Is a Cooling Tower a Heat Exchanger?

Is a Cooling Tower a Heat Exchanger?

When it comes to commercial or industrial HVAC, a number of points can be easily confused. For those unused to the finer points of difference, it can be a bit much, so let’s take a look at one of those points, the difference between cooling towers and heat exchangers (if there is one).

What Is a Heat Exchanger?

A heat exchanger does exactly what its name says: it moves heat from one location to another. Usually, this transfer of temperature is between either two fluids or a fluid and a gas. The coils on a window unit air conditioner are probably the best-known example of a heat exchanger, and the principle holds as the scale increases. In commercial HVAC systems, like their tinier cousins, this exchange moves heat out of the building during the summer and moves it inward during cold winters.

Is a Cooling Tower a Type of Heat Exchanger?

Yes, a cooling tower is a specific type of heat exchanger. All cooling towers are heat exchangers, but not all heat exchangers are cooling towers. The primary difference between the two is design. A heat exchanger typically doesn’t have a refrigeration unit.

Can Heat Exchangers Be Used for Cooling?

Heat exchangers are commonly used for cooling. If you want to be technical, your entire HVAC system is a heat exchanger, although only one physical component actually has that title.

What Is the Difference Between a Heat Exchanger and a Cooler?

Both chillers and heat exchangers are used for the same purpose, the difference lies in how they do so. Heat exchangers regulate temperatures through direct transfer of heat, as described above. A chiller, on the other hand, contains a refrigeration unit to cool its fluid.

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