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American Spot Cooling Blog

HVAC 101: How a Chiller Works

18 September 2020

Everyone knows what an air conditioner is. It's the machine that cools down a space and makes summer a bit more bearable indoors. However, not as many people are familiar with a chiller, which is a machine that also cools a space, but through a slightly different method. Both types of cooling units have their place in different applications, and it's important to understand why chillers are a practical choice for many buildings. To learn about the advantages of chillers, let's look at how they work.

The Refrigerant Cycle

The most common chiller is the vapor-compression type, which mechanically compresses and expands refrigerant in a system to absorb heat from an environment. Although the refrigerant runs through a continuous cycle, let's say that the cycle "begins" at the compressor. The refrigerant entering the compressor has a relatively low temperature and pressure. The compressor then takes this refrigerant and compresses it, which increases pressure and thus makes the refrigerant significantly hotter.

At this point the refrigerant is still a gas — a vapor to be exact — but this will change after the next step in the process. After the refrigerant leaves the compressor, it travels through a condenser, where heat is absorbed from the refrigerant and is eventually rejected outside of the building. The two types of condensers will be discussed below, but what is important is that the refrigerant loses some of its heat and becomes a liquid in the process. At this point, it is ready to be cooled down and to absorb heat from an environment.

Once refrigerant leaves the condenser, it makes its way to the expansion valve. The valve depressurizes the refrigerant (like covering the end of a garden hose with your thumb and only letting out a fine mist). This has the opposite effect of the compressor: the expanded refrigerant decreases pressure and becomes significantly cooler. From there, the refrigerant almost immediately goes into the evaporator, which is shaped like a big tank. Inside the tank, water runs through metal tubes that come into contact with the refrigerant (sometimes the refrigerant runs through the tubes instead). The cold refrigerant absorbs heat from the water before it eventually leaves the evaporator. From there, the relatively cool refrigerant travels back to the compressor and repeats the cycle all over again.

Chilled Water

The entire point of the refrigerant cycle is to absorb heat from a constant stream of water and to somehow reject the heat outside. So, once the chilled water is cooled inside the evaporator, where does it go?

Well, it depends on what needs to be cooled. If special equipment needs to be cooled, the water is pumped there. Otherwise, if the chiller is cooling down a space, the chilled water is pumped to an air handler unit. Inside the air handler unit, air is pushed through a coil that runs the chilled water, cooling the air much like how an evaporator cools the chilled water. Once the chilled water absorbs heat, it returns to the evaporator to be cooled again.

Water-Cooled vs. Air-Cooled Chillers

There are two types of vapor-compression chillers, and the main difference lies in how the condenser rejects heat absorbed by the refrigerant. In a water-cooled chiller, the shape and function of the condenser is similar to the evaporator. Condenser water runs through the condenser tank and absorbs heat from the recently compressed refrigerant. The warm water is then pumped to a cooling tower, which is typically installed on the roof of a building. Inside the cooling tower, the condenser water cools down by coming into direct contact with a stream of ambient air. Afterwards, the condenser water is pumped back to the condenser. Since heat rejection is performed by the cooling tower, this type of chiller is stored inside a building and away from the elements.

An air-cooled chiller, on the other hand, is installed outside of a building. This is because the condenser is not a tank, but instead a "wall" of coils that come into contact with the outside air. Fans push air through the coils, absorbing heat from the refrigerant. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages, but they both have the same function: remove heat from a continuous circuit of water.

Chillers vs. Air Conditioners

Where an AC would directly remove heat from a certain area, a chiller instead removes heat from water. This often makes a chiller the more efficient option for cooling larger buildings. Instead of placing an air conditioner on each floor of a building, a chiller allows the refrigerant cycle to occur in a basement or on a roof, far away from the main space of the building. And instead of trying to ventilate cold air across long distances, a chiller uses water as a more efficient mechanism for transferring cool media over a distance.

Now that you understand the basic function of chillers, you can make more informed decisions when determining what equipment your facility needs. If you need a chiller for one reason or another, there is still a matter of determining whether you should go for a rental unit or purchase your own. Next time, we'll discuss the reasons why you would rent a chiller.

Why Rent a Chiller

18 September 2020

Chillers are excellent machines capable of delivering large amounts of cooling to both indoor spaces and industrial processes. There are plenty of reasons to rent a chiller, but it's important to know the reasons to rent cooling in the first place.

When it comes to cooling, there are nearly endless scenarios that require a temporary solution, but here are just a few of them. The least stress-inducing reason is supplemental cooling. This means no part of your current system is broken, but seasonal temperatures are so high that your existing air conditioning system isn't cutting it anymore. Or, more likely, you changed part of an industrial/chemical process and need a long-term rental to meet new cooling requirements. Rather than purchasing a permanent unit, renting for the season can give your facilities a cooling boost without being such a drain on your budget.

Another common scenario is a construction delay. In this case, the only thing stopping your new facility or building expansion from opening is the delayed arrival of your permanent chiller. Renting is a proactive way to circumvent this limitation and get your operations up and running on time.

Lastly, there's every business owner's nightmare: emergency equipment failure. Whether it's due to a natural disaster or some equipment malfunction, these shutdowns can be costly and need to be addressed immediately. And quite often, the chiller part needed to make the repair won't be available any time soon. In this case rental cooling is undoubtedly the best way to restore operations as soon as possible. Until your system is repaired and back on its own feet again, a rental cooling solution can keep things running smoothly.

But back to chillers. Once you've determined that you need to rent a cooling solution for one reason or another, there is still a matter of choosing between direct-expansion air conditioners and chillers for your cooling solution. Some circumstances make renting a chiller the obvious choice. If your facility already has a functional integrated cooling system, then tying in a rental chiller is likely the most efficient and economical option for a cooling solution. Or if you have a manufacturing process that's designed to accept water cooling, then rental DX air conditioners would not be an appropriate substitution.

However, there are some situations where the benefit of renting chillers may not be immediately obvious. For instance, if it is critical for your cooling solution to take up as little space as possible, then chillers are the way to go. When it comes to larger cooling capacities, a chiller rated at a given tonnage will tend to take up less space than a DX air conditioner of the same rating. Additionally, the 6-inch hoses required for chillers are dramatically smaller than the 20-inch ducts that would be used on a similarly rated AC.

Perhaps the strongest reason to choose a chiller-based solution, even when you don't have an integrated cooling system, is cost. Once a job needs more than a certain amount of cooling – usually 150 tons – renting a chiller and a pair of air handler units is typically cheaper than renting a single direct-expansion air conditioner.

These are just some of the reasons to not only rent a chiller in the first place, but to rent one over a DX air conditioner. If you decide that a chiller rental is the right option for you, there are still a few more things you should know, such as what you should know before calling us for a rental cooling solution.

When Two Cyclones Collide (Or Don’t!)

25 August 2020

As if 2020 wasn’t already an incredibly unique year, residents along the Atlantic coast have been presented with yet another uncommon challenge: two cyclones entering the Gulf of Mexico at the same time, an event that hasn’t happened since the 1930’s. What’s worse, many are worried that Hurricane Laura and Tropical Storm Marco may merge together, forming a single storm that’s much larger and can cause much more damage. While this is certainly a possibility, it’s important to look at the meteorological phenomenon that describes this kind of activity, and how the possibility of a “super hurricane” is not as likely as it may seem.

When two cyclones – whether they are depressions, storms, or hurricanes – come within close proximity of each other, the way they tend to behave is described as the Fujiwhara effect. Named after Sakuhei Fujiwhara, the 20th century Japanese meteorologist who first described the effect, the Fujiwhara effect occurs when two cyclones come within about 900 miles of each other. The two cyclones will begin to spin about a common point between the two systems. If one cyclone is significantly larger than the other, the smaller cyclone will likely orbit the larger one, eventually being absorbed into the larger system.

If the cyclones are approximately equal in size, the rotation around a common point will continue for some time, resulting in a few different possibilities. The first possibility is that they rotate around each other for a while and then shoot off in separate directions, their paths being altered by the interaction. Another possibility is that they will simply merge with each other. In this case, the most likely outcome is that the combined cyclone will be of approximately equal or weaker strength than either of the two systems before the merge.

That said, there is a slight chance that two merging systems will combine their strength, resulting in a “super storm” that can deal serious damage to an area. Although such an occurrence is very rare, this possibility has captivated the attention of many ever since the news of Laura and Marco occurring so closely to each other. Realistically, however, the evidence of this happening is few and far in between. As of right now, Marco is expected to dissipate while Laura continues to threaten the Texas–Louisiana coastline sometime this week.

It may be tempting to imagine a terrifying world where some mega hurricane causes cataclysmic destruction to the Southern coast, but it’s important to stay grounded in reality and prepare for the damage that Laura is likely to cause. Remember to make any emergency preparations that are necessary to stay safe, such as stocking up on supplies, creating an evacuation plan, safeguarding your residence against storm damage, and plenty of other measures.

Now is the Time for Us to Say "Thanks" to YOU!

27 November 2019

American Spot Cooling

Thanksgiving Day is the perfect time to remind one another of the many reasons there are to be grateful. We gather on this day to be thankful for what we have, for the family we love, the friends we cherish, the success we have had, and for the blessings that will come.

Thanksgiving is more than the festivities, it gives us time to ponder the lessons that we have learned and how we can spread happiness around, to look back at all the great memories and good people who came into our lives. We appreciate you, our customers and clients, so much.

At this time of year our thoughts turn gratefully to you with warm appreciation. Our best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.

Veterans Day Spotlight

11 November 2019

In celebration of Veteran's Day, American Spot Cooling and Power Rental is proud and honored to spotlight some of the veterans on our team. Thank you for your service!

 Lee Morse
Lee Morse, the Vice President of Sales & Marketing of American Spot Cooling and Power Rental, is a veteran of the United States Army National Guard. Lee served 8 years and was a 52D "Power Generator Mechanic". Lee is also a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he served in Iraq during years 2002 to 2003.

  Josh Downing
Josh Downing, holding the title of National Operations & Logistics Manager for American Spot Cooling and Power Rental, is a veteran of the United States Navy. Josh served 15 years and was a Machinist Mate.

  Scott Burnside
Scott Burnside, General Manager for our Texas Headquarters, is a veteran of the United States Army Reserves. Scott served 4 years and was part of the Infantry. Scott also held the title of 82nd Airborne Paratrooper.

  Jeff Donahue
Jeff Donahue, Service Manager for our Massachusetts Headquarters, is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. Jeff served for 4 years as a Machine Technician.

  Bob Markham
Bob Markham, a Sales Representative out of our North Carolina Regional Office, is a veteran of the United States Air Force. Bob served for 4 years and held the position of Avionics repair on F-4 Phantoms. 

  Steve Dennett
Steve Dennett, a Sales Representative for our Florida Regional Office, is a veteran of the United States Army Reserve. Steve served for 8 years as a 63S Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic. Steve is a two time recipient of the Army Commendation Award. 

  Colm Dempsey
Colm Dempsey, a lead technician out of our Greater New York Regional Office, is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. Colm served for 4 years as a Machine Technician. Colm is a four time meritorious team award recipient for guarding two different Presidents of the United States; Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

  Robert Keyes
Robert Keyes, a lead technician out of our Louisiana Regional Office, is a veteran of the United States Army. Robert served for 7 years and held the position of Generator Technician. 

Tackle Flooding Head-On with American Spot Cooling’s Dehumidifiers and Air Movers

11 July 2019

By Sebastian Kopacz

The end of winter is almost always followed by a substantial increase in flooding, and this year is certainly no exception. So far in 2019, the Southern United States has faced drastic rainfall and consequent flooding in many areas like Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. And now that hurricane season is in full swing for both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, you can expect hurricanes and other natural disasters to contribute to the flood tally.

Once flooding strikes an area, recovery is key to returning to ordinary life. After water recedes from a building, the damage must be minimized by removing any remaining moisture and preventing the growth of mold and mildew. American Spot Cooling has a variety of rental dehumidification equipment that can facilitate this process, including rental dehumidifiers, air movers, and air scrubbers. These units draw out moisture and purify air, limiting an area’s flood damage if action is taken quickly enough. And since ASC has a 24 hour emergency service, it’s easier than ever to act fast when flooding occurs.

Take a look at American Spot Cooling’s rental dehumidifiers page to learn more about our products and how they can help if heavy rains strike.

American Spot Cooling


Happy New Year from American Spot Cooling

25 December 2018

American Spot Cooling - Portable Air Conditioner Houston, TX

Happy New Year from American Spot Cooling. We would like to thank our customers and community for allowing our business to be part of your lives in 2018. We wish you a wonderful and prosperous 2019!

If we have had the pleasure of being your choice for air conditioning and power rental, we hope that we provided the highest level of customer service and care you desired. If you are in need of rental equipment in 2019, we hope that you consider American Spot Cooling for your prized possession, your business.

It is our sincere wish that in the New Year you are surrounded by warmth, family, and friendship. From all of us here at American Spot Cooling, have a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

Sincere best regards to you all.

Happy Holidays from American Spot Cooling

19 December 2018

Happy Holidays from American Spot Cooling

Our warmest Holiday wishes from the entire team here at American Spot Cooling. Calendar year 2018 was, and continues to be, a truly remarkable year and we take this moment to recognize the joy that each and every one of you has brought to our personal and professional lives. We exist because of your faith and trust in us.

As calendar year 2019 approaches, we reflect upon the foundational recognition that "your success is our success". Our New Year’s wish for 2019 is to nurture our positive and ever strengthening partnership and to deliver ever increasing value to you, your business, and your family through the entirety of 2019.

Throughout this Holiday season may you be blessed with health and surrounded by friends and family. All the best! Cheers!

Happy Thanksgiving to Our Customers, Family, and Friends

20 November 2018

American Spot Cooling

It is once again time to give thanks. If you have done business with us or are going to do business with us in 2019, it means a lot to us. The primary reason for this blog each week is to educate and inform our readers; as an ongoing act of giving thanks for the privilege of earning your continued trust and continued professional partnerships. So we're glad you're here.

We reflect today on the blessings that so many of you bring to both our personal and professional lives. Over the course of the last year, we hope that we have made a difference in both personal and professional lives as well. This is the true essence and a key measure of professional reward and business success.

It is our sincerest wish that all of you bask in the joy of reflection and thanks within the warm confines of family and friends this Thanksgiving Holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

- from all of us here at American Spot Cooling.

Commercial Grade Dehumidifiers Help Hurricane Relief in North Carolina

20 September 2018

American Spot Cooling rent dehumidifiers

Hurricane Florence struck North Carolina with devastating structural disasters. Many business facilities have been damaged by floodwaters. Hurricane relief in North Carolina is essential for helping communities recover. American Spot Cooling is taking part in this recovery effort by prioritizing businesses in this area to provide rental dehumidifiers for faster and better restoration.

Numerous commercial and industrial facilities in North Carolina have been affected. Although the floodwaters have receded, the wreckage that water damage can immediately cause makes restoration through commercial dehumidifiers a must. Industries must immediately employ dehumidification equipment to quickly evacuate water from the air and the structures. Indoor space must be completely dry to prevent moisture and mold growth.

American Spot Cooling is open 24/7 to serve and deploy dehumidifier units to the affected areas. We understand the need for quick response for a fast restoration process so that businesses can resume normal operations. Contact American Spot Cooling for rental dehumidifiers, our customer service representatives are always on standby to take your call.

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