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The BFC Refrigeration Recap PDF Print E-mail

by Sabine Rhyne
February 2016

Recently, a shareholder asked for a more complete explanation about the refrigeration debacle that we were subjected to last fall. So, here is a more complete explanation of the event.

The refrigeration system that was conceived and installed in the new building was set up to redistribute reclaimed heat off of the refrigeration compressors to heat spaces and hot water for both the store and the Windham and Windsor apartments above. When it was started up and tuned back in 2012, the settings for the heat reclaim were set beyond the compressors’ ability. Engineers said the equipment could provide this heat reclaim load, but something was missed or miscalculated, and the system ultimately overloaded. Technically, when the settings for the fluid were set too high, the oil inside the compressors began to burn, which contaminated the refrigerant. This set up a chain of events that was revealed slowly, and affected valves and other components in the system. Thankfully, only one of the three loops in the system failed, but it failed during our hottest period because it had the highest load (all the freezers and all the cold storage space, both medium and low temps).
All who were involved with the breakdown now know quite a bit more about our system, and all of the equipment is now set at safe—though still efficient—levels. We have instituted new maintenance procedures to prevent such an event in the future. We also have ascertained that the system design had too many components on the system without backup, and we are working on plans to configure a backup system to protect our cold storage space from future failures, which we will install as soon as we are able. Thanks to Ian Aucoin, our facilities assistant manager, for his technical explanations and continuous pursuit of system equilibrium.