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The Basic Difference Between AC And Chiller Systems

Oct. 15, 2022

One area of heating and cooling air that people often wonder about in a home or commercial facility is the difference between air conditioning and air cooler systems. While they typically have the same goal in regulating air temperature, each system works very differently and produces very different results. Here are the main differences between AC and chiller systems.


Air Conditioning

As it sounds, an air conditioner regulates the temperature of a room. It converts air into hot or cold air, depending on its settings. It is also designed to dehumidify an area. In cooling, the basic cooling principle is used: the condenser carries away the heat and is located on the "hot" side of the air conditioner. The condenser transfers the heat to the air or water or glycol fluid and removes it from the air to be circulated.


In most air conditioning systems used for refrigeration, the main refrigerant is chilled water. Air is passed through a ring of chilled fluid and heat is transferred from the air to the chilled water. The chilled water is circulated through so that it is always present when the air passes through. If you are installing a heating and air system in Loganville, GA, this type of ambient temperature maintenance is most common in offices, homes, and retail shops.

        Air-Cooled Chiller                          

Air-Cooled Chiller


Water Chillers

Using chillers, heat is removed from the liquid through a vapour compression or absorption refrigeration cycle. The cooled liquid passes through ducts in the building and coils in the air handler or through fan coil units, which help to dehumidify the air.


Typically, chillers are air-cooled and water-cooled. Air-cooled chillers are located outside the facility and the condenser coils are cooled by fan-driven air. Water cooled chillers are usually located internally, with water circulating to radiators or external cooling methods. External cooling methods can include cooling towers or, in some cases, water supply cooling systems, which are more efficient in terms of heat dissipation.


Chillers are also powered by different methods. There are four types: reciprocating, centrifugal, screw driven and absorption. The first three are powered by electric motors, steam or gas turbines. Absorption is powered by a heat source, such as steam or hot water. Generally, heating and air management in Loganville, Georgia in a manufacturing environment will be done by a chiller if equipment is involved.

 Water Cooled Scroll Chiller

Water Cooled Scroll Chiller          


Air conditioning allows for the precise regulation of air temperature and humidity levels in more confined spaces. Air conditioners are used in homes, small buildings and some offices and the size of the units and the actual application varies.


Chiller driven refrigerants have applications in cooling equipment and other manufacturing processes such as MRI machines, assembly processes and tooling equipment. Air-cooled chillers are used in commercial and industrial facilities to cool fluids and dehumidify air in larger locations, such as factory floors, arenas and large facilities such as hotels.


The differences between air conditioners and chillers may be subtle in terms of cooling process levels, but they are very different in terms of application use. It pays to understand these differences in addition to what is involved in proper system maintenance.

Are you interested in learning more about chillers for sale and how they can benefit you? Get in touch with us today to secure an expert consultation!

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