Frequently Asked Questions about Ammonia Refrigeration Systems

1. How does an ammonia refrigeration system work?

Ammonia refrigeration systems work like most other systems. The purpose behind all refrigeration is to remove the heat from a given space. This is done with a refrigerant like ammonia, as it evaporates and condenses. Here are the basics:

The liquid ammonia (refrigerant) travels through evaporator coils, the liquid turns into a gas, and evaporating gas removes heat. This is the same concept that causes you to feel a chill if you stand in front of an electric fan when wet. The evaporating moisture takes heat from the body.

The gaseous ammonia and heat travel to a compressor that compresses the gas and discharges to a condenser coil, here the compressed gas condenses back into liquid ammonia. The heat is dissipated out of the condenser coils and into the outdoors. The cycle repeats itself over and over.

2. What are the main advantages of ammonia as a refrigerant?

  • Ammonia is as much as ten percent more efficient than other standard refrigerants.
  • It is cheaper to install ammonia systems than standard HCFC systems.
  • Cost effective to custom build
  • Not harmful to the environment like HCFC
  • Easy to detect refrigerant leaks

3. How is ammonia used as a refrigerant?

Because ammonia is very efficient, it is commonly used in industrial refrigeration systems. However, fumes can be toxic and special measures must be in place for safety. Here are some of the measures used:

  • Educate employees on ammonia safety
  • Keep refrigerant systems free of impurities
  • Use only refrigerant grade ammonia
  • Analyze and test for O2 and H2O content
  • Regular system inspections by trained professionals
  • Routine maintenance

McNeil Industrial is one of the most trusted sources for ammonia refrigeration design, installation, and maintenance, in the Midwest. If you have more questions, please feel free to call us toll-free at 1-800-728-6160.

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