Understanding the Difference Between an Air-Cooled and Water-Cooled Condenser

Understanding Condensers

Condensers are cooling devices that are used in industrial processes. The kind of condenser you use depends on various factors. Depending on the type, the system will either use ambient air to remove heat or water. Air-cooled condensers are found in some industrial settings, such as power plants in areas with little water. They work by pressurizing and superheating vapor in the compressor. Then it evaporates before it heads to the condenser. More heat is lost in the condenser, returning more liquid to vapor. When you are ready to install or service your air-cooled condenser, it pays to work with a skilled and experienced commercial and industrial HVAC company.

An In-Depth Look at Air-Cooled and Water-Cooled Condensers

You will find that your condensers will typically be one of two options – air-cooled or water-cooled. These systems will ensure that your coolant does what it is supposed to. Here is a breakdown of how each works:

  1. Air-Cooled Condenser: These systems use standard airflow for cooling hot refrigerants. The refrigerant flows through a series of tubes and fins. Then a fan forces ambient air through the fins and over the tubes. The excess heat is released into the air and captured in a different part of the building.
  2. Water-Cooled Condenser: Systems like these use water to cool the refrigerant. These will be built with a tube-in-tube, tube-in-shell, or plate-type heat exchanger. Flowing through separate passageways, the refrigerant and cooling water never come in contact with each other. Instead, the water flows over the refrigerant tubes and absorbs excess heat.

How to Know When to Use Air vs. Water-Cooled Condensers

Deciding which type of condenser to use begins by consulting with your trusted commercial or industrial installer. In general, you may find this reference helpful to know when each kind is better suited for the job:

  • Unit is Indoors: Both the air-cooled and the water-cooled condensers can be installed indoors. The area where it will be installed will dictate if one system is better than another.
  • Outdoors: A vast majority of air-cooled units will be installed outdoors. You will need a properly configured electrical control panel installed by your preferred HVAC company.
  • High Temperature Areas: A water-cooled system works much better when your environment has a high temperature since it doesn’t use ambient air to cool things down.
  • Small Spaces: A water-cooled condenser will be a better choice if you have a small space for your unit.
  • Water-Scarce Area: If your facility is located in a location with limited water resources, then an air-cooled condenser makes better sense.

Trust TRI-AIR Systems for all your Air-Cooled Condenser Needs

Ensure you have the best condenser for the job when you consult with TRI-AIR Systems. Our knowledgeable staff will answer your questions and point you in the right direction. Talk to us about all your commercial and industrial HVAC needs. We have decades of experience and highly trained HVAC technicians who will advise you on the right choice of HVAC system for your facility, install it expertly, and maintain it regularly on schedule.

Call us at 905.470.2424 or contact us online for your next air-cooler condenser installation, service, or repair.

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