Air cooled vs water cooled chillers By Tsur Ben David

Tsur Ben David: Large industrial plants and commercial spaces have lots of equipment and machinery that require energy and generate heat. So to cool down such big spaces, building managers need industrial-level cooling systems, such as HVAC, as simple air conditioning won’t cut it. However, most of these systems are only built to cool down and cannot take care of heat produced on the premises. This Excess heat is not good for the indoor equipment and occupants as it can cause downtime, equipment damage, inefficiency, often leading to lower profit margins.

That’s where chillers come in handy. They exchange heat with the cooled air and keep your equipment running at optimum performance, even when the temperature is high outside. So with chillers, you can ensure that your HVAC systems are running smoothly and keep the indoors of your buildings cool. They do this by removing heat from a load and transferring it to the environment using cooling towers. It’s the preferable cooling machine in power plants and other large-scale facilities, consisting of ethylene + water or water reservoir and circulation components. The cooling fluid is circulated from the reservoir or a cooling tower to the equipment undercooling.

However, there are also air-cooled chillers that disperse heat-using fans and are common in power plants. So if you want the best chiller to meet the needs of your business, you’ve to learn a thing or two. First you’ll have to know more about their types so you can comprehend which one is compatible with your system.

However, that’s not as easy as it seems. Both air-cooled chillers and water-cooled chillers have their advantages and disadvantages. Hence, you need to know the workings of both chillers to make a selection between the two, depending on your operational requirements, cooling area, power consumption, local regulations limiting power and water use, or sustainability priorities.

In this blog, Mr Tsur Ben David, CEO, CET-Enviro has reviewed the difference between these two technologies so you can pick the one that’s best-suited for you. To assist in your research, he has noted down everything you need to know about the air-cooled and water-cooled chillers. If you need further help, go to the CET-Enviro website, and they would be happy to help you in the decision making process.

Tsur Ben David: Air-cooled chillers

Suitable for both commercial and personal requirements, air-cooled chillers cool downs buildings in much simpler way. They cool fluids and exchange heat to dehumidify the air by actively absorbing all the excess heat from the processed water. Then, they will disperse this heat into the air around the chiller unit.

So in air-cooled chillers, heat is absorbed from the chilled water circulating through the evaporator, which gets pumped by the compressor into the condenser. Then the refrigerant flows over the chilled water coils and absorbs more heat to create the desired environment.

That’s why these chillers are mostly popular amongst buildings where additional heat discharge is not an issue. Instead, it works to their benefit due to their compact and highly efficient heat exchangers, which make them ideal for small commercial spaces and temporary fixation. But with growing demand, they’re now available for a variety of spaces, such as hotels, corporate rental spaces, restaurants, small-scale construction and even industrial or manufacturing plants.

Tsur Ben David: Water-cooled chillers

These chillers are mostly preferred for large installations, such as manufacturing plants or big warehouses. It’s because water-cooled chillers use a cooling tower and water-cooled condenser to remove excess heat, which is far more efficient and reliable than air-cooled chillers. These chillers recirculate water from a cooling tower to condense the refrigerant and absorb heat, which is returned to the chiller.

Hence, this mark-up water in the condenser becomes a medium for heat transfers. It ensures more consistent performance because it’s not dependent on fluctuations of the ambient temperature. That’s why water-cooled chillers are more reliable and efficient than air-cooled chillers.

However, water-cooled chillers are more efficient than air-cooled chillers in terms of heat exchange.  Hence, you must take all factors into consideration to make sure the chiller that ultimately gets specified balances all the objectives over the long term. So if you need help in making the right decision for a long-term success, contact us at:

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