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 Your Guide to Medical Imaging Equipment

Enjoy these tips, tricks and insights that answer 100's of questions we've received from radiology and imaging professionals that need help buying, selling, servicing and maintaining their medical imaging equipment: MRI, CT, C-Arm, Digital X-ray, PET/CT and Women's Health. We extend the life of imaging equipment so that healthcare providers worldwide can extend the lives of patients. This is why we answer your imaging equipment questions.

~ Block Imaging Team

MRI Chiller Failure: Save Helium with a Water Bypass

Posted by Kelley Tomlinson

Jun 19, 2020 2:17:59 PM

:: 2 minute read ::

mri-chiller-problemWhen your MRI scanner's chiller isn't working properly, watching your helium boil off can feel an awful lot like watching money burn. Fortunately, there's a way to slow down boil off and reduce your losses while you wait for HVAC service personnel to arrive and resuscitate your chiller: a city water bypass.

A city water bypass (CWB), also known as a city water changeover or simply city water backup, allows you to temporarily cool your MRI with water from your local municipal lines. Keep reading for more details on this valuable MRI rescue tool.

Do I Have a City Water Bypass? 

For every site our service team sees that has a CWB, we see one that doesn't. If you're not sure whether your site has one, look around for a cabinet like the one from General Air Products pictured below (hint: start in your equipment room and follow the pipes).

If you find a CWB, congrats! You have a sound stopgap measure if your chiller fails. The water running through your local lines is in the same temperature neighborhood as the coolant in your chiller. It can cool your cold head compressor directly while you wait for a permanent fix.


How Can I Get a CWB?

If you don't find a CWB, don't worry. The HVAC company that performs regular service on your chiller can install one for you and teach you how to activate it when you need it. The cost to install a CWB is roughly $6,000- $8,000 (pricey, we know) but can save you thousands more in helium costs over its lifetime.

How Long Can I Rely on My CWB?

A CWB is not intended to be a long-term solution. It will slow helium loss, but it is not a replacement for a functional chiller. If your chiller fails, the next thing you should do after switching to your CWB is get on the phone with your HVAC provider to service the chiller. To put it another way: if you get a flat tire, a "doughnut" spare will get you to the garage, but you'll need a new full-size tire ASAP to get back up to full speed.

The Takeaway

When your chiller gives you trouble, a city water bypass is a valuable tool for mitigating the losses you might incur in both helium and scanning downtime. Take a look around your facility- you might already have one. If not, the investment is well worth considering.

Do you have chiller error or failure right now? The Block Service Team can supply a replacement chiller and facilitate the replacement for you. Contact our reps directly at 877-712-7412 for assistance.

Request Non-Contract Service

Written by Kelley Tomlinson

author of blog post

Kelley Tomlinson is the Service Coordinator Team Lead for Block Imaging Time & Materials Service. She considers it a privilege to work with end users all over the world to resolve their equipment issues. Out of the office, Kelley enjoys supporting MSU athletics and trying new foods from all over.

Topics: Imaging Equipment Service, MRI

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