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Different Types Of Chillers

May. 27, 2021

Chiller systems are critical for temperature control and cooling across multiple industries. Choosing the right type of industrial chiller for process and space cooling can reduce cooling costs, minimize downtime and increase operational efficiency.


The chiller supplier will describe the different types of chillers used for commercial and industrial applications, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each chiller. The goal is to help you make an informed purchasing decision.

Types of industrial chillers (based on condenser type)

The three main types of industrial chillers in use today are air-cooled chillers, water-cooled chillers, and evaporative condensing chillers. Let's take a closer look at these three.


Water-cooled chillers

The most common chillers use water in an external tower to cool the gaseous refrigerant in the condenser. After heat is discharged, the refrigerant undergoes a phase change into a liquid and is recirculated back into the system.

Air-Cooled Chiller

 Air-Cooled Chiller


Water-cooled chillers are typically more efficient than air-cooled chillers

They operate more quietly than air-cooled systems

They are suitable for small and commercial scale cooling

Portable solutions can be used in space-constrained facilities


Air-Cooled Chillers

Air-cooled chillers use ambient air to remove heat from the refrigerant in the condenser prior to condensing and recirculating. In addition, a fan mounted on the unit helps to speed up the cooling process.


Different types of chillers


Air-cooled chillers are suitable for applications where discharging heat is not a problem, as they tend to generate a lot of heat in the field.



Portable solution for space-constrained facilities

Air-cooled chillers can be used for small and commercial scale cooling, depending on size and chiller capacity

They are less costly to install and maintain than water-cooled systems

The heat discharged from the chiller can be used to heat the facility during cold periods, providing additional cost and power savings


Air-Cooled vs. Water-Cooled Chillers

While the components of air-cooled and water-cooled chillers are largely the same (condenser, expansion valve, evaporator and compressor), the main difference is in the way the refrigerant is cooled.


In an air-cooled chiller, the hot refrigerant entering the condenser is exposed to the atmosphere and the air releases heat before condensing back into the liquid state. In a water-cooled chiller, on the other hand, the hot refrigerant gas is delivered to a water-cooled heat exchanger or condenser and water from a cooling tower is used to cool the refrigerant. To better understand, learn how cooling towers and chillers work together.

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