The 411 on Ammonia and Chillers

Ammonia, a natural refrigerant,  is a common choice for a refrigerant in very large cooling systems.  Here is the 411 on ammonia;  the benefits, the dangers and the necessary precautions.

Why Choose Ammonia?

1 –Ammonia is economical, effective, and efficient for large systems.

Ammonia is produced by biological processes and the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) states that ammonia is 3 to 10% more thermodynamically efficient than competitive refrigerants.  This allows an ammonia-based refrigeration system to achieve the same cooling effect while using less power.

2 –Ammonia breaks down quickly in the environment.

Ammonia is a natural refrigerant and normally lasts less than a week in the air.  In addition, ammonia has a GWP (Global Warming Potential) rating of 0 and an ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) rating of 0 as well.

3 –Ammonia smells.

Any spill or even the slightest leak is quickly and easily detected due to the offending odor.  However, it needs to be noted that steps must be taken to prevent liquid ammonia from getting into the sewage system or seeping into the ground.

Why Choose Ammonia?

Ammonia has many benefits when used in a chiller, however, there are dangers when using ammonia.

1 –Mislabeled pipes

Ammonia pipes that aren’t labeled properly could pose a serious safety risk to workers.  Impurities can enter the systems during repairs or normal service times.  Potential issues that are associated with impure ammonia include the release of ammonia due to excess water within the system freezing, which causes broken pipes and equipment.

2 -Leakage

Ammonia leaks may lead to seepage into food packaging and could contaminate food products.

3 -Effect on humans

Ammonia is not known to have long-term effects.  However, it can be problematic.  With direct contact, a person may experience symptoms similar to frost-bite, irritated eyes, coughing, congestion, and difficulty breathing.  Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia could lead to serious injuries.

Precautions when using Ammonia

Ammonia has many benefits when used in a chiller, however, there are precautions that should be adhered to in order to keep everything operating properly and safely.

1 –Clear labeling of all pipes and equipment

IIAR Bulletin No 114 specifies sizes, color, and arrangements for ammonia pipe and component labels.  This coherent system simplifies maintenance and promotes safety, and is compatible with ANSI/ASME A13.1 the most widely-used industrial standard for general facility pipe marking.

2 -Stay current with the latest news and code updates.

This information may be found by visiting The International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration.  Their mission is to provide advocacy, education, and standards for the benefit of the global community in the safe and sustainable design, installation and operation of ammonia and other natural refrigerant systems.

3 -Effective training and ensuring safeguards are in place.

Proper training and adhering to industry standards in regards to ammonia and all other natural refrigerants will tend to keep working places safe.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ammonia Chillers  or other natural refrigerant options and how they could benefit your process, our sales team is able to assist you.  Budzar Industries has been engineering, designing and manufacturing custom chillers for over four decades.  If your have questions or would like more information, please contact our team today!



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