5 Step Guide to Choosing the Best Chiller for your Application in 2024

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Finding the right chiller for your application is a complex process that requires a lot of research and consideration. This guide will help you ask the right questions and analyze the situation properly so you know exactly what you’re looking for in your search for a chiller.

Before beginning this simple guide to aid you in choosing the right chiller for your application, it’s important to learn that two different types exist. Two main categories are air-cooled and water-cooled. So what’s the difference?

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Air vs Water Chillers

Air chillers use air to fuel condenser cooling. Basically what they do is use the air stream to remove unwanted heat. The mechanics of the water ones are almost the same, except they, you guessed it, use water instead of air.

So what are the practical differences between the two?

Well, first of all, water-cooled chillers are more energy-efficient and they take up significantly less space than air-cooled. The latter, on the other hand, is cheaper to install and maintain and don’t waste any water at all.

These are only the most basic differences between the two, there are plenty of resources online if you want to find more in-depth information about how both work.

Now when you know the basics about the two main types, we can start the guide for choosing the unit that’s exactly right for your application needs.

The heat load

The first step in choosing the best chiller for your application has to be determining the heat load. This is essentially the amount of heat it will have to be able to remove.

You should contact the manufacturer of the equipment to find the exact value. If that’s not an option you could still calculate it manually using the following formula:

Heat load = Flow rate x Fluid density x Fluid specific heat x Constant x ΔT°

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The environment

Of course, one of the most important things to consider when searching for a chiller is the environment in which it will be installed. You need to know how much space will be necessary for its installation, as well as other environmental factors that could impact its functionality and efficiency. Will it be installed outdoors or indoors? Do you need any additional accessories to ensure it’s working at its full potential?  What is the maximum ambient temperature for where your chiller will be placed? Those questions are essential.

Coolant parameter

Now, this is a very important step in the process. The main two coolant specifications you should look into are coolant pressure and flow. If these two components are too high or too low, huge problems could arise. Your equipment could endure damage or the cooling process will be excessively inefficient. This is why it’s crucial to thoroughly investigate these before getting a chiller. You can usually find this information from the equipment manufacturer.

Coolant temperature

This is also a very important step in choosing the best chiller for your application. You have to determine the desired coolant temperature because otherwise, you could end up with a unit that’s too small or too large for your needs. If this happens, your chiller could end up being very inefficient and you could end up losing the whole investment if not careful.

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Other important factors to consider

  • Cooler life expectancy

Different types of chillers have different life expectancies. Air-cooled usually have shorter life expectancies than water-cooled ones.

  • Noise

This mainly depends on the chiller compressor locations, so be sure to position them correctly.

  • Price

As previously mentioned, air-cooled chillers are usually a cheaper option. Now, this can depend on factors like how expensive water and power are in your area. If you come from a place where water prices are low and power prices are high, a water-cooled unit could be a bit less pricey all things considered. Still, this could be the least important factor in deciding between air or water-cooled unit, since functionality and capacity should play the most important parts in your choosing process.

  • Size

This depends on the type and the coolant parameters. Generally, water-cooled chillers are much smaller than air-cooled.

  • Compressor types

There are three main types of compressors:

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  • Reciprocating Compressor: a compressor that uses pistons driven by a crankshaft. It is used for delivering a small amount of refrigerant at very high pressure.
  • Centrifugal Compressor:  compressors that have few moving parts which make them a favorite in the industry.  They are also very energy efficient and give a higher refrigerant flow than a similarly sized reciprocating compressor.
  • Screw Compressor: The screw compressor is almost exactly as it sounds. There are two screws (male & female) in a screw compressor that are fitted together

Of course, this is just a simple overview that could help you in asking the right questions. Be sure to find a good and professional company to help you with this progress. Ask all the important questions so you can be sure the chiller you’ve chosen is the best fit for your needs. You should know exactly what you want and what you are looking for, but you should always consider asking for a professional opinion to ensure the best possible outcome.

On places similar to this website you can find tons of different information that can help you when choosing the chiller for your application. This is the most important part of the process-researching and asking important questions.

All in all, finding the right chiller can be a complicated process if you don’t have enough knowledge. Luckily, there are many resources online that can help you to find all the in-depth information you need. This guide serves as an overview to lead you in the right direction when researching available options. Just carefully consider the 5 steps described in this guide, where you lack knowledge ask for a professional opinion, and you are sure to succeed.