Keeping the heat out by insulating chilled water systems

Dec 8, 2020 | Shannon Blog

Insulation is often associated with keeping heat in, unless insulating chilled water systems is the focus. Both the fiberglass insulation in the walls of a home and an insulation blanket on a steam system work to prevent heat from escaping. But, in the case of a chilled water system, facility managers can apply insulation in counterintuitive ways – keeping heat from penetrating a system.

Shannon Global Energy Solutions has designed its trademark reusable insulation blankets for chilled water systems. In the same way insulation blankets can retain heat, a blanket applied to a chilled water system can prevent heat energy from raising the water’s temperature. In addition, the removable and reusable design of the blanket allows for ease of maintenance.

“It allows maintenance staff to replace an insulation product over a chilled surface much more quickly than other options,” said Mike Makofsky, Northeast regional manager for Shannon.

Insulating chilled water systems can prove more challenging than an extremely hot steam system, since Shannon has to design the blanket to fit the component tightly.

“If you get air in there, you’ll have sweating. Preventing that comes down to developing and manufacturing the proper design,” added Makofsky.

Sweating components create issues of efficiency and safety. An uncovered chilled water system will use more energy to maintain a cool temperature, as the outside air constantly warms it. Covering the water chiller adequately allows the system to run more efficiently.

“It’s like keeping your thermostat at 60 degrees Fahrenheit on the hottest, muggiest summer day,” Makofsky said. “The compressor is just going to run, run, run and never catch up.”

Sweating also creates a safety hazard in the work environment, since pools of water can cause employees to potentially slip, trip or fall. Covering the components with insulation blankets both prevents accidents and keeps chilled water systems running smoothly.

A medical center came to Shannon, looking for something to cover chilled glycol pumps. Shannon designed and installed blankets to cover the pumps. Through Shannon’s CAD-CNC design and manufacturing process, the blanket designers accommodated the medical center facility manager’s request for a gap in the blanket to make maintenance on the components easier.

“We create and develop new designs based on our client’s needs and processes,” remarked Makofsky.

Adapting to the needs of each customer or the whole market is just one of the things that has made Shannon the leader in its field for more than 30 years.

“What makes Shannon the leader is we’re willing to take on challenges our competition typically doesn’t,” said Makofsky.