The dramatic reduction in routine maintenance during the extended lockdowns is causing a spike in refrigeration compressor breakdowns, according to an industry firm.
Green Point UK, BITZER, the UK’s compressor remanufacturing and support arm, is urging air conditioning and refrigeration contractors and end users to re-establish regular planned maintenance and servicing to make sure that cooling plants remain in good condition and that any problems that developed during lockdown are addressed before they result in compromised performance or total breakdown.
Will Pribyl, Green Point UK general manager, said: “A lot of planned, routine maintenance that would normally have been carried out during the lockdowns was suspended, for perfectly understandable reasons. However, refrigeration equipment continued to operate throughout this time and was subject to all the usual wear and tear, with the inevitable consequences for components, wear parts and impact on filters and motors.
“We are already seeing the results of this in terms of compressor failures and system issues. If people have not already done so, we highly recommend that contractors and end users reinstate maintenance regimes so that any issues can be addressed and equipment brought back up to scratch.”
Pribyl added that the coming winter months provide “an essential window of opportunity to carry out this work before the warmer weather in the spring puts pressure on systems and exposes weaknesses that have developed”.
A key part of routine maintenance for multi-pack systems includes planned rotation of compressors. The issue particularly affects packs with relatively simple control systems whose default run sequence results in extended running hours for certain compressors, while other units remain underused or even idle for extended periods.
Pribyl concluded: “On many multi-compressor packs, a small number of compressors often end up doing much of the work due to the run sequencing control and load profile. This is obviously not ideal and invites trouble. Add to this the cutback in routine maintenance during the pandemic, and it creates a serious source of stress and risk for refrigeration systems.”