Let’s Compare the Different Types of Chillers
Chillers are important commercial HVAC components because they expand the cooling capacities of HVAC systems. When you need to choose a chiller, you should know about the different types of chillers and how efficient they are. In this blog, we perform a chiller efficiency comparison to help you determine which type of chiller is right for your HVAC system and your overall commercial facility.
Different Types of Chillers
There are several different types of chillers to consider, and they operate in different ways. Some chillers use compressors, while others do not. The different chiller types include:
- Centrifugal Chillers: This type of chiller turns kinetic energy into static energy through compression. It draws refrigerant in with its impeller blades, brings it to a higher level of pressure, and then rejects the heat from the refrigerant. A centrifugal chiller is one of the chiller types that uses a mechanical compressor.
- Absorption Chillers: These chillers send steam or hot water through tubes, where they boil off the refrigerant and turn into vapor, which moves into the condenser. The refrigerant returns to the absorber, which absorbs it into a lithium bromide solution and turns it back into a refrigerant vapor. The absorber replaces a mechanical compressor, which is present in other types of chillers, such as centrifugal chillers. Types of absorption chillers include single-effect, double-effect, and direct-fired absorption chillers.
- Modular Chillers: Modular chillers come in a few different types: centrifugal, screw, and scroll. These different types determine how the chiller works with its refrigerant. However, the main difference between modular chillers and other types of chillers is the fact that you can pair two or more modular chillers together to expand your HVAC’s cooling capacity. One or more modular chillers are subordinate to the main modular chiller in this setup, so they all operate harmoniously.
These are just a few of the chillers that you can use for your commercial or industrial HVAC system. Air Comfort can help you select the right type of chiller, and then we can install and maintain it for you.
Water-Cooled vs. Air-Cooled Chillers
The chiller types listed above differ in their setup and how they cool their refrigerant to expand an HVAC system’s cooling capacity. However, there is another way to distinguish chiller types: there are water-cooled chillers and air-cooled chillers. An absorption chiller is a water-cooled chiller, for example. Water-cooled chillers circulate condenser water through a cooling tower. They work well in medium and large commercial HVAC installations because they aren’t affected by the ambient temperature fluctuations of their surroundings. Air-cooled chillers, on the other hand, use condensers cooled by the air around their installations. They appear in small and medium commercial HVAC installations located in limited spaces. While they’re more sensitive to the environment around them, air-cooled chillers have simpler designs, so they have lower installation and maintenance costs than water-cooled chillers. You should keep these two chiller types in mind when you select a chiller for your commercial HVAC system.
Water-cooled chillers circulate condenser water through a cooling tower. They work well in medium and large commercial HVAC installations because they aren’t affected by the ambient temperature fluctuations of their surroundings. Air-cooled chillers, on the other hand, use condensers cooled by the air around their installations. They appear in small and medium commercial HVAC installations located in limited spaces.
Comparing Chiller Efficiency
Everyone wants their energy systems to be energy efficient, but you should know that chiller efficiency is calculated differently between the different types. Centrifugal chillers’ efficiency is calculated differently from absorption chillers’ efficiency, for example. However, when you calculate each type’s efficiency and compare them, absorption chillers are more efficient overall.
At Air Comfort, we work extensively with chiller installation and maintenance, so we can calculate chiller efficiencies for the different types. Then we can use those calculations to determine which chiller types would work best with your commercial HVAC system.
Select the Right Chiller With Air Comfort
If you need a new HVAC installation or an HVAC retrofit, Air Comfort’s team of experts can help you select the right chiller for your system. Reach out to us today to begin looking for the right commercial or industrial chiller system.
Air Comfort’s mission is to work closely with customers to provide a true “comfort level” for their businesses, with uninterrupted performance and round-the-clock reliability.