What is an Air-Cooled Chiller

By  //  March 21, 2022

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An industrial air chiller is a refrigeration system that is used in large companies and industrial locations. This system is capable of cooling fluids and improving the air quality of a structure. A chiller has four main parts: an evaporator, a compressor, a condenser, and an expansion valve. 

Air cooled chillers absorb heat from the treated water: when water is used, it becomes hot and it is sent back to the chiller. The refrigerant liquid evaporates and creates a low pressure gas, which is then transformed into a high pressure gas. 

The heat is removed and sent outside by the cooler, which is why it is best to place the appliance outdoors or in a very spacious place. When the gas leaves the condenser, the refrigerant becomes a high pressure liquid, which travels to the evaporator thanks to the expansion valve.

That’s when the liquid changes again: from a high pressure liquid it turns into a low pressure liquid. The cycle repeats itself continuously. To fully understand how an air-cooled chiller works, we need to know what a chiller is. Let’s see the main features below!

What is a chiller

The chiller is an industrial tool that extracts heat and transfers it into the environment thanks to a refrigeration system. This cooling machine is used in large structures such as power plants, but also in large companies. The system consists of: circulation components, ethylene and water (or water tank).

There are water-cooled or air-cooled chillers, in the latter case industrial fans are used. There are substantial differences between the two, and it is important to understand how they differ before buying any.

The difference between air-cooled and water-cooled chiller

Air-cooled and water-cooled chillers use two different resources: air and water. The main difference between the two is that water-cooled chillers work thanks to a flow of moist air, while air-cooled chillers use the ambient air current. 

There is also a difference regarding the price: a water cooler is cheaper but you have to take into account a large consumption of water. The choice varies according to the type of use and the size of the space to be cooled. To choose a chiller you must first of all evaluate the cooling capacity.

In addition to this, you must consider the operating costs: you cannot base your choice only on the initial investment. Before making a choice, you need to pay attention to the value, which considers the operating cost and the initial cost.  

To get a perfect quotation, you need to consider everything, including contractor and equipment costs. In the case of water-cooled chillers you also need to add a cooling tower, while for air-cooled ones it is not necessary. Another thing to consider is the life cycle of the machinery: some models last longer than others. If you look at all these factors you can get an idea of ​​the total cost and which model suits you best. 

If you don’t know which model to choose, you can opt for a hybrid chiller. This model can function as an air-cooled chiller as well as water-cooled, depending on the type of conditions. They generally cost a little more but are ideal for situations where the climate is very dry and there is little water available.

Air-cooled chiller: main characteristics

The air-cooled chiller is mainly used in areas where there is scarcity of water. This chiller depends on the flow of air to transfer the heat. In fact, air cooled chillers rely on air currents only.

Many people think that these objects are impractical, but today there are space-saving and efficient systems on the market. Compared to years ago, many changes have been made and both performance and classification of air-cooled chillers improved, leading to a progressive increase in their quality.

The design has become more modern, simple, and compact.

Let’s see what are the main advantages: 

 compared to water chillers, in this case there is no need for a cooling tower;

there is no waste of water and environmental stability is better;

maintenance is simple and inexpensive;

overall costs are not high because there are no expenses for water or chemicals.

It is no coincidence that air-cooled chillers are widely used for commercial and industrial facilities. They are economical, functional and can be easily placed in any place, even where there is humidity. They consist of a condenser, a compressor, an evaporator and an expansion valve.

The air is used to feed the condenser cooling and therefore they can be easily installed in open places. An air-cooled chiller is ideal for many types of activities where you want the air to circulate while always having a clean environment. The initial cost may be high, but it is also important to consider the overall cost taking into account its long-term duration.