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Water-Cooled Chillers vs Air-Cooled Chillers

Nov. 03, 2021

Two main types of industrial chillers exist water-cooled and air-cooled. Although both chiller types cool industrial process fluids, the way in which the system discharges the extracted heat differs. As a result, the needs of the overall refrigeration system determine the best chiller model. Understanding the advantages of these differences makes it easier to choose the right system design.


Environmental installation considerations

Although there are many different types of air-cooled and water-cooled chillers, some general installation rules do apply. Understanding the final arrangement of your system can help guide your chiller selection. For each situation below, the most practical chiller type is described.


Indoor areas.

Both air-cooled and water-cooled chillers can be installed indoors. However, the chiller type will determine the room arrangement. Indoor air-cooled chillers require ventilation to the outside. Plenty of fresh supplementary air allows the right temperature to be maintained in the space. Water-cooled chillers do not require ventilation or fresh make-up air. They are installed almost entirely indoors. As they use water for cooling, the water carries the heat out of the room and is eventually discharged into the environment, usually via a cooling tower.

Box Type Water-cooled Chiller

 Box Type Water-cooled Chiller     

Outdoor areas.

Almost all outdoor installations are air-cooled chillers. In these installations, the heat discharged from the condenser is simply dissipated into the ambient air. Outdoor installations require the electrical control panel to be correctly configured for the range of environmental conditions expected.


High-temperature environments.

Water-cooled chillers work well in high-temperature environments as they do not rely on ambient air for cooling. They can therefore be placed in hot machinery rooms or in spaces with minimal ventilation.


Small spaces.

Condensers on water-cooled chillers are more compact than air-cooled units of the same size. This can lead to an overall smaller unit, especially in the case of high-capacity chillers. However, sufficient space is still required for the entire refrigeration system.

Air-Cooled Screw Chillers

 Air-cooled Screw Chillers     

Water-scarce areas.

Use air-cooled units. The cooling medium ambient air does not require any connection. Chillers with air-cooled condensers also do not require cooling towers. These units are less concerned with the overall environmental aspects of water treatment and removal. Air-cooled chillers should be the best choice for water conservation.


Our Box Type Air-Cooled Chiller provides an answer to all your “chill” problems. Whether it is a storage room or your concrete, this chiller cools down the temperature of required things like food or other materials. With its safety devices, high and low voltage protection, over current protection, and electronic time-delay protection, it displays an outstanding example of efficiency. It also makes sure that power is consumed in a way to avoid over-billing.


Which one do I choose?

If you're not sure how to choose the right chiller for your system, our cooling engineering experts are on hand to help you. Use these adjustment factors to get a quick idea of what your system needs. If, after considering all these factors, you are still unable to make a decision, focus on the cooling capacity. Use the process itself to determine the amount of cooling required. This is the primary factor in determining the right chiller size for your system. Choosing between water-cooled and air-cooled chillers is not an easy process. However, with the right support and expertise, working with your system's individual needs will buy you the best equipment.


Kendall offers a vast choice of cold rooms, refrigeration equipment and accessories. Whatever your application, whatever your budget, and whatever size and shape for your needs

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