What You Need to Know About Water-Cooled Chillers

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), chillers use up about 20% of the total power generated in the country. What’s more, they can increase up to 30% additional energy usage of a building due to operational inefficiencies. This costs companies and building facilities billions yearly. Today, commercial buildings install efficient HVAC systems with an aim to improve a building’s sustainability and performance. Which brings us to water-cooled chillers, an essential HVAC component for a wide variety of commercial facilities. Continue on to learn more about water-cooled chillers, and find out if it’s the right choice for your facility.

What Are Water-Cooled Chiller Systems?

water-cooled chillers feature

Water-cooled chillers are the preferable cooling machine in power plants and other large facilities with consistent water supply.

In particular, chillers facilitate heat transfer from the internal environment to an external environment, making it more comfortable indoors. But, not all chillers are efficient for commercial spaces. Water-cooled chillers are suitable because they have more precise heat transfer, more energy efficiency, and a longer lifespan. They’re commonly used for large and medium facilities with consistent and efficient water supply. For example, restaurants, industrial plants, hotels, sporting arenas, and healthcare facilities.

Moreover, water-cooled chiller systems have a cooling tower, thus they are more energy efficient than air-cooled chillers. Typically, these chillers use water from the cooling tower to condense the refrigerant. The refrigerant is dependent on the temperature and flow rate of the entering condenser water, which functions according to the ambient wet-bulb temperature. Ultimately, because the wet-bulb temperature is lower than the dry-bulb temperature, the refrigerant’s condensing temperature can operate significantly lower and more efficiently.

What Makes Them Unique?

Water-cooled chillers are ideal for industrial and commercial air conditioning because they don’t depend on the fluctuations of external temperatures. They also come in a range of sizes for all types of facilities. From 15-ton capacity models to 2000-ton models for large facilities, like malls and airports.

Additionally, water-cooled chillers are typically installed indoors. This allows protection from the outdoor elements and ensures the system sustains a longer, useful life. However, keep in mind that these chillers require additional installation costs and maintenance as compared to other chillers due to the cooling tower system.

How Do Water-Cooled Chillers Work?

Water-cooled chillers feature three main components – evaporators, condensers, and cooling towers:


This component releases water at low temperatures and pushes it through the system with the help of a pump.
A network of pipes passes the chilled water through several sections of the building, exchanging the coldness with the room temperature. Then, the warmer water returns to the evaporator where the refrigerant absorbs the unwanted heat while directing it to the condenser.


The heated water passes through the condenser water loop. In turn, this condenses the water and then heads to the cooling tower.

Cooling Towers

This is where the chiller gets rid of the unwanted heat. Fans feed the unit with cool air which cools down the incoming water from the condenser. Then, the now cool water goes back to the condenser and the cycle continues.

Get Professional Commercial HVAC System Installation

The efficiency of your water-cooled chillers will depend on the quality of its installation. So, let the folks at The Severn Group help. We’re a dedicated team of HVAC experts serving clients in Washington DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, and beyond. For more information on water-cooled chillers, reach us at 443-837-0828 or schedule a chiller installation.