel comfortable doing so, you can add more yourself. Before doing this, however, review the manual that came with the unit to ensure you are following the manufacturer's recommendations for level and pressure. You should also review safety procedures to use while handling the refrigerant, such as wearing heavy gloves and eye protections.

However, if the refrigerant level is higher than the manufacturer recommends, this could also be an issue. If this is the case, you will need to have one of your maintenance crew who is certified in removing the excess to deal with the problem. If no one is available, you may want to contact the company or a deicing service to handle the removal for you.

If the refrigerant level is normal, or the unit continues to ice over, go on to the next step.

Step 4:  Listen To The Compressor

Another potential problem with your unit could be the compressor. If it is not cycling properly or is staying on even when the desired temperature is reached, the compressor itself could start freezing over, which decreases the unit's air dramatically. Eventually, the entire unit could freeze up.

To check the compressor, listen carefully to see if it kicks on and off when you change the thermostat. If not, it may need to be replaced. If it sounds like it is working properly, the icing problem could be caused by the weather.

If you still do not find the source of the problem with your company's cooling unit, cold weather could be the culprit. If so, you may need to contact a service that provides deicing services, such as the GMCO Corporation, to keep the unit from freezing up completely.


7 March 2017

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