When to Choose Air-Cooled Chillers Over Water-Cooled Chillers

Chillers differ in that some transfer heat to the surrounding environmental air and some transfer heat to a water source, such as a cooling tower. Air-cooled chillers and water-cooled chillers each have their own pros and cons, and you should do your research to determine which type meets your needs better. If some of the following criteria applies to you, an air-cooled chiller is probably your best bet.

You Have A Water Shortage

Water-cooled chillers require sufficiency of water to run, which makes them a poor choice in areas that have water shortages. In areas with drought conditions, you may run into restrictions on the use of water-cooled systems as well. Air-cooled chillers don’t use water, so you don’t have to worry about wasting water. They do require a continuous flow of fresh air because they operate by using a condenser that’s cooled by surrounding air. That’s why you shouldn’t position them near walls that block air flow.

You Want Low Maintenance Costs

Compared to water-cooled chillers, air-cooled chillers don’t require much maintenance. That’s because they don’t have cooling towers and evaporative condensers that require water treatments. The trade-off is that they often have shorter lifespans than water-cooled chillers.

You Want A Lower Upfront Cost

Air-cooled chillers have a smaller initial investment than water-cooled chillers because they don’t have components of water transmission. Cooling towers and condenser water pumps jack up the cost of water-cooled chillers. Air-cooled chillers also don’t use water, so you won’t have to pay a higher water bill.

You Have A Large, Airy, Open Space

Air-cooled chillers need continuous fresh air to run, and they don’t do well placed next to each other or by other air-obstructing objects. Obstructed air flow creates problems with re-circulation and adversely affects the chiller’s performance, which is why the chiller can’t have higher walls surrounding it. If your building code requires that you have outdoor walls, you would be better off choosing a water-cooled chiller. Ideal places to put air-cooled chillers include parking lots and rooftops.

You Don’t Have A Mechanical Room

Air-cooled chillers need open spaces, but water-cooled chillers require mechanical rooms because of their equipment. Adding a mechanical room to a property is more costly than just choosing an air-cooled chiller.

You Don’t Mind Some Noise

All chillers transmit sounds, but air-cooled chillers use fans that make noise. If noise is an issue for you, you might want to go with a water-cooled chiller. Not all air-cooled chillers make the same level of noise, however, because they don’t all use the same fans.

You’re Willing to Accept Higher Energy Bills

Air-cooled chillers don’t do as well as water-cooled chillers in terms of efficiency. This is because dissipating heat to the air takes a lot of energy. Unfortunately, this means you’ll pay a higher energy bill using an air-cooled chiller.

You Want An Easy Setup

Water-cooled chillers are more complicated to install because they have more parts. Air-cooled chillers take less time to get up and running, and they’re also easier to operate.

In general, neither air-cooled or water-cooled chillers are better, but you’ll want to have the type that’s best for your situation. If you’re still unsure of which type to rent or buy, you should contact the vendor for more information.

At J.C. Younger Company, we offer chiller rentals to all kinds of industries. We’ve been in business since 1956, and we’re an ETL listed and inspected manufacturer. Our commercial and industrial chiller rentals come with the most unit protection in the industry. Products are USA-made without specialized or OEM components, and we’re available to answer your questions about our chillers 24/7. To inquire further about chiller rentals for your business, please contact us.


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