Air-cooled systems require ventilation and access to cool air for heat dissipation. They can be easier to maintain and less costly than a water-cooled
Air-cooled systems require ventilation and access to cool air for heat dissipation. They can be easier to maintain and less costly than a water-cooled compressor, but may also be harder to install.
An air-cooled system operates much like a split system, with an indoor air handling unit connected to the outdoor compressor/condenser. The indoor unit contains an evaporator coil, which blows warm indoor air across the cooling fins to remove heat from the air.
Types of Cooling Systems
Air cooling systems are the oldest and most well-known form of coolant. These systems use fans to drive ambient air over the cylinder heads, and the heat is dissipated by the air’s movement. They are often employed where there is adequate space to drive the fan and for the air to be dispersed.
These systems are a popular choice for data centers, as they are simple and relatively inexpensive to maintain. However, air is limited in heat density and cannot cool a small overheated component quickly. Air cooling is also limited in its effectiveness by dust, spores and corrosion.
An open water-cooling system is a good option where the compressor equipment in your plant can be placed outdoors and the discharge temperatures and pressures are within safe operating ranges. It is also a good choice where the existing building system can handle the heat being dumped on it, or in a facility that already uses domestic or industrial water for other purposes.
Liquid-to-Liquid Cooling Systems
For systems that require a higher level of cooling capacity, liquid cooling can provide better performance. These setups work by transferring heat directly to water using a heat exchanger. The cooling liquid may be deionized water, ethylene or propylene glycol, transformer oil, or hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant.
These cooling systems also circulate water through “water blocks” that rest on top of the processor. When electrical current is applied to these water blocks, they can cool a microprocessor chip by moving heat from one side of the block to the other. This method transfers more heat than air cooling.
The cooling system can be designed to use well water or a plant’s primary cooling water, which is regulated to prevent excessive cooling. This system requires a pump to circulate the cooling liquid and an internal heat exchanger that transfers heat from the cooling circuit into the facility’s water loop. It’s important that the internal heat exchanger can be easily cleaned without affecting the well or plant cooling water.
Evaporative Cooling Systems
Evaporative cooling systems, commonly referred to as swamp coolers, use natural scientific processes to lower air temperature. They utilize a fan and a large water reservoir to cool a room. A fan draws dry, hot air into the machine and across thick pads that absorb and distribute cool water molecules throughout a space.
The pads require regular maintenance to keep them clean and working at optimal performance. The water level in the tank must be monitored regularly to prevent overfilling and possible flooding.
Swamp cooling systems use far less energy than traditional air conditioners, making them a smart choice for those looking to reduce their electricity bills while still creating a comfortable environment. They also do not use refrigerant chemicals, which deplete the earth’s ozone layer. This makes them a good choice for outdoor greenhouses and indoor home spaces. However, they do not provide heating and will need to be paired with an alternate heating solution during the winter months.
Chilled Water Systems
Cooling accounts for a significant proportion of the energy consumption and utility costs in most buildings. Optimizing this energy use is critical to building occupants, owners and developers. Chilled water systems offer many energy-saving opportunities compared to traditional air conditioning systems, such as lower first cost and operating costs.
These cooling systems use water to absorb heat from indoor spaces and expel it outside. Water is much better at absorbing heat than air, and it’s also cheap and readily available. It also eliminates the need for costly refrigerant lines throughout the building.
The chiller can cool water at night, when electricity prices are low, and store it in insulated tanks for peak loads. This helps lower both chiller and energy costs, as well as minimizes the risk of leaks. However, chilled water systems require routine checks and maintenance, including cleaning the coils. This can be done by a qualified service technician. A well-planned service schedule can help ensure optimum performance, reduce unscheduled outages and prolong equipment life.