Ice Rink Chillers

How to Select an Ice Rink Chiller

referee and two women's hockey players at the faceoff circle of an ice rink

If you’re a hockey fan, you might remember the 2017 NHL controversy over poor ice conditions in hockey arenas around the country. Holes, slush, and other on-ice nuisances generated unplayable gaming environments, delaying and postponing games to the dismay of the league, players, and fans. These frustrating events drew attention to an integral part of a well-performing ice rink: the refrigeration system.

Since these events, ice rink chiller systems have gained much attention – and deservedly so. These low-temp industrial-grade systems are essential for creating favorable skating conditions for hockey, figure skating, and other ice sports by maintaining the correct humidity levels and ice temperatures while preventing problem-causing leaks.

If you’re looking for an ice rink chiller to delight the skaters at your facility, your decision will make or break their experience. So, we’ve developed this helpful article with the most important factors to consider when selecting the ideal system for perfect skating conditions.

5 Ice rink chiller factors to consider

As you consider your ice rink chiller options, keep the following five factors in mind:

  1. Your rink size – As a general rule, large or multiple ice rinks require larger-sized chillers.

  2. Freezing time – The fastest time for freezing the water into ice will also help define your chiller’s configuration.

  3. Cooling fluid and concentration – Both these cooling fluid factors are integral to selecting the right ice rink chiller. Consistent ice temperatures require high flow rates. The choice of fluids impacts the flow parameters of the system.

  4. Desuperheater needs – Factor Zamboni ice melt and other desuperheater needs into your decision.

  5. Budget – Design your ice rink chiller with cost-efficient features to help ensure it aligns with your budget.

The next phase of selecting a rink chiller comes down to determining which features and options you need to maximize the performance of your system.

Which features and options do you need?

There are many ways to customize your ice rink chiller to suit the specific needs of your facility. The following features and options make it easy to design the ideal system:

Design features

Low-temp chillers have unique features to achieve optimal performance on the rink. For instance, evaporators, heat exchangers, and pumps are based on the specific fluid in your system. Oil management, compressor cooling, and designs for fluid temperature pull-down help enhance performance. Finally, electronic expansion valves (EEVs) offer tight superheat control for top-notch results.

Redundancy options

Redundancy options allow you to choose from full capacity redundancy, full electrical isolation, dual vs. multi-circuit, and auto-changeover redundant pumps, depending on your facility’s needs.

Custom controls

Maintaining tight control over your ice rink chiller is easy with several custom controls, including an MCS microcontroller, touchscreen options, custom programming, and alerts via email or text to ensure your system is operating at peak performance.

Energy-efficiency options

If you’re looking for a cost-saving, energy-efficient rink chiller that can save costs, consider EC condenser fan motors to stabilize refrigerant temperatures, heat reclaim for hot water loop, floating head pressure, and VFD to minimize energy consumption.

There are other ways to customize an ice rink chiller to keep your skaters happy, such as digital flow meters, corrosion resistance, circuit breakers, and low ambient protection.

Ready to customize your ice rink chiller? We’re proud to attend the 2022 North American Rink Conference & Expo (NARCE), where we’ll be on hand to help. If you can’t make the event, contact our team to learn more about selecting the right ice rink chiller for your ice sport application. With over 50 years of experience manufacturing a robust line of custom-ready industrial-grade chillers with exceptional after-the-sale support, we’re your proven chiller partner for a skater-friendly rink.