Heat Exchanger Vs. Chiller – Which Is More Suitable For Your Needs?

Heat exchangers and chillers are both useful for different purposes. However, both of these units help control temperature in a build. Whether you get a heat exchanger or chiller, you have to factor in: 

  • Usage 
  • Cost 
  • Maintenance 
  • Usage period and more 

What is a Heat Exchanger? 

This refers to a device whose primary purpose is to transfer heat from one medium to another by conduction, convection, or radiation. It can be used for heating or cooling applications. Heat exchangers are commonly found in refrigeration units, made of metal, and have a series of tubes through which fluid flows. 

How Does a Heat Exchanger Work?

A heat exchanger is a device that transfers thermal energy from one medium to another. The media that loses the most heat will be at the hotter temperature and therefore transfer their energy to the other cooling agent, which would be water contained within pipes passing through the machine. This causes it to cool down and transfer its gained thermal energy back into your home or business.

What is a Chiller? 

A chiller refers to a machine designed to cool fluids. It can do this in various ways, but the basic concept remains the same: heat flows from one fluid or object to another when they are at different temperatures – thus, cooling down hot liquids and objects by transferring their excess thermal energy into something colder. 

How Does a Chiller Work? 

The working principle of a chiller is quite simple – it uses electricity to turn water into chilled liquid, which then flows through tubes surrounding the hot equipment or fluid that requires cooling.

What Are Heat Exchangers Used for?

Heat exchangers have many purposes, but they are beneficial if you want to transform the temperature of a specific material. For example, heat exchangers can be used in:

  • Heating systems (for water and air)
  • Cooling systems (for refrigerators and freezers)
  • Comfort ventilation systems
  • Power plants

Even though this is not an exhaustive list of all possible uses of these devices, it will give you an idea about how versatile they can be.

What Are Chillers Used for? 

Chillers are used for cooling and, in some cases, heating applications. They work by compressing a refrigerant gas to high pressures and temperatures, which becomes a hot vapor. This gets released into an evaporator coil which absorbs heat from the ambient air passing over its surface. 

A heat exchanger works by transferring thermal energy between two fluids with different temperature levels through direct contact on opposite sides of permeable walls separating them. Typically, metal plates inside a copper housing make up a standard unit for both types of equipment. 

Which One Do You Need? 

Between the heat exchanger and chiller, the heat exchanger is the better choice for you if you need to transfer low temperatures. The heat exchanger can be used to cool fluids and materials, which makes it a good option for many applications. 

On the other hand, chillers are necessary when cooling or heating large amounts of fluid that require high pressure and temperature levels.

How to Choose the Right One 

Choosing a suitable heat exchanger or chiller is not an easy task! But with the above differences and your needs, you should be able to decide. If still unsure, consider getting help from a HVAC expert. 

Heat exchangers and chillers are major appliances.  Each has its advantages or disadvantages based on your needs, which should be considered before choosing one.