One area of heating and cooling air in a home or commercial facility that’s often wondered about is the difference between an air conditioner and an air chiller system. While they both have generally the same goals in terms of regulating air temperature, each system works in a very different manner and produces very different results. Here are the key differences you need to know as you look at AC installation in Loganville, GA.

Air Conditioners

As it sounds, an air conditioner regulates the temperature of a room. It can convert air to hot or cold, depending on its setting. It’s also designed to dehumidify an area. Set on cooling, a basic refrigeration principle is used: A condenser removes heat and is on the “hot” side of the air conditioner. Condensers transfer heat to the air or to a water or glycol fluid and remove it from the air that will be circulated.

In most air conditioning systems geared for cooling, the principal refrigerant is chilled water. Air passes through a coil of chilled liquid and the heat is transferred from the air to the chilled water. The chilled water is cycled through so that chilled water is always present as air comes through. If you are having heating and air installation in Loganville GA, this type of environmental temperature maintenance is the most common in offices, homes, and retail outlets.


With chillers, heat is removed from a liquid via a vapor-compression or absorption refrigeration cycle. Cooled liquid passes through pipes in a building and coils in air handlers or through fan-coil units, which help dehumidify the air.

Generally, chillers are air and water cooled. Air cooled chillers are located externally to a facility and have condenser coils cooled by fan-driven air. Water cooled chillers are usually located internally and water is recycled to a heat sink or external cooling method. The external cooling method can include a cooling tower or in some cases, a water fed cooling system, which is more efficient at heat rejection.

Chillers are powered by different means as well. There are four types: Reciprocating, centrifugal, screw-driven and absorption. The first three are powered by electrical motors, steam, or gas turbines. Absorption is powered by a heat source, such as steam or hot water. Generally, management of heating and air in Loganville, GA, in a manufacturing environment, if equipment is involved, will be done by a chiller.


Air conditioners allow for a precise regulation of air temperature and humidity level in more confined spaces. Air conditioners are used in homes, small buildings and some offices and the units vary in size and practical application.

Chiller driven refrigerant has applications in cooling equipment and other manufacturing processes, such as MRI machines, assembly processes and tooling equipment. Air cooled chillers are used commercially and in industrial facilities to cool fluids and dehumidify air in larger venues, such as factory floors, arenas and larger facilities like hotels.

The differences between air conditioning and chillers can be subtle at the cooling process level, but very different in applied usage. If you’re looking for a system installation or heating and air conditioning repair in Lawrenceville, GA, it pays to understand the differences if for no other reason than to comprehend what goes into proper system maintenance.