Difference Between Air-Cooled vs Water-Cooled Compressor

Air-Cooled vs Water-Cooled Compressor

Welcome to Linquip Blog. Today and in this article, we are going to have a comparison between Air-Cooled vs. Water-Cooled Compressors. A common consideration for buyers when choosing a rotary screw compressor is whether to go with an air-cooled or a water-cooled version. Both designs certainly have their advantages and naturally their disadvantages. In general, the vast majority of rotary screw installations are air-cooled. Air-cooled rotary screw compressors are typically more readily available, and will require less overall installation costs. However, there are some applications where water-cooled compressors could be advantageous.

Stay with us until the end to find the answer to your question on this topic. We have a long journey ahead of us.Air-Cooled vs Water-Cooled Compressor

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A General Comparison Between Air-Cooled vs. Water-Cooled Compressors

An air-cooled compressor uses air to reduce the temperature of the compressed air and any other material present. When the compressor makes heat, the air-cooled circuit reduces the hot air with a fan and radiator. Industries can recover the heat loss for an air-cooled compressor by using the energy to heat buildings or power a preheating battery, thus saving companies money on utility expenses.

Water-cooled compressors use liquid coolant from an external unit to cool the compressed air and any other substances present during the compression process. The cooling circuit reduces the heat with a shell and tube exchanger. Water-cooled units are more common in machines with higher horsepower. Companies can reuse the water from the compressor in a hot water heating system, usually for showering, washing or cleaning. A water-cooled screw compressor may allow a business to invest in a smaller water boiler because you won’t need as much hot water.

Air-Cooled vs. Water-Cooled Compressor: Energy Costs

One of the most important factors you have to consider when buying air compressor cooling system is the energy costs. It is good to know air-cooled units require more power than water-cooled units. On the other side, water-cooled ones cost more money for electricity, water and water treatment expenses. Choosing air-cooled can save you money in this regard.

Another concern you have to deal with is the ability to recoup resources; Both types of compressor cooling systems offer reusable resources to recompense energy expenditure costs. If you can reuse a liquid-cooled compressor’s water to preheat boilers, you can save on gas and heating bills. You can also use the heated air from an air-cooled compressor to make a room warmer and power a fluid heat exchanger. It is all up to you and your choice.

Air-Cooled vs Water-Cooled Compressor

What Requirements Do You Need to Have for an Air-Cooled Compressor?

An air-cooled screw compressor needs enough cooling air and space to provide adequate airflow. Improper planning may result in problems with regulating your commercial facility’s temperature. An air-cooled screw compressor needs enough cooling air and space to provide adequate airflow. Improper planning may result in problems with regulating your commercial facility’s temperature. To protect your equipment and continue workflow, install ductwork from both sides of the compressor to allow air to travel throughout your space. You can also use the heat from the vents to warm up your commercial space in the winter.

What Requirements Do You Need to Have a Water-Cooled Compressor?

A water-cooled screw compressor needs high-quality cooling water to function. If you get water from a lake, ocean, well or river, you’d need a cooling tower and closed-loop system to filter the water and increase your system’s lifespan. Unless your building already has this equipment, you’ll need to include the cost of purchasing, installing and maintaining this new machinery along with your water-cooled compressor.

Air-Cooled vs Water-Cooled Compressor

Which One Is the Best? Air-Cooled or Water-Cooled compressor?

Each of these two types serves various industrial applications. But you need to know which one is the best choice for your specific business. Examine the needs and limitations of your business. Also, consider your available space. Below are some additional and super vital factors you need to consider when choosing the suitable air compressor:

  1. Type of tools your industry uses: Consider your equipment’s horsepower requirements and figure out the appropriate CFM and PSI ratings for your rotary screw air compressor. You could invest in a smaller unit if you use your tools sporadically, but you should get a larger one if you run them continually.
  2. The compressor room’s layout: Before choosing an air compressor, make sure the room has enough space for it. If space is an issue, you could get a few smaller compressors instead of buying one large unit and put them in multiple areas around the factory. Keep in mind that most rotary screw compressors with less horsepower usually aren’t available in water-cooled models.
  3. The compressor room’s ventilation: Air-cooled compressors need adequate airflow to function and regulate their temperature. If the room doesn’t have the proper ventilation, the area could get too hot and the equipment could shut down, delaying projects. You also would need to keep your air-cooled compressor away from a hot boiler room or fumes. Water-cooled compressors can better accommodate small spaces and higher temperatures.


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The present article was an attempt to compare two major types of rotary screw air compressors air-cooled vs. water-cooled compressors. The all essentials are delivered about the differences between these two types of compressors.

Considering all the factors explained above, remember that one type of rotary screw air compressor isn’t better than the other. Your choice between air-cooled vs. water-cooled compressors depends on your specific application, location, and business limitations.

If you have any experience of using each of these two types of rotary screw air compressors, we will be very glad to have your opinions about their performance in the comments on our website Linquip. Moreover, if you have any questions about this topic, you can sign up on our website and wait for our experts to answer your questions. Hope you enjoyed reading this article.


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