How Does a Commercial HVAC Chiller Work?

How Does a Commercial HVAC Chiller Work?

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Numerous commercial buildings and facilities across the Greater Atlanta metro area and the surrounding communities utilize commercial chillers as part of their building’s cooling system. A chiller system is quite different from the residential air conditioners many people think of in respect to cooling equipment.

In our most recent blog, Estes Commercial provides detailed information for building owners and facilities managers regarding commercial chillers. Learn how they run and what equipment is involved in these large commercial cooling systems. Get custom cooling solutions for your facility when you contact Estes’ commercial heating and cooling team.

What Are Commercial Chillers?

When cooling a large building such as a commercial business facility, chilled water can be used to remove heat from the air. Chillers are equipment that generate the chilled water used in the air conditioning process. Chilled water is pumped through a piping system that runs throughout the building to absorb heat in the air. Chillers are used in several types of facilities, including hotels, hospitals, schools, warehouses, manufacturing plants, restaurants, sports venues, and other large buildings. 

Industrial chillers are large in size and either have water-cooled or air-cooled condensers. This refers to the way the chiller eliminates excess heat absorbed from inside the building. 

  • Water-cooled chillers first transfer heat from refrigerant to water in the condenser. This warm water is pumped to a linked cooling tower which discharges heat into the air. Typically, water-cooled chillers are installed within a building’s basement.
  • Air-cooled chillers use a blower to move air across refrigerant lines in order for the refrigerant to effectively release heat into the atmosphere. Air-cooled chillers are usually installed as rooftop units.

There are also different means of powering commercial chillers. Chiller units are available using reciprocating, screw-driven, centrifugal, and absorption processes.

Advantages of Commercial Chiller Cooling Systems

Compared to the packaged cooling units regularly used to cool commercial facilities, chiller systems offer several key advantages.

  • They operate with higher energy efficiency.
  • Water provides better heat conductivity than air.
  • Their equipment has a longer service life, typically over 20 years compared to 15 years.
  • They are easier to control.
  • They make more efficient use of installation space.

There are differences between the two different types of commercial chillers, which make one choice better than the other depending on the application.

  • Water-cooled commercial chillers are commonly used in medium to large building applications, while air-cooled commercial chillers are more popular in small to medium building applications.
  • Water-cooled commercial chillers offer more consistent and energy-efficient performance than an air-cooled chiller, and the systems typically last longer because they are normally installed indoors and are protected from the elements. 
  • Water-cooled chillers take up more space than air-cooled chillers. 
  • Air-cooled chillers are more affordable to install and maintain versus water-cooled chillers. 

Commercial Chillers for Atlanta Facilities

Commercial chillers are an efficient cooling option for commercial facilities large and small. Selecting the right equipment can be tricky, so work with a commercial HVAC professional who is knowledgeable regarding these specialized systems. Estes Commercial provides installation, repair, and maintenance services for commercial chillers and chilled water cooling systems throughout the Atlanta area. To schedule service, please contact us today.