How Does an Air-Cooled Chiller Work?

An air-cooled chiller is a refrigerating system used to cool or dehumidify air by flowing a refrigerant over an evaporator tube bundle. This process draws vapors out of the evaporator and ultimately allows the pressurized refrigerant to condense on a system of tubes and cool the air. When the refrigerant passes through an expansion device, it lowers its temperature. Air-cooled chillers are used in a number of professional settings.

Air-cooled chillers are similar to water-cooled chillers. Both are refrigeration systems that are common in mechanical industries. They both use the same basic principles to generate cooling power, but they use different substances to cool the condensers. Air-cooled chillers do this with the use of air.

Air-cooled chillers use evaporators to absorb heat from chilled water circling the bundle, according to Cooling Technology, Inc. The vapor provided by this process is taken away by the compressor and then pushed into the condenser, which pressurizes and heats it. The vapor is then condensed once more and gives its heat up to the air. Once the liquid refrigerant is highly pressurized and cooled, it passes an expansion device that further reduces its temperature. Finally, the refrigerant passes over cooled water coils.

These types of set-ups are found in primarily industrial settings. They are often used in large equipment rooms where they can cool down overheated systems.