When choosing to rebuild your compressors, trust in the vendor doing the work is key. There are many companies offering compressor rebuilding services, but the end product quality can vary widely between companies. Rebuilding compressors can save you money – but only if the rebuild is done correctly. A common theme for rebuilt compressors is that the quality of the final job can vary a lot. Why is this? You get what you pay for. There is a parallel variance in the pricing of compressor rebuild jobs, so the lowest price isn’t necessarily the best way to choose who rebuilds your compressor. The pricing often reflects the degree to which a remanufacturer will go in rebuilding your compressor. Since most of what is done is on the inside of the unit, there are many opportunities for remanufacturers to skimp on component quality to save money. At Sterling Refrigeration we don’t skimp, and the compressor we rebuild for you will meet or exceed the original manufacturer’s specifications.
Having Sterling Refrigeration provide full service system operation can be a cost effective solution that lets you focus on running your business without the need to hire additional employees to keep your refrigeration system up and running optimally. Having a contract for full service allows you to allocate costs better because 100% of the costs are attributable to system operations, as opposed to the additional HR costs of employee benefits that aren’t directly tied to system operations. It is also less costly because you aren’t paying for someone to be there 8 hours a day, whether they’re needed or not. By using Sterling Refrigeration, you will have access to the newest and most advanced technologies and training to keep your system running as effectively as possible. We will be able to give you a comprehensive, documented report of all maintenance and repair work done, so you can review your system’s operational cost history for purposes of upgrading or replacing system components.
When you need repairs, Sterling Refrigeration offers bids based on time and materials. There are pros and cons between flat rate pricing and time and material pricing, but time and material pricing allows for a more fairly priced job. You should be dealing with a vendor you trust, of course, but a flat rate price has to price for unexpected problems or equipment issues. The job cannot truly be accurately priced. With time and material pricing, we agree to the basic job to be done, and if any unexpected issues turn up we can then present accurate cost options to you. Time and material bidding can also give you details on how the job is done correctly, since the time billing required to complete the job will list the tasks performed.
Comprehensive system inspections are key, not just for preventative maintenance, but also for safety. Ammonia can be dangerous in large enough quantities and system inspections of piping can alert you to a deteriorating pipe that may burst under pressure or leak. Pipe insulation may hide rust or deterioration, particularly if has had water leaking on it or there is loose space between the insulation and the pipe where water vapor could form. All electrical components should be checked for fraying, pitting or discoloration. Look for indications of loose wires, voltage fluctuations or overcurrent conditions. These inspections are designed to examine your system in greater depth than the usual maintenance work. They can also give you indications of future equipment replacement needs. The technicians at Sterling Refrigeration are trained to constantly be on the lookout for system irregularities that, if let unaddressed, could cost you a lot of money later. If comprehensive system inspections repeatedly turn up some of the same issues, it could indicate system design or installation issues that need to be corrected.
Preventative maintenance programs are necessary to reduce energy use, keep equipment from wearing out prematurely, and minimize emergency repairs. At Sterling Refrigeration we do the maintenance on the agreed upon schedule and make it easy for you to verify that the work was done. Preventative maintenance makes sure that your energy usage is kept to a minimum. Well-functioning equipment will cool more efficiently. Proper maintenance will save you the expense of emergency repairs (which always seem to happen at night, or weekends or holidays). Making sure that filters are replaced and condensers aren’t clogged, will help extend the life of your equipment, which will reduce your capital expenditures. With a regular maintenance program in place, you’ll be able to track the wear and tear on your equipment, be better able to anticipate equipment replacement, and have it budgeted in your fiscal forecast.
Ammonia refrigeration systems have some advantages over other refrigerants. Ammonia has physical properties that make it well-suited for large industrial systems, as it is 3 to 10% more thermodynamically efficient than some of the other refrigerants. Another plus for ammonia is that it degrades rather quickly if it escapes the system. It lasts less than a week if it is accidently vented out into the air. Another virtue of ammonia is that it has a pungent smell that alerts you to leaks quickly. One caution about ammonia is that it’s not compatible with copper, so it couldn’t be used if there are any copper pipes you would need to run your refrigerant through.
A consideration with an ammonia refrigeration system is whether you have it configured in a “central station” configuration or a “distributed station” configuration. No matter which configuration you have, Sterling Refrigeration engineers can work with you to maximize cooling efficiency. The central station setup requires higher line pressure and larger quantities of ammonia. This can contribute to more frequent leaks, as a 200,000 square foot facility could require a refrigerant charge from 35,000 to 45,000 lbs. This also could lead to more compliance costs as Homeland Security wants to keep track of facilities with charges over 10,000 lbs. On the plus side, all your equipment will be in one room and most of your maintenance will be in one room and not all over the building. With a distributed station setup, each evaporator has its own set of compressors, condensers and vessels that operate with a low refrigerant charge of around 3,000 lbs. You’ll be using less refrigerant in total, and the lower pressure should minimize leaks. One advantage is that each evaporator station can be set up for a critical refrigerant charge without needing to be pumped back to a central location. Not having to pump the refrigerant through the whole facility should also reduce energy costs.
Creating a refrigeration system for a large commercial/industrial space covering tens of thousands of square feet is a complex undertaking. Industrial refrigeration system design involves safety considerations, as you could have hot gases moving under high pressure for hundreds of feet, for example. It involves economic considerations between energy usage and equipment costs versus cooling efficiency. Controlling the whole system is part of the design equation in the placement of sensors, the controlling software and thermostats, as well as monitoring and warning systems. Our company, Sterling Refrigeration, will design your system and offer total support and training to go with your specific installation, which is customized for the physical layout of your facility and the type of refrigeration needed.
Because of the large amount of customization required in industrial refrigeration system design, you can say it is a mix of art and science. The science comes in knowing how to connect all the pieces to create a functional refrigeration process. The art comes in knowing how to tweak that process to maximize cooling efficiency and cost reduction. There could be situations where there are long runs of piping, moving through areas of different air temperatures, and what tradeoffs to make between using more insulated pipe or accepting greater temperature/density fluctuations for the refrigerants in the pipe, for example.