Ever wanted to know what the difference was between an air conditioner, air handler or chiller? Read below to learn more:
An air conditioner is designed to dehumidify and remove heat from an area. The cooling is done using a simple refrigeration cycle. A condenser is a component of the basic refrigeration cycle that removes heat from the system. The condenser is the hot side of an air conditioner. Condensers are heat exchangers that can transfer heat to air or heat to fluid (such as water or glycol) to carry the heat away.
An air handler, or air handling unit, is used to condition and circulate air as part of an HVAC system. An air handler usually contains a blower, heating or cooling elements, filter racks or chambers, sound attenuators, and dampers. Air handlers usually connect to duct work that distribute the conditioned air through the building and return it to the handling unit.
A chiller removes heat from a liquid through a vapor-compression or absorption refrigeration cycle. This cooled liquid flows through pipes in a building and passes through coils in air handlers and fan-coil units cooling and dehumidifying the air in the building. There are two types of chillers – air-cooled or water-cooled. Air-cooled chillers are usually outside and consist of condenser coils cooled by fan-driven air. Water-cooled chiller are usually inside a building, and heat from these chillers is carried by re-circulating water to a heat sink such as an outdoor cooling tower.