When it comes to HVAC, chillers are one of the most important pieces. They help the water stay cold for air temperature control. There are different types of chillers, so it can be confusing.
So in this article, let’s break down what kinds of chillers there are. If you have a question about which one might be best for you, you can always consult Unique Indoor Comfort — your trusted HVAC company in Palatine.
But this will give you a good overview to start out with:
The Five Most Common Types Of Chillers In HVAC
Every type of chiller has a unique collection of characteristics. Some are water cooled, others are air cooled. They also use different types of compressors, like a screw compressor, a centrifugal compressor, or a scroll compressor.
In terms of chiller type, air conditioning systems can be categorized. So let’s take a look at the different types one by one:
This is the most popular type of HVAC chiller. Centrifugal chillers use water cooling. You may also hear them referred to as water cooled chillers for that reason.
Centrifugal chillers need cooling towers. What they do is take heat and then send it outside of the building. The centrifugal compressor offers a lot of cooling capacity. For instance, it ranges from around 150 RT to around 3000 RT.
RT means refrigeration tonnage. Large buildings and commercial properties tend to leverage centrifugal chillers. This is especially true if they need a cooling capacity above 500 RT or so.
Centrifugal chillers don’t come with fans, but they have heat exchangers that evaporate and condense the heat. They also offer a decent amount of efficiency. Hospitals, shopping malls, hotels, and other commercial buildings often have centrifugal chillers.
Air-cooled chillers use fans to reject heat outside of the building. This means they can be used without cooling towers. One of the benefits of air-cooled chillers is that you don’t need extra space for those towers.
They can also stack vertically to reduce the amount of space they take up. Most types of air cooled chillers typically have more than one compressor. This allows them to have redundancy to keep cooling the air if one of the compressors happens to fail.
Air-cooled chillers are more efficient at lower capacities. But they do need maintenance, as with any chiller. Here’s why that’s so important.
Hybrid chillers are somewhat of a mix between an air-cooled chiller and also a cooling tower. They focus on evaporating heat using the fans inside the chiller itself.
These chillers use water pumps to cool down the heat exchangers. While hybrid chillers are somewhat more efficient than air-cooled chillers, they tend to max out at around 0.75 kW per ton.
Because hybrid chillers use water, stainless steel is typically a required material for their design. This can increase the cost, which is perhaps one of the largest downsides of this type of chiller.
Magnetic Bearing Chiller
Unlike other centrifugal chillers, these do not need any lubricant due to the magnetic bearing. They’re also free of oil.
This allows them to maintain high efficiency when cooling the surrounding air. That’s why it’s so commonly used in HVAC applications in homes and businesses. They also require less maintenance overall.
Heat Recovery Chiller
Heat recovery chillers are versatile. They can both create chilled water and hot water. Instead of sending hot, condensed water to a cooling tower, it allows for more efficiency.
It recycles that hot water for applications throughout the building. Sometimes heat recovery chillers are referred to as heat reclaim chillers as well. Keep in mind that this type of chiller does require some extra space.
But if you’re looking to go green, then it is a great eco-friendly option.
Palatine HVAC Service
If you have a home or business near Chicagoland, then consider reaching out to Unique Indoor Comfort. Stop wondering about things like chiller compressor types, and focus on your strengths.
The heating and cooling experts can help you understand the best way to cool or heat your commercial or residential property.
So make sure everyone is comfortable, safe, and happy all year long. And avoid wasting hours trying to maintain, replace, or repair HVAC components that are foreign to you.