How Do Cooling Towers & Chillers Work Together?

A chiller is a large piece of industrial equipment located inside a building, often in the basement or another utility area. It contains two primary cylinders: an evaporator and a condenser. There are many different types of chillers, including centrifugal, reciprocating, screw driven, and absorption chillers. A cooling tower acts as a giant heat exchanger. It sits on the roof of the building and blows ambient air across a coil to remove heat and exhaust it outside.

Together, chillers and cooling towers make it possible to air condition large spaces. Keep reading to learn how the cooling process works in your commercial or industrial building in Chicago.

The Chilled Water System: Evaporator Cylinder & Air Handlers

The evaporator cylinder is responsible for producing cold water used for air conditioning. Chilled water exits the evaporator at about 45 degrees F and travels up into the riser. Branching off of the riser are flow feeds that lead to air handling units on various floors of the building.

The chilled water flows through a coil inside the air handling unit where indoor air blows over it, transferring heat from the air to the water and leaving cooler air to circulate through the building. By the time it flows out of the coil, the water is about 55 degrees F. This warmer chilled water returns to the evaporator coil to be cooled off again.

The Condenser Water System: Condenser Cylinder & Cooling Tower

A refrigerant cycle connects the evaporator cylinder to the condenser cylinder. It keeps the heat moving out of the evaporator and into the condenser, but the two water lines never interact with each other. The warm water here, called condenser water, travels up into the riser at about 95 degrees F and heads toward the cooling tower on the roof.

Once there, the condenser water flows through the cooling tower, and fans pull in ambient air to transfer heat out of the water. After cooling off a bit, the condenser water returns to the condenser cylinder at about 80 degrees F.

System Sizes & Complexity

Depending on the scale and layout of a building, multiple chillers and cooling towers may be needed. For example, a dedicated system for a server room may run independently from the rest of the building. In addition, many sites include redundant systems to prevent the building from going out of service if one part fails. This failsafe also allows for maintenance and repairs to be performed without shutting off the cooling system.

Choose Murphy & Miller for Commercial Cooling Services in Chicago

As a leading design/build contractor in Chicago, you can trust us to deliver all the commercial cooling services you need, from system design and installation to maintenance and repair. Let us help you maximize the efficiency and comfort of your Chicago building while also saving you money!

To learn more about us, or to schedule commercial cooling services in Chicago, please contact Murphy & Miller today. We have a proven history of excellence that dates back over 80 years.