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Industry Terms and Definitions


A chiller is a mechanical refrigeration machine similar to an air conditioner except that it cools a fluid (usually water or glycol) instead of cooling air. A “chiller” consists of a few major components:  compressors, an evaporator heat exchanger, condenser heat exchangers, expansion valves, and some piping and controls are the basics

Cooling Tower

A cooling tower is used to cool water instead of chilling it.  Cooling towers use the evaporative cooling effect to transfer heat to the environment. Cooling towers are often used in conjunction with water-cooled chillers, but have many stand-alone uses as well.