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Selection Creiteria for Water-Cooled and Air-Cooled Condensers for Use in Water Chillers

  • Industrial water chillers are available with a choice of two types of refrigerant condensers: Water-Cooled or Air-Cooled.
  • It is important to choose the right type of condensing medium for the environment the water chiller will operate in. Ill suited condensers may affect process cooling and thus affect production quality.
  • Refrigerant condensers are necessary to remove latent heat from the high pressure refrigerant gas. This heat is introduced by the compressor.
  • The condenser is an heat exchanger where refrigerant gas flows on one side and the condensing medium (air or water) flows on the other side.
  • The latent heat from the refrigerant gas is transferred to the condensing medium.
  • As the heat is transferred to the condensing medium, the refrigerant gas cools and “condenses” into a liquid.
  • Low temperature liquid refrigerant is required to chill the process water.
  • A basic example is where the facilities that do not have adequate water supplies from tower or city water supplies will find that an air-Cooled condenser is better suited than a water-cooled condenser because an air-cooled condenser does not require an external water supply.
  • The condenser types are:
  • Water-Cooled
  • These condensers use a tube and shell heat exchanger where plant waster circulates on one side and refrigerant on the other.
  • Air-Cooled
  • These condensers use a fined tubed heat exchanger and motor driven fans or centrifugal blowers to move air through the condenser.
  • Selection criteria are listed below as well as the Advantages and Disadvantage of each condenser type.
  • Advantage can help with condenser selection and recommend if an air-cooled or water-cooled condenser is best suited for your industrial environment.
  • Select a Water-Cooled Condenser ... If:
  • Water-Cooled Condenser for use in liquid process chillers
  • Adequate water supplies are available from tower, city or well sources.
  • Water supply is of good quality.
  • Heat recovery is not practical or unimportant.
  • Plant ambient temperatures consistently exceed 95°F.
  • Ambient air is polluted with large dust and dirt particles.
  • Offer lower capital investment.
  • Operates more efficiently on hot summer days.
  • Easier to operate.
  • Does not offer summer ventilation.
  • Select An Air-Cooled Condenser ... When:
  • Air-Cooled condenser
  • Adequate water supply not available from tower or well sources.
  • Water supply is not of good quality.
  • Heat recovery is practical and important.
  • Plant ambient temperature will not consistently 95°F.
  • Ambient air is not polluted with large dust and dirt particles.
  • Somewhat more costly to purchase and operate.
  • Gives less cooling on hot summer days.
  • Consumes more electricity.
  • Offers summer ventilation and winter supplement heating.

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