Our industrial chiller maintenance experts have been installing and servicing outdoor ice rink ammonia refrigeration systems in Toronto and beyond for decades. Warmer winter temperatures have led many municipalities to put in ice rink refrigeration systems as a way of extending the outdoor skating season for residents. This is where we noticed some common “myths” ice rink owners believe regarding outdoor ice rink maintenance. Here are the misconceptions along with our recommendations for proper maintenance of your ice rink ammonia refrigeration system.
Applying vast amounts of standing water, even when temperatures are at their lowest, traps air during the freezing process. The result is a more porous sheet of ice that will weaken when the warm temperatures come and place a strain on your ice rink cooling system. Too much water can also create “shell ice” which, much like a frozen puddle, contains trapped air beneath it. If shell ice is formed, the only way to correct it is to completely scrape away the area and build again.
The best way to build a strong ice surface is to apply light sprays of water that will quickly freeze upon contact with the frozen surface. Properly functioning ice resurfacing equipment accomplishes this best.
Using water hoses to cover the surface of your chilling system is the recommended method(rather than elements from nature), but when and how it is applied plays a key role in the strength and smoothness of your ice surface.
To prevent indents and gullies from forming in your ice, the hose must be kept in continuous motion. Ensure that a thin mist is consistently and evenly applied to create a smooth surface.
To prevent ripples and bumps from forming, the water must be applied when there is no chance of interference from snow. Prior to spraying the surface, be sure to thoroughly scrape away all existing snow.
Changing weather patterns and fluctuating temperatures dramatically affect the quality and integrity of outdoor ice rinks. Owners and operators must be prepared to respond to these constantly changing ice conditions for residents to fully enjoy the many benefits of an outdoor ice rink ammonia refrigeration system.
Additionally, even though outdoor ice rinks are often more accessible to the public, they demand the same TSSA, WSIB, insurance, and safety standards that are required of indoor facilities.
The charm and enjoyment of outdoor rinks is undeniable; but consideration, time, and the proper equipment are all needed to effectively maintain and operate the ammonia refrigeration system.If you are the owner or operator of an outdoor ice rink and in need of assistance with your ice rink refrigeration system, Berg Chilling Systems is here to help. Our industrial refrigeration technicians provide ice rink installations, pre-season inspections, and regular, ongoing maintenance for outdoor ice rinks. Contact Berg Chilling Systems today to schedule a consultation.