# See any red flags? Let s take a look at the problems that occurred on the job and how to avoid making the same mistakes.

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2 temperature control and ensure that compressors are not cycled unnecessarily. The loop volume includes the fluid in the evaporator bundle, pipes, and coils. In many closecoupled systems for example where the air handlers and chillers are in the same equipment room the loop volume will not be adequate. The required loop volume varies by chiller manufacturer, chiller type, and unit control capabilities. Check with the manufacturer for each chiller specified. In this case, the required loop time was two minutes. So the system water volume required is the loop time multiplied by the water flow: 2 min. x 300 gpm = 600 gal [2 min. x 60 sec. per min. x 18.9 L/s = 2270 liters] Solution 2: Increase the loop volume to the required level. If the loop volume is close to that required, increasing the piping manifolds may be adequate. Otherwise add a buffer tank, preferably on the return side of the system, and on the chiller side of the bypass line. Ensure the system volume with the tank meets the required loop volume. To attain smoother system control, consider making the tank a little larger than the absolute minimum requirement. The additional cost and space will likely be small. Many designers will use 4 in [10 cm] line for this flow rate. Then select a valve to give proper bypass control. While not required, some consulting engineers specify a pressure independent valve for bypass. Issue 4: Flow can't be significantly reduced. Chiller design flow rate is 1.5 gpm per ton [0.027 L/s per kwr] and the minimum is 1.2 gpm per ton [0.022 L/s per kwr]. This means the flow rate can only be reduced 20 percent before reaching minimum. That's not much for a system that is supposed to be variable primary flow. Solution 4: Put the chillers in series! With chillers in series (Figure 2), the design flow rate per chiller is about 3.0 gpm per ton [0.054 L/s per kwr], allowing significant turndown. Design evaporator pressure drop increases since water must flow through both evaporator bundles. This increases design pump power. However, in many systems the flow rate is less than design flow much of the year, so the resulting pump energy increase may be small. To allow for servicing, engineers often design manual bypass lines into the system. The series chiller layout has two significant benefits: The upstream chiller operates at an elevated temperature and increased efficiency. Very often this compensates for any increase in pump energy. When chillers are piped in parallel in a VPF system, there is a significant flow rate change in the operating chiller when the second chiller is added. When the chillers are piped in series, there is no flow rate transition when the second chiller is enabled. This can greatly simplify system control. It may be beneficial to pipe the chillers in series if the system is designed for variable primary flow, has a chilled-water design temperature difference of 14 F [7.8 C] or larger, has two chillers, and is not likely to require a future expansion. If the system ΔT is 10 F [5.6 C], consider increasing it to 14 F [7.8 C] or larger. Issue 3: Oversized bypass line and valve do not provide adequate control. The bypass line is the same size as the pipe manifold. Given this fact, if a large valve is installed in this line, control at the minimum flow rate may be a challenge, since initially opening the valve a little allows significant flow to be bypassed. Solution 3: Size the bypass line and valve properly. In a variable primary flow system, size the bypass line for the largest minimum flow rate. In this case: 200 tons x 1.2 gpm per ton = 240 gpm [15 L/s] Figure 2. New variable primary flow (VPF) series chillers buffer tank 56ºF (13.3ºC) 47.5ºF (8.6ºC) manual bypass for servicing 40ºF (4.4ºC) flow meter Solution: install flow meter increase loop volume by adding a buffer tank size the bypass line for the largest minimum flow rate 2 Trane Engineers Newsletter volume 43 2 providing insights for today s HVAC system designer

3 Case 2: Conversion from Primary Secondary to Variable Primary Flow The system includes two 500-ton chillers in a primary-secondary configuration. The owner wants to convert the system to variable primary flow (VPF) and add a small (30-ton) heat recovery chiller. This job is "value engineered" to: use the existing secondary pumps (which can handle the flow and pressure drop requirements), switch out the high quality differential pressure sensor, which costs \$1500, to a \$100 sensor, and connect the heat recovery chiller in parallel with the existing chillers (Figure 3). Issue 1: The pumps are positioned incorrectly to allow bypass for minimum flow. Water cannot flow from right-to-left in the bypass line, so minimum flow cannot be maintained. Solution 1: Rather than converting to full variable primary flow, consider converting to variable primary/variable secondary. As its name implies, a variable primary/variable secondary system (Figure 4) employs variable primary (chiller) flow as well as variable secondary (coil) flow. In retrofitting a system, the use of the existing pumps already installed is generally simple. In contrast, converting to primary secondary requires significant piping changes, and the present secondary pumps must be moved and possibly increased in size. Figure 3. Case 2: After value-engineered conversion to VPF 54ºF (12.2ºC) Add a matched pair of temperature sensors to monitor the system returnwater temperature and the chiller return-water temperature. Control the primary pump s to maintain the chiller return-water temperature a degree or two lower than the system return-water temperature. This ensures there is always a little more chilled water being produced than demanded. If the temperature control results in chiller flow dropping below its minimum flow rate, increase the pump speed to maintain the required minimum chiller flow rate. Issue 2: It is likely the flow-sensing device is not accurate enough. A \$100 differential pressure sensor is very unlikely to provide the accuracy, reliability 44ºF (6.7ºC) control valve Figure 4. Convert to variable primary-variable secondary VPF conversion plan: additional 30-tons of heat recovery Value engineering: pumps - use secondary pumps, don t move them - remove primary pumps \$100 sensor rather than magnetic flow meter and repeatability required to operate a variable primary flow system. Unfortunately this seems to occur often. We suggest you resist the temptation to reduce costs when value will be lost. A VPF system operates on flow rate, so accuracy is critical. Solution 2: Specify and install an accurate, reliable and repeatable flowsensing device. It's very important that the flow-sensing device is accurate, reliable, and repeatable. Another benefit of a higher quality sensor is that, in general, it requires less calibration. The cost of a proper flow-sensing device will often be closer to \$1000 than \$100. Informative Appendix E of ASHRAE Guideline provides an example of flow measurement accuracy and precision specification language. To convert to variable primary/variable secondary: Contact the chiller provider to ensure that chiller unit controls can tolerate variable evaporator water flow. If not, update the unit controls. Add variable-speed drives (s) to the primary pumps (make sure the pump motors are compatible). Add a high quality differential pressure sensor across each evaporator. ΔT 54ºF (12.2ºC) 44ºF (6.7ºC) Solution: keep primary pumps and add s add and ΔT sensors control primary pump speed to maintain ΔT of 1-2 F if necessary, override temperature control to maintain minimum flow rate control valve providing insights for today s HVAC system designer Trane Engineers Newsletter volume

### *At the AHRI Standard flow rate of 3 gpm/ton, using today s efficient chillers, the ΔT is 9.3 F rather than the 10 F often assumed.

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