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Understanding Chillers vs. Cooling Towers for Your Business

Mar. 02, 2022

When you’re trying to make a decision about which of these two systems is right for you, you might want to know about the different types of components that are used in chillers and cooling towers.


When looking specifically at chillers, these systems are only comprised of three separate components, which include compressors, evaporator heat exchangers, and condenser heat exchangers. Because of the simplicity of these units, it’s easy to identify which component has malfunctioned if ever an issue occurs during the cooling process. The main goal of the heat exchangers is to effectively remove heat from the liquids before the liquids are sent back to cool the industrial processes.


As for cooling towers, they consist mainly of pumps and a basin. When you use a cooling tower, the pumps send the water throughout the facility in order to cool the area. No matter which type of cooling tower you use for your industrial application, the cooling flow is created when the pumps allow the water to circulate in the tower. The distribution basin that’s used with the cooling tower will collect any of the discharged water.

 Air-Cooled Screw Chiller

 Air-Cooled Screw Chiller     

Uses & Applications of Chillers vs. Cooling Towers

Even though it’s possible to use chillers and cooling towers in the same industries, it’s important to pair the right one with your specific industry if you want to maximize efficiency and keep costs down. The uses and applications of chillers include:


Refrigeration applications

Plastic-industry applications

Wineries and microbreweries

Metal-finishing and water-jet cutting applications

As for cooling towers, these cooling systems are typically used for such applications as:


Power plants that are located near rivers and lakes

Larger mechanical processes where high amounts of heat will be produced

Thermal power stations

Oil and gas refining plants

The higher efficiency of cooling towers makes them more suitable to large-scale applications where high amounts of cooling are required. Any industrial plant that requires continuous cool water flow will typically use a cooling tower. Chillers are used in smaller applications that aren’t directly affected by the discharge of extra heat.

 Water Cooled Scroll Chiller

Water Cooled Scroll Chiller          

How Do Chillers & Cooling Towers Work Together

No matter which type of cooling tower or chiller you want to use, among the best aspects of these systems is that they are available in many different sizes. As such, it’s actually possible to combine a smaller chiller with a smaller cooling tower. If you’re using one of these systems for a smaller application or piece of equipment, you can pair a water-cooled or air-cooled chiller with a portable cooling tower directly on the roof of your industrial building. However, it’s also possible to combine larger chillers with cooling towers, which is typically done with water-cooled chillers.


If you want to use these systems in a microbrewery or power plant, combining a large chiller with a sizable cooling tower allows for highly efficient cooling. If you have the budget needed for the up-front costs of these two systems, you should save a significant amount of money in the future. If you’re using these systems at a power plant, it’s possible to create a central-cooling facility by placing the water-cooled chiller on the lowest floor of the building or the air-cooled chiller on the roof. The cooling tower should always be on the roof to make sure that the heat disperses properly in the air.


Understanding Chillers vs. Cooling Towers for Your Business

When you’re selecting a chiller or cooling tower for your food-processing plant or power plant, it’s important that you understand the differences between chillers and cooling towers if you want to select a system that works with your application. If you require an industrial chiller for your winery, it would be unnecessary for you to use a large natural-draft cooling tower since you’re not going to need continual cool water flow throughout the winery. The type of system that you choose depends on such factors as your access to water, the volume of cooling that’s needed, your budget, and the available space that you have.


As mentioned previously, it’s actually possible to use chillers and cooling towers together for more efficient cooling. The decision that you make all depends on your cooling needs. If energy efficiency is highly important for your company, it’s known that chillers are typically less efficient than cooling towers. With this information in mind, you can make an informed decision.

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To learn more about the differences between chillers and cooling towers or to inquire about the water sensors and equipment that we provide here, call Huazhao Refrigeration Equipment or view the extensive catalog of our products.

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