Chillers are a versatile component critical to the safe and effective operation of a range of equipment. While the desired goal of any chiller is to reduce temperatures, the applications of chillers can vary widely. While both HVAC andindustrial chillers systems may work in similar ways, they are quite different. The standards and performance metrics for industrial chillers are more rigorous because of the core function they fulfill. HVAC chillers are responsible for cooling air, and if they fail, the worst outcome is likely discomfort. However, the best industrial chillers keep high-heat equipment at safe operating temperatures, preventing damage that could cost tens of thousands of dollars and protecting the safety of those in close proximity to high-heat equipment.
Though it’s obvious the stakes are higher for industrial chillers when it comes to performing their core purpose, there are other differences between the two chiller types that may not be as readily noticeable. Keep reading to learn about a few of the many differences that separate industrial chillers from HVAC chillers.
Different Standard Features
In many cases, industrial chillers come stocked with features that are considered standard, though the same features on many HVAC chillers may be considered optional. As a result, the cost for an HVAC chiller with the same features as a standard industrial chiller may be significantly higher. For example, there are many small industrial chillers that feature integrated water pumping systems. However, a similarly sized HVAC chiller system may not have that feature and adding it can come at a much higher cost while creating a chiller unit with a much larger footprint. Additional features that are often standard on industrial chillers but considered optional on HVAC chillers include reservoirs and controls for the pumping system, condenser water regulating valves, and water manifolds with service valves for the condenser and evaporator.
Independent Water and Refrigeration Circuits
Another key difference between the two types of chillers is that industrial chillers usually have independent water and refrigeration circuits that are used to provide cooling, while HVAC chillers may only have an independent refrigeration circuit. This provides a redundancy for industrial chillers that acts as an extra layer of protection if one circuit fails. That means the chiller can still work at 50% in the event that one of the circuits fails. HVAC chiller usually share a multi-circuit evaporator, meaning that if one circuit fails the whole chiller unit goes down.
Labor Warranty and Training is Standard
Start-up and maintenance of your chiller are two important concerns, and in both cases most industrial chillers feature programs that come standard with the chiller. For example, most industrial chiller manufacturers include set-up and training in the cost of the chiller, though HVAC chiller manufacturers will only provide those services at an additional cost as an option. Likewise, industrial chillers typically come with a standard labor warranty. However, while labor warranties are also available for HVAC chillers, they are considered an option and therefore come at a higher price point.
Service and Support
Servicing your chiller unit is a straightforward affair since there are a wide range of technicians who can assist you. A technician doesn’t necessarily need to be trained by a specific manufacturer in order to service chiller units of a variety of makes and models. That means finding a qualified technician is easier. However, HVAC chiller technicians are usually trained to work on only one brand, which restricts the number of techs who may be available to service your chiller. Support is another point of difference. Most industrial chiller manufacturers maintain phone support with technicians that is available even after the warranty has expired. HVAC chiller manufacturers may offer phone support while the unit is under warranty, but once the warranty expires, that service will come at a premium price.
Before you begin shopping for chiller units, make sure you understand between chillers meant for industrial applications and chillers intended to be used in HVAC system. While they provide the same general result, they differ greatly in features, available options, and support and maintenance. If you’re in need of an industrial chiller, contact KKT Chillers Inc. to learn about available options.