Water Heating and Cooling Systems

What are water heating and cooling systems and where are they found?


Industrial boilers may use natural gas, fuel oil, or electricity to heat water for heating buildings. The boiler may either use the heated water directly or convert the water to steam to use for heating purposes. The hot water or steam is circulated through pipes to where heating is needed. Your school is most likely heated using an industrial boiler that burns natural gas. You may have the opportunity to visit your school’s boiler room.


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Boilers are used to provide hot water or steam for heating industrial buildings or manufacturing plants.

Cooling Towers

Cooling systems are used to remove heat from equipment, which gets hot during the manufacturing process. Often, the heat is moved from the equipment through use of a fluid, such as water. The heat is transferred from the equipment due to a difference in the temperature between the equipment and the fluid. The fluid then carries away the heat as it flows away from the equipment. The properties of water and the contaminants it contains are affected by temperature. Water temperature also affects the tendency of a system to corrode or build up scale.

Water heated when cooling equipment may be discharged from the system, or cooled and recirculated. Chemical treatment of the water is required to prevent corrosion, deposits, and scale. These problems affect heat transfer and can result in equipment failure. Although water treatment constitutes an operating and maintenance cost, it prevents inefficiencies in heat transfer caused by scale and destruction caused by corrosion, thereby preventing additional costs.


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Cooling towers are used to dissipate heat from manufacturing processes. They often use water to carry heat
from the equipment.


A chiller is a machine that removes heat from a fluid. The fluid can then be recirculated through a heat exchange system such as a cooling tower to remove additional heat. The heat byproduct may be dissipated or recovered for heating purposes.


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A chiller removes heat from liquids circulated in a cooling tower. Deposits in the tubing of chillers retard heat
transfer, reducing efficiency. This thermal resistance is avoided when water is treated to prevent hardness.


Chillers are used to control cooling of fluids in many industrial manufacturing processes, including plastics, injection molding, welding, machine tooling, pharmaceuticals, food processing, and power generation. Chillers may be centralized and used for cooling multiple pieces of equipment or located on individual pieces of equipment or machinery. Water-cooled chillers are used in conjunction with cooling towers, increasing their effectiveness.

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