Not every chiller delivers what it promises

20. July 2021 | Industrial Services: If the performance parameters of chillers are not right, this can have serious consequences for operators.

Essen: The regulation which fleshes out the Ecodesign Directive describes the limit values to be observed by refrigeration equipment, which were further tightened at the beginning of 2021. Manufacturers of such equipment can determine the performance parameters themselves and publish them in their product data sheets, albeit without these parameters being validated by an independent testing body. The problem, however, is this: if the data sheets promise more than the units can deliver, this can have serious consequences for operators. Something which TÜV NORD has been drawing attention to.

Anyone who buys a device wants to be sure that it’s suitable for its intended use and that the performance parameters specified in the data sheets are also complied with. “Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, for example with liquid chillers,” explains Vera Gräff, Technical Head of the TÜV NORD Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Laboratory. It’s for this reason that she advises customers to make sure before buying that the performance data set out in the product data sheets have been confirmed by independent laboratories.

Ms Gräff cites a number of pitfalls which users can fall into if the devices do not live up to the promised performance. First of all: The device can use significantly more electrical power than indicated in the data sheets, leading to an increased energy demand and thus to higher operating costs than were originally calculated. Secondly, the device may not be able to deliver the promised cooling capacities, meaning that it may be unsuitable for its intended purpose. Thirdly, after all, under certain circumstances it ought not to have been possible for the device to be sold and put into operation in the EU if it does not comply with the limit values.

“If you don’t want an unpleasant surprise, we strongly recommend that you carefully check the performance data set out in the product data sheets before buying, or, if you're in doubt, insist on an audit in the context of what we call a witness test in the laboratory, in which the buyer follows the test, either directly on site or online,” says Vera Gräff. On behalf of many manufacturers from all over the world, her laboratory tests a wide range of refrigeration, air conditioning and ventilation systems. Moreover, the laboratory's employees can test devices for their suitability for use under certain hygiene requirements, such as those found in hospitals. And, what’s more, the laboratory has been working for Eurovent Certita Certification SAS (ECC) for more than 25 years.

“An independent test creates confidence in the safety and long-term usability of refrigeration and air-conditioning products,” says Vera Gräff. This brings benefits in equal measure to manufacturers, dealers and fitting companies and, ultimately, the operators of the equipment.

Information about the laboratory can be found here: 


Since our foundation 150 years ago, we have been the global byword for security and trust. As a knowledge-based company, we have the digital future firmly in mind. With specialists ranging from engineers and IT security professionals to professionals for the mobility of tomorrow, We use our expertise in over 100 countries to ensure that our customers will be even more successful in the networked world.

Annika Burchard

Industry, Energy, TÜV NORD Akademie

Share this page