Oil always seeps into the refrigerant as it circulates through a chiller's compressor. The oil goes on to degrade the chiller's capacity by coating the evaporator tubes and creating a thermal barrier.
ASHRAE's study "Effects of Oil on Boiling of Replacement Refrigerants Flowing Normal to a Tube Bundle" shows that even a small 1 percent (by weight) oil in R-134 reduces the heat transfer coefficient of the chiller by 25 percent from its no-oil baseline! At higher oil content, a 30 percent reduction has been typically measured.
The oil slowly encrusts the chiller, wastes energy, and requires more money to operate the required duty.
The chillers dependence on oil for lubrication kept both of them in this tumultuous relationship for decades. It's high time for an intervention.
The advent of magnetic bearing technology has unchained chillers from the abuses of oil. Companies like Smardt completely remove oil from the equation by utilizing Turbocor compressors. Chillers can now be free of oil to maintain efficiency, gain longevity, and get superior part-load values to boot!
Don't force oil onto your system and subject yourself to degradation. Let oil and chillers part their ways. Those two are history. Look to a brighter future and choose oil-free magnetic-bearing compressors for the sake of your chiller, the owner, and yourself.
>>To learn more about the effects of oil on chillers, click here.