Difference between Air-cooled Chiller and Water-cooled Chiller
Air-cooled chillers (heat pumps) require a fan to blow outside air over the fins to remove heat from the condenser. So there is no need for a cooling tower, but the size of the equipment is larger and the noise is higher under the same power.
For water-cooled chillers and water-source heat pump units, the condenser exchanges heat with cooling water through a heat exchanger. Excess waste heat is conveyed through the cooling water loop to the cooling tower for release to the atmosphere. Or into water-to-water heat exchangers or soil heat exchange coils for storage.
Therefore, water-cooled chillers do not need fans to dissipate heat, but need cooling towers or water (ground) source heat exchange pipelines. One more cooling water system than the air-cooled chiller. Units with the same power are smaller in size and do not take up space. The noise is low, but a cooling pump is required, and the equipment needs a machine room.
In terms of cooling and heating switching, the air-cooled chiller uses a four-way valve to switch the flow direction of the refrigerant loop, and the condenser and the evaporator are interchanged. Heat is transferred from indoors to outdoors in summer, and heat is absorbed from outdoors to indoors in winter.
The water-cooled chiller does not have the ability to exchange the evaporator and condenser, so the unit connected to the cooling tower has no heating function (an external boiler is required). The heat pump unit needs to switch the chilled water and cooling water loops, and 8 water circuit switching valves should be added in the machine room. Cold water goes into the house in summer and hot water goes to the outside coil. Hot water goes into the house in winter and cold water goes to the outside coil. (Some small water source heat pump units also have refrigerant four-way valves).
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