Role of Electric Heaters In Chillers | Refrigeration Heater

Chiller Heater

Kevin Jay North / CC BY-SA

Heat plays an essential role in the chilling process. Accurate, reliable, and quick heating is relied on to provide efficient chiller performance. This has made electric heaters an ideal solution for chilling applications.

How Chillers Work

Refrigerants are the chemical compound in process chillers. The cooled refrigerants pass on their low temperatures causing the refrigeration, or chilling, in the unit. This allows industrial chillers to provide all sorts of functions from central air in an office building to freezing the ice in a hockey rink.

The refrigerants achieve their cold temperature through a phase-change process. This involves changing the state of the refrigerant from liquid to gas, and back to liquid. The state change of the refrigeration cycle is achieved through heating and cooling stages. Heat transforming the liquid into a gas, and cooling condensing the gas back into a liquid.

Circulation Heaters in Process Chillers

There are four basic components of a chiller. To function, all four of these components must be present: 

  1. 1. Evaporator
  2. 2. Condenser
  3. 3. Compressor
  4. 4. Expansion Valve


The refrigeration circuit is a loop, carrying the refrigerant, which passes through all four components.

In a chiller, the role of a circulation heater is played in the evaporator. The heater heats a water/glycol solution in a closed loop. This loop passes through the tubes carrying the refrigerant, causing it to boil and change its state from liquid to gas.

The gas-phase refrigerant then moves to the condenser where it is transformed back into liquid, resulting in a significant temperature drop.

In the evaporator, the water/glycol mixture which has passed through the refrigerant experiences heat loss from the transfer. It passes back through the circulation heater where it is reheated, and then fed back past the refrigeration loop, boiling more refrigerant and continuing the cycle.

Electric circulation heaters are an especially good option for this role as they offer quick and accurate heating for an efficient chiller system. The quick heating capabilities of the electric heater ensures smooth, reliable flow and operation. Accurate and even temperature delivery prevent safety risks or the possibility of damaged equipment from overheating.

In comparison with a heat exchanger, the circulation heater offers more reliable operation, with less risk of failure and a longer lifespan. This is largely due to the simple design of electric circulation heaters, compared to the combustion and many complex parts required for traditional heat exchangers.

Electric Refrigeration Heaters for Chillers

Wattco custom manufactures circulation heaters for industrial chillers of all sizes and applications. High-quality parts and design allow us to provide reliable, high-performance chiller heaters. Our team works with you to customize the design, components, and specifications of your circulation heater to match the needs of your chiller whether it is new, replacing an old circulation heater, or upgrading from a heat exchanger.

Contact Wattco today for chiller heater quotes and information.