The Background

Upper Perkiomen High School, located in Pennsburg, PA, experienced a serious mechanical problem in the weeks leading up to graduation. Over the course of several weeks, their 360 ton water cooled centrifugal chiller experienced numerous shutdowns that their maintenance team was unable to isolate and repair. With less than a week to go before the annual graduation award ceremony was scheduled to take place in their auditorium, a major equipment manufacturer recommended that the school district’s Facilities Director call Oliver Mechanical for commercial chiller repair.


The Oliver Mechanical team arrived and performed a detailed diagnostic analysis of the problem chiller, and determined that it was operating below the manufacturer’s refrigerant charge parameters due to refrigerant leaks found at numerous gaskets, the automatic oil temperature control valve, and a leak at the vent guard valve on the low side of the machine that was drawing air into the system and preventing operation.

Proposed Solutions

Oliver Mechanical recommended draining the chiller barrel and recovering all 200+ pounds of R-123 refrigerant from the chiller to allow our technicians to replace O rings and repair the leak at the automatic oil temperature control valve, replace gaskets and threads to repair leaks at the vent guard relief valve. They would then leak check the system at 8.0 PSI nitrogen, evacuate and recharge the unit with recovered and virgin R-123 refrigerant, test the operation, and provide all EPA documentation paperwork.

The Outcome

The client authorized repairs, and requested Oliver Mechanical to complete the project prior to the graduation awards ceremony that was just a few days away. Oliver mobilized our technicians and refrigerant recovery contractor to complete the repair and bring the commercial chiller up to full and proper operation in time for the awards ceremony to take place with comfortable students, parents, and administrators. The client was greatly appreciative of Oliver Mechanical’s quick response to the critical situation and the team’s efforts to make sure that this important event was not disrupted by mechanical issues.