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Application Guide
AG 31-003-1
© 2002 McQuay International

Chiller Plant Design


Elevation Difference
Column Height
When Pump Is Off

Building Load

600 Tons

(50% Load)
Secondary Pump
1440 gpm
480 gpm Flow Through
Decoupler
Flow

Two 400 Ton Chillers

Each At 300 Tons

(Balanced Load)
51.5F Return Water
To Chiller
Chiller 1- On
Chiller 2- On
Chiller 3- Off
44F
44F
54F
Two Primary Pumps
Each At 960 gpm
51.5F

<img class='absimg' src='http://html.scribd.com/giq7m4a24yubwu8/images/2-


1e02ba7fe6/000.jpg' style='left: 4.19em; clip: rect(0.07em 46.82em 0.19em 0.07em);
height: 0.25em; top: 68.63em; width: 46.88em;'/>
2
Application Guide AG 31-003-1
Table of Contents
Introduction................................................................................................................. 4
Using This Guide............................................................................................................................... 4
Basic System............................................................................................................... 4
Chiller Basics..................................................................................................................................... 4Piping
Basics..................................................................................................................................... 7Pumping
Basics............................................................................................................................... 11Cooling Tower
Basics...................................................................................................................... 15Load
Basics..................................................................................................................................... 20Control Valve
Basics....................................................................................................................... 20Loop Control
Basics........................................................................................................................ 23Piping
Diversity............................................................................................................................... 24
Water Temperatures and Ranges............................................................................... 25
Supply Air Temperature................................................................................................................... 25Chilled Water
Temperature Range................................................................................................... 26Condenser Water Temperature
Range.............................................................................................. 26Temperature Range
Trends.............................................................................................................. 27
Air and Evaporatively Cooled Chillers..................................................................... 28
Air-Cooled Chillers......................................................................................................................... 28
Evaporatively Cooled Chillers......................................................................................................... 30
Dual Compressor and VFD Chillers......................................................................... 31
Dual Compressor Chillers................................................................................................................ 31VFD
Chillers................................................................................................................................... 31System Design
Changes................................................................................................................... 32
Mechanical Room Safety.......................................................................................... 34
Standard 34...................................................................................................................................... 34
Standard 15...................................................................................................................................... 34
Single Chiller System................................................................................................ 38
Basic Operation............................................................................................................................... 38Basic
Components........................................................................................................................... 38Single Chiller Sequence of
Operation.............................................................................................. 39
Parallel Chiller System.............................................................................................. 41
Basic Operation............................................................................................................................... 41Basic
Components........................................................................................................................... 41Parallel Chiller Sequence of
Operation........................................................................................... 42
Series Chillers........................................................................................................... 44
Basic Operation............................................................................................................................... 44Basic
Components........................................................................................................................... 44Series Chillers Sequence of
Operation............................................................................................ 46Series Counterflow
Chillers............................................................................................................. 47Using VFD Chillers in Series
Arrangements................................................................................... 49System
Comparison......................................................................................................................... 49
Primary/Secondary Systems...................................................................................... 51

<img class='absimg' src='http://html.scribd.com/giq7m4a24yubwu8/images/3-


5d3941e293/000.jpg' style='left: 5.32em; clip: rect(0.07em 46.82em 0.19em 0.07em);
height: 0.25em; top: 68.63em; width: 46.88em;'/>
Application Guide AG 31-003-1
3
Basic Operation............................................................................................................................... 51Basic
Components........................................................................................................................... 51Very Large Chiller
Plants................................................................................................................. 58Primary/Secondary Sequence of
Operation..................................................................................... 58
Water-Side Free Cooling........................................................................................... 61
Direct Waterside Free Cooling......................................................................................................... 61Parallel Waterside Free
Cooling...................................................................................................... 61Series Waterside Free
Cooling......................................................................................................... 62Waterside Free Cooling Design
Approach....................................................................................... 63Cooling Tower
Sizing...................................................................................................................... 63Waterside Free Cooling Sequence of
Operation.............................................................................. 64Economizers and Energy
Efficiency................................................................................................ 65
Hybrid Plants............................................................................................................. 66
Heat Recovery and Templifiers™............................................................................. 67
General............................................................................................................................................. 67Load
Profiles.................................................................................................................................... 67Heat Recovery
Chillers....................................................................................................................
67Templifiers™................................................................................................................................... 71ASHRAE Standard
90.1.................................................................................................................. 73
Variable Primary Flow Design.................................................................................. 75
Basic Operation............................................................................................................................... 75Basic
Components........................................................................................................................... 75Variable Primary Flow
Sequence of Operation................................................................................ 76Training and
Commissioning........................................................................................................... 78
Low Delta T Syndrome............................................................................................. 80
Low Delta T Example...................................................................................................................... 80Low Delta T Syndrome
Causes and Solutions................................................................................. 82Other
Solutions................................................................................................................................ 84
Process Applications................................................................................................. 86
Process Load Profiles...................................................................................................................... 86Condenser
Relief.............................................................................................................................. 87Winter
Design.................................................................................................................................. 87Chilled Water
Volume...................................................................................................................... 87Temperatures and
Ranges................................................................................................................ 88
Minimum Chilled Water Volume.............................................................................. 89
Estimating System Volume.............................................................................................................. 89
Evaluating System Volume.............................................................................................................. 89
Conclusions............................................................................................................... 92
References................................................................................................................. 93
The information contained within this document represents the opinions and suggestions ofMcQuay International.
Equipment, the application of the equipment, and the systemsuggestions are offered by McQuay International as
suggestions only, and McQuayInternational does not assume responsibility for the performance of any system as a
result ofthese suggestions. Final responsibility for the system design and performance lies with thesystem engineer.
4
Application Guide AG 31-003-1
IntroductionUsing chilled water to cool a building or process is efficient and flexible. A two-inch Schedule 40
pipe of chilled water can supply as much comfort cooling as 42" diameter round air duct. The use ofchillers allows the design
engineer to produce chilled water in a central building location or even onthe roof and distribute the water economically and
without the use of large duct shafts. Chilled wateralso provides accurate temperature control that is especially useful for
variable air volume (VAV)applications.
The purpose of this manual is to discuss various piping and control strategies commonly used with
chilled water systems including variable flow pumping systems.
Using This Guide
This Guide initially discusses the components used in a chilled watersystem. It then reviews various chiller plant designs
explaining theiroperation, strengths and weaknesses. Where appropriate, sequence ofoperations are provided. Each project
is unique so these sequences arejust guidelines.
In addition, many sections reference ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001. TheASHRAE section numbers are provided in
parentheses to direct thereader. The sections referenced in this Guide are by no means complete.It is recommended that
the reader have access to a copy of Standard 90.1as well as the Users Manual. The Standard and manual can be
purchasedonline atW W W. ASHRAE . o rg.
Basic System
Figure 1 shows a basic chiller loop with a water-cooled chiller. The system consists of a chiller,cooling tower, building
cooling load, chilled water and condensing water pumps and piping. Thissection will review each of the components.
Figure 1 - Single Chiller Loop
Chiller Basics
The chiller can be water-cooled, air-cooled or evaporatively cooled. The compressor types typically
emote from the condensingsection on air-cooled units. Thishas the advantage of allowing thechilled water loop to remain insidethe building
envelope when usingan outdoor chiller. In applicationswhere freezing conditions can beexpected, keeping the chilled
waterloop inside the building avoids theneed for some form of antifreeze.
There can be multiple chillers in achilled water plant. The details ofvarious multiple chiller plantdesigns will be discussed in
futuresections.
Condenser
Water Loop
Cooling Tower
Building Load
Chilled Water Loop
Chiller
Chilled Water Pump
Condenser
Water Pump

Application Guide AG 31-003-1


5
The chilled water flows through the evaporator of the chiller. The evaporator is a heat exchangerwhere the chilled water
gives up its sensible heat (the water temperature drops) and transfers the heatto the refrigerant as latent energy (the
refrigerant evaporates or boils).
Flow and Capacity Calculations
For air conditioning applications, the common design conditions are 44 °F supply water temperatureand 2.4 gpm/ton. The
temperature change in the fluid for either the condenser or the evaporator canbe described using the following formula:
Q = WxCx ∆ T

Where

Q = Quantity of heat exchanged (Btu/hr)

W = flow rate of fluid (USgpm)

C = specific heat of fluid (Btu/lb·°F)


∆T = temperature change of fluid (°F )
Assuming the fluid is water, the formula takes the more common form of:

Load (Btu/hr) = Flow (USgpm) x (°Fin –°Fout) x 500

Or
Load (tons) = Flow (USgpm) x (°Fin –°Fout)/24
Using this equation and the above design conditions, the temperature change in the evaporator is
found to be 10°F. The water temperature entering the evaporator is then 54°F.
Most air conditioning design conditions are based on 75°F and 50% relative humidity (RH) in theoccupied space. The
dewpoint for air at this condition is 55.08°F. Most HVAC designs are based oncooling the air to this dewpoint to maintain the
proper RH in the space. Using a 10°F approach at thecooling coil means the supply chilled water needs to be around 44°F or
45°F.
The designer is not tied to these typical design conditions. In fact, more energy efficient solutions can
be found by modifying the design conditions, as the project requires.
Changing the chilled water flow rate affects a specific chiller's performance. Too low a flow ratelowers the chiller efficiency
and ultimately leads to laminar flow. The minimum flow rate is typicallyaround 3 fps (feet per second). Too high a flow rate
leads to vibration, noise and tube erosion. Themaximum flow rate is typically around 12 fps. The chilled water flow rate
should be maintainedbetween these limits of 3 to 12 fps.
The condenser water flows through the condenser of the chiller. The condenser is also a heatexchanger. In this case the
heat absorbed from the building, plus the work of compression, leaves therefrigerant (condensing the refrigerant) and enters
the condenser water (raising its temperature). Thecondenser has the same limitations to flow change as the evaporator.
Chillers and Energy Efficiency
Chillers are often the single largest electricity users in a building. A 1000 ton chiller has a motorrated at 700 hp. Improving
the chiller performance has immediate benefit to the building operatingcost. Chiller full load efficiency ratings are usually
given in the form of kW/ton, COP (Coefficient ofPerformance = kW cooling / kWinput) or EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio = Tons X
12/ kWinput). Full loadperformance is either the default ARI conditions or the designer specified conditions. It is importantto be
specific about operating conditions since chiller performance varies significantly at differentoperating conditions.
6
Application Guide AG 31-003-1
Chiller part load performance can be given at designer-specified conditions or the NPLV (Non-
Standard Part Load Value) can be used. The definition of NPLV is spelled out in ARI 550/590-98,
Test Standard for Chillers. For further information refer to McQuay Application Guide AG 31-002,
Centrifugal Chiller Fundamentals.
Figure 2 - ASHRAE Std 90.1 Chiller Performance Table1
Since buildings rarely operate at design load conditions (typically less than 2% of the time) chillerpart load performance is
critical to good overall chiller plant performance. Chiller full and part loadefficiencies have improved significantly over the last
10 years (Chillers with NPLVs of 0.35 kW/tonare available) to the point where future chiller plant energy performance will
have to come fromchiller plant design.
ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001 includes mandatory requirements for minimum chiller performance.Table 6.2.1.C of this
standard covers chillers at ARI standard conditions. Tables 6.2.1H to M covercentrifugal chillers at non-standard conditions.
1 Copyright 2001, American Society Of Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Engineers Inc.,
www.ashrae.org. Reprinted by permission from ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001
Water Chilling Packages – Minimum Efficiency Requirements
Equipment Type
Size Category

Subcategory or

Rating

Condition
Minimum Efficient
Test Procedure
Air Cooled, with Condenser,
Electrically Operated
<150 tons
2.80 COP
3.05 IPLV
ARI 550/590
>150 tons
Air Cooled, without Condenser,
Electrically Operated
All Capacities
3.10 COP
3.45 IPLV
Water Cooled, Electrically Operated,
Positive Dis
p

lacement
(

Reci
p

rocatin
g )

All Capacities
4.20 COP
5.05 IPLV
ARI 550/590

Water Cooled,

Electrically Operated,

Positive Displacement

(Rotary Screw and Scroll)


<150 tons
4.45 COP
5.20 IPLV
ARI 550/590
>150 tons and
<300 tons
4.90 COP
5.60 IPLV
>300 tons
5.50 COP
6.15 IPLV
Water Cooled, Electrically Operated,
Centrifugal
<150 tons
5.00 COP
5.25 IPLV
ARI5 50/590
>l50 tons and
<300 tons
5.55 COP
5.90 IPLV
>300 tons
6.10 COP
6.40 IPLV
Air-Cooled Absorption Single Effect
All Capacities
0.60 COP
ARI 560
Water-Cooled Absorption Single
Effect
All Capacities
0.70 COP
Absorption Double Effect, Indirect-
Fired
All Capacities
1.00 COP
1.05 IPLV
Absorption Double Effect, Direct-Fired
All Capacities
1.00 COP
1.00 IPLV
aThe chiller equipment requirements do not apply for chillers used in low-temperature applications where the design leaving fluid temperature is <4°F.
b Section 12 contains a complete specification of the referenced test procedure, including the referenced year version of the test procedure.

☺Tip: To convert from COP to kW/ton;


COP = 3.516/(kW/ton)
To calculate EER = Tons x 12/(total kW input)
Application Guide AG 31-003-1
7
Piping Basics
Static Pressure
Figure 3 - Closed Loop
The piping is usually steel, copper orplastic. The chilled water piping isusually a closed loop. A closed loop isnot open to the
atmosphere. Figure 3shows a simple closed loop with thepump at the bottom of the loop. Noticethat the static pressure
created by thechange in elevation is equal on both sidesof the pump. In a closed loop, the pumpneeds only to overcome the
friction lossin the piping and components. The pumpdoes not need to “lift” the water to thetop of the loop.
When open cooling towers are used in
condenser piping, the loop is an open
type. Condenser pump must
overcomethe friction of the system and “lift” the water from the sump to the top of the cooling tower. Figure 4shows an open
loop. Notice the pump need only overcome the elevation difference of the coolingtower, not the entire building.
In high-rise applications, the static pressure canbecome considerable and exceed the pressurerating of the piping and the
components such aschillers. Although chillers can be built to
higher pressure ratings (The standard is typically 150 PSI but the reader is advised to check with themanufacturer) high
pressure systems can become expensive. The next standard rating is typically 300PSI. Above that, the chillers become very
expensive. One solution is to use heat exchangers toisolate the chillers from the static pressure. While this solves the
pressure rating for the chiller, itintroduces another device and another approach that affects supply water temperature and
chillerperformance. A second solution is to locate chiller plants on various floors throughout the buildingselected to avoid
exceeding the 150 PSI chiller rating.
Figure 4 -Open Loop
Expansion Tanks
An expansion tank is required in the chilledwater loop to allow for the thermalexpansion of the water. Expansion tankscan be
open type, closed type with air-waterinterface or diaphragm type. Tank locationwill influence the type. Open tanks mustbe
located above the highest point in thesystem (for example, the penthouse). Air-water interface and diaphragm type tankscan
be located anywhere in the system.Generally, the lower the pressure in thetank, the smaller the tank needs to be. Tanksize
can be minimized by locating it higherin the system.
Water Column
Water Column
Static Head
Elevation Difference
Column Height
When Pump Is Off
☺Tip: Most chillers are rated for 150 PSI
water side pressure. This should be considered
carefully for buildings over 10 stories.
8
Application Guide AG 31-003-1
Figure 5 - Expansion Tank Location
The pressure at which the tank is operated is the reference point for the entire hydronic system. Thelocation of the tank
-which side on the pump (suction or discharge) - will affect the total pressure seenby the system. When the pump is off, the
tank will be exposed to the static pressure plus the pressuredue to thermal expansion. If the tank is located on the suction
side, when the pump is running, thetotal pressure seen on the discharge side will be the pressure differential, created by the
pump,a d d e dto the expansion tank pressure. If the expansion tank is located on the discharge side of the pump,
thedischarge pressure will be the same as the expansion tank pressure and the suction side pressure willbe the expansion
tank pressuremin u s the pump pressure differential.
Piping Insulation
Chilled water piping is insulated since the water and hence the piping is often below the dewpointtemperature. Condensate
would form on it and heat loss would occur. The goal of the insulation is tominimize heat loss and maintain the outer surface
above the ambient air dewpoint.
Condenser Water Piping
In most cases, the condenser water piping is an open loop. Figure 4 shows an open loop with thewater open to the
atmosphere. When the pump is not running, the level in the supply and returnpiping will be even at the level of the sump.
When the pump operates, it needs to overcome thefriction loss in the system and “lift” the water from the sump level to the
top of the loop. Condenserwater piping is typically not insulated since there will be negligible heat gain or loss and sweating
willnot occur. If the piping is exposed to cold ambient conditions, however, it could need to be insulatedand heat traced to
avoid freezing.
Discharge Pressure =
Expansion Tank Pressure +
Pump Head
Discharge Pressure =
Expansion Tank Pressure
Suction Pressure =
Expansion Tank Pressure
-Pump Head
Application Guide AG 31-003-1
9
Reverse Return/Direct Return Piping
Figure 6 - Reverse Return Piping
Figure 6 shows reverse return piping. Reverse return piping is designed such that the path throughany load is the same
length and therefore has approximately the same fluid pressure drop. Reversereturn piping is inherently self-balancing. It
also requires more piping and consequently is moreexpensive.
Figure 7 - Direct Return Piping
Direct return piping results in the load closest to the chiller plant having the shortest path andtherefore the lowest fluid
pressure drop. Depending on the piping design, the difference in pressuredrops between a load near the chiller plant and a
load at the end of the piping run can be substantial.Balancing valves will be required. The advantage of direct return piping
is the cost savings of lesspiping.
For proper control valve selection, it is necessary to know the pressure differential between the supplyand return header
(refer to Control Valve Basics, page 20). While at first it would appear withreverse return piping, that the pressure drop would
be the same for all devices, this is not certain.Changes in pipe sizing in the main headers, different lengths and fittings all
lead to different pressuredifferentials for each device. When the device pressure drop is large relative to piping
pressurelosses, the difference is minimized.
In direct return piping, the pressure drops for each device vary at design conditions depending onwhere they are in the
system. The valve closest to the pumps will see nearly the entire pump head.Valves at the furthest end of the loop will see
the minimum required pressure differential. Assuming

10
Application Guide AG 31-003-1
the pressure differential sensor is located at the furthest end, all valves in a direct return system shouldbe selected for the
minimum pressure differential. This is because if any one device is the only oneoperating, the pressure differential controller
will maintain the minimum differential across thatdevice.
The decision whether to use direct or reverse return piping should be based on system operability vs.first cost. Where direct
return piping is used, flow-balancing valves should be carefully located sothat the system can be balanced.
Piping and Energy Efficiency
Piping materials and design have a large influence on the system pressure drop, which in turn affectsthe pump work. Many
of the decisions made in the piping system design will affect the operating costof the chiller plant every hour the plant
operates for the life of the building. When viewed from thislife cycle point of view, any improvements that can lower the
operating pressure drop should beconsidered. Some areas to consider are:
Y Pipe material. Different materials have different friction factors.
Y Pipe sizing. Smaller piping raises the pressure drop. This must be balanced against the capital
cost and considered over the lifetime of the system.
Y Fittings. Minimize fittings as much as possible.
Y Valves. Valves represent large pressure drops and can be costly. Isolation and balancing valves
should be strategically placed.
Y Direct return vs. Reverse return.
Piping insulation reduces heat gain into the chilled water. This has a compound effect. First, anycooling effect that is lost due
to heat gain is additional load on the chiller plant. Second, in mostcases, to account for the resultant temperature rise, the
chilled water setpoint must be lowered toprovide the correct supply water temperature at the load. This increases the lift on
the chillers andlowers their performance.
ASHRAE 90.1-2001 requires the following for piping systems:
Y Piping must be insulated as per ASHRAE Standard 90.1 Table 6.2.4.1.3. (See Table 1)
Exceptions include:
Y Factory installed insulation.
Y Systems operating between 60°F and 105°F.
Y The hydronic system be proportionally balanced in a manner to first minimize throttling losses
and then the impeller trimmed or the speed adjusted to meet the design flow conditions
(6.2.5.3.3)
Exceptions include:
Y Pumps with motors less than 10 hp.
Y When throttling results in no greater than 5% of nameplate horsepower or 3 hp, whichever is
less.
Y Three pipe systems with a common return for heating and cooling are not allowed. (6.3.2.2.1)

Y T w o p i p e

c h a n g e o v e r s y s t e m s
a r e a c c e p t a b l e

p r o v i d i n g :

( 6 . 3 . 2 . 2 . 2 )

Y C o n t r o l s l i m i t

c h a n g e o v e r s b a s e d

o n 1 5 ° F a m b i e n t

d r y b u l b d e a d b a n d .

Y S y s t e m w i l l

o p e r a t e i n o n e

m o d e f o r a t l e a s t

4 h o u r s .

Y R e s e t c o n t r o l s

l o w e r t h e

c h a n g e o v e r p o i n t

t o 3 0 ° F o r l e s s .
Y Systems with total pump nameplate horsepower exceeding 10 hp shall be variable flow able to
modulate down to 50%. (6.3.4)
Application Guide AG 31-003-1
11
Table 1 - Minimum Piping Insulation As Per Std 90.12
Insulation Conductivity
Nominal Pipe or Tube Size (in)

Fluid

Design

Operating

Temp.

Range (°F)
Conductivity
Btu•in/(h•ft2•°F)
Mean Rating
Temp °F
<1
1 to <1-1/2
1-1/2 to <4
4<8
>8
Cooling Systems (Chilled Water, Brine and Refrigerant)
40-60
0.22-0.28
100
0.5
0.5
1.0
1.0
1.0
>60
0.22-0.28
100
0.5
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.5
Pumping Basics
Figure 8 - Inline Centrifugal Pump
Typically centrifugal type pumps are used for both condenserwater and chilled water systems. They can be either inline or
basemounted. The pumps must be sized to maintain the systemdynamic head and the required flow rate. Normally, the
pumps arelocated so they discharge into the chiller heat exchangers.
Figure 9 - Basic Pump Curve
Centrifugal pumps are non-positive displacement typeso the flow rate changes with the head. The actualoperating point is
where the system curve crosses thepump curve. In systems with control valves, thesystem curve changes every time a
valve settingchanges. This is important because the pump affinitylaws cannot be used to estimate a change if the
systemcurve is allowed to change. Identical pumps inparallel will double the flow at the same head.Identical pumps in series
will double the head.
2 Copyright 2001, American Society Of Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Engineers Inc.,
www.ashrae.org. Reprinted by permission from ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001
0
10
20
30
40
50
0
50
100
150
200
250
Capacity, gpm
TotalHead,f
t
Point of Operation
Pump Curve
SystemCu rve
12
Application Guide AG 31-003-1
Figure 10 - Pump Curve Profiles
Figure 10 shows a steep and flat curve profile.Different pumps provide different profiles each withtheir own advantages. The
steep curve is better suitedfor open systems such as cooling towers where high liftand stable flow are desirable. The flat
profile is bettersuited for systems with control valves. The flat profilewill maintain the necessary head over a wide flowrange.
Figure 11 – Typical Centrifugal Pump Curve
Figure 11 shows a typical pump curve.Since pumps are direct drive, the pumpcurves are typically for standard motorspeeds
(1200, 1800 or 3600 rpm). Therequired flowrate and head can be plottedand the subsequent efficiency andimpeller diameter
can be found. As theflow increases, generally the Net PositiveSuction Head (NPSH) decreases. This isdue to the increased
fluid velocity at the
inlet of the impeller. NPSH is required by the pump to avoid the fluid flashing to gas in the inlet ofthe impeller. This can lead
to cavitation and pump damage. NPSH is an important consideration withcondenser pumps particularly when the chillers are
in the penthouse and the cooling towers are on thesame level.
Required
NPSH
Flow (Usgpm)
Total Head (ft)
Impeller Dia.
Efficiency
BHP
Capacity
TotalHead
Steep
Flat
☺Tip: For a constant system curve, the following
p

ump affinity laws may be used;


At constant impeller diameter (Variable speed)
RPM1 / RPM2 = gpm1 / gpm2 = (H1)½ /(H2)½
At constant speed (Variable impeller diameter)
D1/ D 2 = gpm1 / gpm2 = (H1)½ /(H2)½
Application Guide AG 31-003-1
13
Multiple Pumps
To provide redundancy, multiple pumps are used. Common approaches are (1) a complete full-sizedstand-by pump, or (2)
the design flow is met by two pumps with a third stand-by pump sized at halfthe load. When multiple pumps are used in
parallel, check valves on the discharge of each pump arerequired to avoid “short circuiting”. Pumps can also utilize common
headers to allow one pump toserve multiple duties (headered primary pumps serving multiple chillers). Refer to Primary
Pumps,page 52 for more information on primary pumps.
Variable Flow Pumps
Many applications require the flow to change in response to load. Modulating the flow can be
accomplished by:

Y R i d i n g t h e p u m p

c u r v e

Y S t a g i n g o n p u m p s

Y U s i n g v a r i a b l e
f r e q u e n c y d r i v e s

( V F D s )
Riding the pump curve is typically used on small systems with limited flow range. Staging on pumpswas the traditional
method until VFDs. Today, VFDs are the most common method for varying flow.They are the most efficient method as well.
System flow is usually controlled by maintaining apressure differential between the supply and return lines. The measuring
point should be at or nearthe end of the pipe runs as opposed to being in the mechanical room to reduce unnecessary
pumpwork. This is particularly true for direct return systems.
Figure 12 shows the differentialpressure sensor located at the end ofthe piping run. At design load, thepressure drop across
coil 1 is 60 ftwhile the pressure drop across coil 5 isonly 30 ft. Then differential pressure
controls should be set up to maintain 30 ft. When only coil 1 is operating, the pressure differentialacross coil 1 will only be 30
ftif the differential sensor is located at the end of the run as shown. If thesensors had been near the pumps, however, the
differential controller would have to have been set for60 ft to meet the design requirements. When only coil 1 operates, the
pressure would have beenmaintained at 60 ft, which would have wasted pump work.
Figure 12 - Secondary Pump Control in Direct Return Systems
Another method of controlling variable flow pumps is to monitor the valve positions of a control
valve in a critical part of the system. This valve is typically the furthest from the pumps. The control
Coil 1
Coil 5
Design PD is 60 Ft

When Only Coil 1

Operates

Required PD Is 30 Ft
Design PD Is
30 Ft

Differential

Pressure

Sensor
☺Tip: The differential pressure setpoint for variable
f

low pumps should based on field measurements taken


during commissioning and balancing. Using an
estimated setting may lead to unnecessary pump work
f

or the life of the building

HVAC Handbook - Chiller Plant Design


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