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Maintenance is reason #3 why HFO Refrigerants are a strong alternative to ammonia in mild freezing applications

When installing an industrial chiller in a food, beverage, or dairy setting, it is important to consider whether the traditionally used NH3 (ammonia) is the most appropriate refrigerant solution. Companies that need a mild freezing cooling system are increasingly turning to HFO (Hydrofluoro-olefin) refrigerants to improve sustainability, boost performance, and significantly reduce costs.

Maintenance can be one of the deciding factor. Regular maintenance will always be needed on all process cooling systems. But some systems are easier to maintain than others.

As with all chiller system maintenance, a qualified technician will perform the routine service as per manufacturer recommendations. The call will include the careful inspection of the following: set points, refrigeration lines and insulation, refrigerant level, compressor running condition.


Because of ammonia toxic properties, very intense safety precautions must be taken when handling or performing maintenance. Facility managers and technicians must anticipate and manage the increased risks to people and the surroundings.

Extra steps to avoid leaks, keep staff safe and mitigate risk include:

• Breathing apparatus
• PPE with full length overalls and ammonia grade gloves
• Chemical suits
• Detector to monitor ammonia levels
• Refrigerant detectors
• Emergency remote shutdown
• Ammonia warning signage
• Special housing or a dedicated room for the chiller with ventilation

Additional procedures include:

• Higher maintenance frequency. Ammonia chillers require to be checked weekly or monthly. HFO chillers require biannual or annual checks.
• More rigorous annual inspections and independent full inspections
• Two people present when the system is opened for safety compliance
• Experienced personnel, specifically trained with ammonia carrying out any maintenance and checks


Maintenance on a system with R1234ze can be performed with limited risks. Trane has factory-trained technicians near you to service all HFO Trane systems and other brand of process cooling equipment. Our extensive service network is available 24/7 to intervene whenever required. With continuing education and remote support, Trane technicians have the know how to get your system back up and running quickly.

If necessary, Trane also has temporary rental equipment so you can keep your process cooled effectively until your system is repaired. Trane parts and accessories are also available for you to perform your own repairs.


Manufacturing companies need high performing, energy-efficient and sustainable process cooling solutions. The right chiller plant selection is especially critical in food and dairy factories, breweries, and other beverage industries, where manufacturers must meet many quality and safety standards.

To ensure the safety, efficiency and reliability of chiller plants, service and maintenance should be carried out on all chiller types following the manufacturer’s recommendations. While service, maintenance and system care are important on all chillers, HFO units offer reduced risks to human health with simplified and less costly maintenance.

HFO units offer a safe non-toxic, non-flammable at 30°C, non-explosive, and non-corrosive alternative to the highly toxic ammonia. With zero ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) and near-zero GWP (Global Warming Potential), HFOs, such as R1234ze, deliver the best balance choice on all safety, environmental and economic aspects.

See Sustainable low temperature HVAC systems

Learn about R1234ze Refrigerant

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