Craft beer equipment requires a significant amount of cooling during the brewhouse and fermentation processes to meet process requirements. The brewhouse process involves cooling the wort to the temperature necessary for yeast reproduction. In the fermentation process, it is crucial to maintain a constant temperature in the tank, and this is achieved by using ethylene glycol water or alcohol aqueous solution (referred to as refrigerant) to remove the heat generated by yeast during the decomposition of wort, thus providing a stable internal environment for yeast survival.
After absorbing heat, the refrigerant circulates back to the heat exchanger in the refrigerator where it exchanges heat with Freon. Low-temperature and low-pressure Freon vapor absorbs the heat brought back by the refrigerant, becoming high-temperature and high-pressure gas.
After compression by the compressor, it becomes high-temperature and high-pressure Freon gas. Heat is then exchanged with the air through the condenser and fan, resulting in Freon liquid at normal temperature and high pressure. Through the throttling effect of the expansion valve, it is sprayed into the refrigerator’s heat exchanger, cooling the refrigerant. This cycle represents the working principle of the refrigerator we use.
The cooling effect of an air-cooled chiller is influenced by factors such as outside air temperature, humidity, and floating objects in the air. When installing and using the unit, pay attention to the following three situations:
- Temperature: Select an installation location that is cool and well-ventilated. Leave a ventilation distance of 40cm around the unit to increase energy efficiency by allowing significant temperature differences and smooth ventilation.
- Humidity: Air with higher humidity provides better cooling performance compared to dry air.
- Floating objects: Poplar catkins, dust, hair, etc., can accumulate on the surface of the condenser due to the fan’s suction. This reduces air circulation efficiency, increases compressor load, energy consumption, and deteriorates refrigeration effect. It is essential to clean the condenser’s surface regularly to remove these attachments.
Focus on Temperature
Similar to household air conditioners, some Freon needs to be added annually. During chiller operation, monitor the cooling effect through the high and low-pressure gauge of the unit. The pointer value of the high-pressure gauge reflects the current pressure and temperature. The temperature should be 5-10°C higher than the ambient temperature. If the temperature difference falls below this range, it indicates poor cooling effect and potential Freon deficiency.
Understanding the air-cooled chiller’s working principle and precautions enables better daily maintenance. Pay attention to resolving minor issues promptly to avoid accumulation and major failures. We hope this article is helpful to everyone!
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