Pipe Size Guidelines for Chiller Rentals

You may need to rent a chiller for a long-term or temporary project, or you might need a chiller rental in an emergency situation. In either case you will find detailed specifications for the many chillers that are available for rental. You may be tempted to rent a chiller solely on the basis of the unit’s specifications, but the best and most efficient rental chiller is not necessarily the one that has the best specifications. Rather, you need to consider all other factors and components that are in the chiller’s operating environment, and you need to pay particular attention to the size of pipe that you need to run for your chiller.

Most chiller applications start with a few generic rules on pipe sizing and ignore everything else. Keep in mind that these rules are only a starting point and that there are several other issues to consider in order to optimize your pipe sizes for the most efficient chiller operation.

The first rule is that the pipes should never have a smaller diameter than the diameter of the chiller’s discharge line connection. This same rule is true for cooling towers and pumps. Work sites that need to rent a chiller on an emergency basis, for example, can easily neglect to check existing piping sizes when the more pressing issue of resuming chiller operations is looming. If the rental chiller discharges fluid into a pipe system that becomes more constricted due to a diameter than is narrower than the discharge pipe diameter, you run the risk of having fluid back-pressure in the system that can harm pumps and other pipe connections. The diameter reduction can also affect the energy levels of the chiller fluid and impair the unit’s efficiency and chilling ability. At a minimum, make sure that the chiller discharge outlet diameter is no greater than the diameter of the system’s pipes.

Next, if your system has a high flow rate or long piping runs, you will likely want a rental chiller with discharge outlets that have a smaller diameter than the piping diameter. Fluid that flows at a quick rate or that runs through a very long length of piping will lose energy and will run more sluggishly in narrow pipes. Just as hardened and narrower arteries in your body will put excess stress on your heart muscle, narrower pipes will put stress on your chiller’s pump operations. Select a rental chiller with a smaller discharge outlet than the diameter of existing pipes.

If you need to install an external bypass for the chiller, the bypass piping should be the same size as the supply piping. For best operations, you should install a gate valve in the bypass line. Gate valves regulate fluid flow in the bypass line with a linear dam that drops into the line. The gate gives you the best control over fluid flow in the line and allows you to tune the flow to best coincide with the chiller’s operations.

Piping for a rental chiller should not be ignored or left as an afterthought. Your chiller rental source should help you select not only the best chiller for your specific application, but it should also help you determine if the chiller that you want to rent is compatible with existing piping. If no piping already exists, your source should also help you select piping that works best with your chiller in your application.

J.C.Younger Company rents chillers for all manner of industrial applications, including construction, bakeries, beef and poultry processors, breweries, chemical manufacturers, milk processing and dairy farms, feed mills, and medical, metal, and pharmaceutical applications. Please see our website or contact us for answers to your questions on pipe sizing for your chillers.


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