Advantages And Disadvantages of Water-Cooled Chillers

Chillers play an important role in many industries. They help keep medical machines running consistently, and they keep milk cool until it goes to markets. They assist in the pharmaceutical industry, the brewery industry, and in meat and poultry processing. If you’re looking for a chiller for your business, one of the things you’ll have to decide is whether you need an air-cooled chiller or a water-cooled chiller. To assist in your research, here are the main advantages and disadvantages of water-cooled chillers.


Longer Lifespan

Water-cooled chillers usually don’t need replacement as often as air-cooled chillers do. They aren’t exposed to outdoor elements such as rain, snow, ice, and heat, which makes them less vulnerable.

Quiet Operation

While air-cooled chillers have ducts and vents that create noise, water-cooled chillers operate quietly. The flow of water through the system doesn’t result in the same noisy expansion and contraction that’s heard in air-cooled chillers. Quiet operation is particularly important in environments such as hospitals and schools, where noise can cause disturbance to occupants.

Energy Efficiency

The film coefficient is 10 to 100 times better in water-cooled chillers versus air-cooled chillers. This means that water-cooled chillers transfer heat more efficiently. The result to businesses is a savings on energy costs.

No Open Space Needed

Air-cooled chillers need to stay outdoors in an open space with plenty of fresh air to operate. Water-cooled chillers stay inside buildings, which makes them ideal for companies that don’t have access to enough outdoor space.


Water-cooled chillers use water as a refrigerant instead of toxic chemicals. This makes them safer for people who have contact with them.


Higher Cost

Air-cooled chillers are cheaper than water-cooled chillers because they don’t require parts like cooling towers and condenser water pumps. Many companies feel that the longer lifespan and savings on energy costs make water-cooled chillers worth the initial high investment, however.

More Maintenance

Since water-cooled chillers have more parts, they require more maintenance. Companies should prepare to pay for periodic inspections, water treatments to remove impurities, and regular cleaning of the chiller’s machinery. More maintenance also means more downtime for the chiller. The more parts a machine has, the more things there are that can go wrong with the machine, which means water-cooled chillers are more likely to require repairs than air-cooled chillers.

Complicated Installation

The extra parts in water-cooled chillers also make installation more of a hassle. This can mean higher labor costs for installation of water-cooled chillers as opposed to air-cooled chillers.

Requires Mechanical Room

Businesses need to have a mechanical room to house a water-cooled chiller. This is to ensure that the chiller will function properly with its cooling tower and extra components.

Not Ideal For Drought-Stricken Areas

Since they use a good amount of water, water-cooled chillers aren’t great in regions that have water shortages. Companies that pay water costs can expect these bills to rise with the use of a water-cooled chiller. Some drought-stricken areas also have restrictions on water-cooled chiller use.

Less Efficient in Humidity

Although water-cooled chillers are overall more efficient than air-cooled chillers, they’ll operate less efficiently in humid environments. This is because humidity raises the wet-bulb temperature, which indicates how efficiently water absorbs heat. Water-cooled chillers in humid environments may also make building occupants feel cold and clammy.

J.C. Younger Company rents out air and water-cooled chillers to professionals throughout many industries. We’ve been a family owned company in the chiller business since 1956, and our products are USA-made. We’re pleased to offer the most unit protection in the industry, and we’re available to speak with you 24/7. To talk more about whether an air-cooled chiller or water-cooled chiller is right for you, please contact us.


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