What’s the Difference Between The Air Cooled Condenser and water cooled Condenser?

In basic refrigeration system, there are 4 major refrigeration cycle components, which are refrigeration compressor, condenser, expansion device, and evaporator. Condenser is one of the most important parts of a refrigeration cycle. The function of condenser is to convert high-temperature high-pressure vapor refrigerant to medium-temperature high-pressure refrigerant, dissipate the heat to outside. There are several types of condenser in refrigeration. Air cooled and water cooled condenser are two major types of condenser used in commercial refrigeration. So we are going to introduce the major difference between air cooled condenser and water cooled condenser today. The water cooled condenser includes plate heat exchanger, coaxial heat exchanger and shell and tube heat exchanger. They are 3 major types of water cooled condenser.

We will introduce the difference of air cooled condenser vs water cooled condenser from six aspects.

Cooling Medium In Refrigeration

The condenser cooling medium is usually air or cooling water. The air cooled condensers uses air as cooling medium, the air is passed through the heat pipe surface of the condenser to exchange heat with the refrigerant. While the water-cooled condenser uses water as cooling media. The heat capacity, thermal conductivity and convection coefficient of water are much higher than that of air. Therefore, water has stronger ability to transfer heat than air.

Air Cooled Condensing Unit VS. Water Cooled Condensing Unit

Cooling Method

Different cooling media, different cooling methods. For air cooled condenser, the air is passed across the copper pipes and aluminum foil of the condenser, taking away the heat released by the refrigerant in the copper tubes. It dissipates the heat by the air movement. So in commercial refrigeration systems, forced air cooled condenser is used to accelerate air flow to enhance the heat transfer effect of the air.

For water-cooled condenser, the water loop refrigeration system supplied each water-cooled condensing unit with chilled water. The water is passed through the water pipe, exchange the heat dissipated from the refrigerant, the heat is carried by the water loop out of the system and rejected by a dryer cooler.

Condensing Temperature

The condensing temperature is the temperature of the refrigerant in the condenser of the refrigeration cycle. Strictly speaking, condensing temperature is the saturation temperature of the refrigerant vapor in the condenser when it condenses under a certain pressure.

The ambient temperature refers to the temperature of the surrounding environment, including the dry bulb temperature and wet bulb temperature.

For air cooled condensers, the condensing temperature has close relationship with the dry bulb temperature; while for water-cooled condensers, the condensing temperature has close relationship with the wet bulb temperature.

For air cooled condenser, the ambient temperature has a direct impact on the condensing temperature. When the ambient temperature rises, the heat dissipation efficiency of the condenser will decrease, so the condensing temperature rises. On the contrary, when the ambient temperature decreases, the efficiency of the condenser in dissipating heat increases, the condensing temperature decreases. The changes of the ambient temperature will directly affect the operating efficiency and cooling effect of the condensing unit.

In air cooled condensing unit, the ambient temperature is usually 7℃~12℃ higher than ambient temperature. The value of 7℃~12℃ is also called the heat exchange temperature difference. The higher the condensing temperature, the lower efficiency the condensing unit. So it is better to control the heat exchange temperature difference not to be too large when design the condensing unit condenser.

For water cooled condenser, the condensing temperature has closely relationship with the wet bulb temperature. The condensing temperature of the water cooled condenser is generally 5-7°C higher than the ambient wet bulb temperature. The wet bulb temperature is usually lower than the dry bulb temperature. Therefore, the condensing temperature of a water cooled condenser is generally lower than that of an air-cooled condenser. That means the water cooled condensing unit has higher efficiency than air cooled condensing unit.

Cooling Effect

The water-cooled condenser has better heat dissipation effect and dissipate heat more effectively than air cooled condenser and it can provide stable cooling effect during long-term continuous operation, so the water cooled condensing unit has better cooling effect than the air cooled condensing unit.

The air cooled condenser use air as cooling medium, the air has less heat transfer capacity than that of water, and is greatly affected by the ambient temperature. So the air cooled condensing unit has weaker cooling effect than water cooled condensing unit.

Installation and Use

Air cooled condenser is one of the major refrigeration components of a air cooled condensing unit. It is easy to install and use. The air cooled condenser is directly affected by the ambient temperature, so the installation place of the air cooled condensing unit is also very important.

When use the air cooled condensing unit, the surface of air cooled condenser will be blocked by dust and dirty after several months. Please clean the air cooled condenser by a water cleaning gun.

Water cooled condensing unit is a perfect solution for applications where the water is readily available and the air cooled condensing unit is not suitable. When use the water cooled condensing unit, it need to install the water pump, dryer cooler or cooling tower.

Applicable Environment

The air cooled condensers widely used in indoor condensing units and outdoor condensing units for commercial refrigeration. They can be used in various environmental conditions, especially in area where there is insufficient water resources.

The air-cooled condensing unit does not need to be connected to a water source and can be used in various environmental conditions. It has obvious advantages especially in situations where water resources are insufficient or difficult to obtain.

On the contrary, the water cooled condensing unit does need the sufficient water resource. The water cooled condensing unit has the advantages of quiet operation, it is a good choice when air cooled condensing unit is noisy.

From above, air cooled condenser and water cooled condenser has many difference in cooling medium, cooling methods, condensing temperature, cooling effect, installation and use, and applicable environment. Our customers can choose according to difference requirement.

Glen refrigeration offer wide selection of air cooled condensing unit and water cooled condensing unit to suite your application. All of our products are high quality with the most advanced technology.

Air Cooled Condensing Unit:

Refrigerator condensing unit

R404a horizontal condensing unit

R290 horizontal condensing unit

Horizontal inverter condensing unit

Outdoor inverter condensing unit

Sanyo compressor outdoor condensing unit

Panasonic compressor outdoor condensing unit

ZB series Copeland compressor outdoor condensing unit

ZF series Copeland compressor outdoor condensing unit

ZFI series Copeland compressor outdoor condensing unit

ZSI series Copeland compressor outdoor condensing unit

Water cooled condensing unit:

Horizontal water cooled condensing unit

Copeland water cooled condensing unit

Inverter water cooled condensing unit

Are You Interested in Air Cooled Condensing Unit or Water Cooled Condensing Unit?

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