CHOOSING A CHILLER: 5 FACTORS TO CONSIDER
When it comes to chillers, figuring out where to start is the tricky part. Air-cooled or water-cooled? Used or new? What size do you need? The experts at Cold Shot Chillers cover all of these questions and more in today’s article.
What Are Industrial Chillers?
An industrial chiller is a refrigeration system that keeps equipment and materials cool, allowing operations to run smoothly. Air Conditioners dehumidify air while water chiller systems cool down fluids that can be used to condition spaces or cool processes, simply by removing heat. However, these units are not “cooling” or “chilling” anything; they simply remove heat.
Factors to Consider for Your Chiller Choice
There are a few general rules of thumb to keep in mind when selecting a new cooling system. Keep reading to gain a better understanding of the different chiller types available on the market.
Size is one of the biggest factors to consider when buying a chiller. Selecting a correctly sized chiller is paramount. A chiller that is too small won’t properly cool your equipment or materials. On the other hand, a chiller that is too large will work just fine, but providing excess capacity will over time fail prematurely due to short cycling. In addition, you’ve spent more money than you needed to. So how do you know what size chiller you need?
Industrial chillers come in a variety of sizes, ranging from ¼ ton to thousands of tons in capacity. We recommend you use a chiller size calculator to determine what size chiller you need for your application. Below are some examples of chiller sizes based on industry standards.
- Medical Chillers – 7 ½ ton and 5-ton chillers; or 12 ½ and 15-ton chillers for cooling multiple medical devices simultaneously
- Welding Chillers – it’s advised to have at least 1-ton of chilling capacity for 100KVA of welder capacity
- Winery Chillers – typically, a 2-ton air cooled chiller is sufficient for most winery applications
- Waterjet Cutting Chillers – common sizes are 2 and 3 ton
- Hydroponic Chillers – sizes generally range from 1.5 to 100 tons
- Flower Chiller – sizes range typically from 2-100 tons
Keep in mind that these sizes are only based on industry standards. Manufacturers like Cold Shot Chillers can design and build custom units of virtually any size. We highly recommend using a chiller sizing tool with exact measurements for the most accurate estimation. You can also reach out to our experienced team for additional help with sizing requirements or general questions.
Chillers have various applications for all types of industries. For example, they are used for medical applications such as radiotherapy, PET scans, laboratory operations, and even blood bank refrigeration. In addition, MRI chillers and CT chillers are used frequently in the healthcare sector.
Food processing chillers serve a variety of applications in the food and beverage industry. Depending on your specific setting, you can choose from bakery chillers, winery glycol chillers, brewery glycol chillers, dairy milk chillers, and even commercial yogurt machine chillers.
Metal finishing chillers can be beneficial for paint and powder coating, anodizing, die casting cooling, furnace cooling, quench cooling, and more.
Explosion-proof chillers are commonly used in chemical processing plants, coal plants, oil and gas refineries, and other work environments that interact with flammable gases and vapors.
Industrial chillers can be categorized in a few different ways. Let’s take a look at five types of chiller classifications.
- Air Cooled Chillers – Air-cooled systems are generally cheaper than water-cooled chillers. However, they tend to release significant amounts of heat, so these chillers are best-suited for facilities where heat is not an issue.
- Water Cooled Chillers – Water chillers are typically quieter and more efficient than air-cooled chillers. Therefore, they are suitable for commercial-scale and small-scale facilities.
- Portable Chillers – In this case, the term “portable” does not refer to the mobility of the chiller. Instead, it means that a chiller contains all the system’s basic components in a single footprint.
- Stationary Chillers – Chillers that are “stationary” do not include a tank or pump. Instead, they are stand-alone units that must be connected to a reservoir and pump to function.
- Central Chillers – These chillers are used to cool several processes. They can have a portable or stationary configuration, and they can be air-cooled or water-cooled.
Industrial chillers can range in price anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. As mentioned before, water chillers are typically more expensive than air-cooled chillers. In addition, different chiller manufacturers all design and price their systems uniquely, so make sure to carefully compare prices and weigh your options before making a purchase.
Always familiarize yourself with the manufacturer and their policies ahead of time. Ask the following questions and more before choosing a chiller:
- Do they offer a chiller warranty?
- What’s the turnaround time?
- How are new chillers tested?
- Do they offer chiller accessories and tools?
- How is the chiller prepped for shipment?
- Has the company been around for a while? The longer a company has been in business chances are good the company is reputable and trustworthy.
- Does the chiller design use any proprietary components? That replacement part might carry a high price tag since these types of parts are generally used to control the chiller. Over time these items become obsolete and no longer supported.
- How easy is it to reach a live person? Can you get technical and commercial issues resolved over the phone quickly?
- Has the chiller manufacturer built a chiller handling the same type of application or something similar?
- Does the chiller company make it easy to do business with? Can you discuss your application with a knowledgeable technical representative? Can you get a quote issued for your project quickly? Does the submittal information include everything you need about the chiller you are considering?
- Deal directly with the manufacturer to cut out the middleman. This will alleviate any confusion on how your chiller should be configured and possibly save some time and money.
Finding the Right Chiller for Your Company
We hope that you’ve learned some valuable information here that will help you make the best purchase. We’re confident that we can find a solution for you, no matter what you’re looking for!