4 Differences Between Portable HVAC Systems & Chillers

Every industry seeks to improve its operating methods and procedures. In some cases, the key difference between an upgrade and a downgrade can boil down to choosing the right type of cooling system for your facility. Currently, there are only two (effective) options available on the market: Chillers and HVAC.

The problem is that the differences between the two aren’t obvious. Today, we will break these differences down to show why it is an excellent idea to turn to chiller rental companies in San Diego to enhance the operation of your industrial or commercial facility, rather than opting for a default HVAC system.

Is a chiller the same as an HVAC?

Chillers and HVAC systems share the same purpose: to reduce the interior temperature of a room or an entire building. However, they vastly differ in terms of:

  • Purpose & usage;
  • Operating process;
  • Applicability (cooling power);
  • Energy (cost) efficiency.

chiller rental companies San Diego

Purpose & Usage

HVAC systems are a standard for many commercial and residential properties. They are rather effective at dispersing cold air throughout the building, thus lowering the interior temperature in smaller spaces (such as rooms and offices).

In essence, chillers do the same. However, they are more powerful, and by quite a margin. Chiller systems can effectively cool industrial facilities, storage depots, factories, or any other large open area.

In addition, chillers can be used to cool down heavy machinery and industrial equipment, which is a trait HVAC systems sorely lack.

Operating Process

Another key difference between HVAC and chiller is in how they work:

  • A/C systems consist of external and internal units. The external unit intakes air, cools it down, dehumidifies it, and transfers it to an internal unit, which disperses it throughout the premises.
  • Chiller systems can be either water-cooled or air-cooled. Same as HVAC, air-cooled chillers also have an external unit that cools the air down, but does not dehumidify it. Water-cooled chillers do not sport an external unit and the entire system can be located inside the building.
  • Chillers use refrigerant to cool down water or air, which is far more effective at dispersing heat than the standard coils used in HVAC systems.

In addition, chillers boast a major advantage over HVACs in that they need much simpler infrastructure to operate at optimal levels, which directly translates to lower investment and greater ROI.


Another massive advantage chiller systems have is effective temperature reduction to below 60°F. In some industrial applications, maintaining low temperatures is the key, making A/C systems ill-suited for these types of facilities.


While both systems share some similarities, primarily in the principle of operation and system construction, chillers and HVACs are not the same. Their purposes drastically differ, which makes them non-interchangeable.

Are chillers more efficient than AC?

ACs are mainly used to cool smaller areas, such as a single office or a home. In that regard, they are extremely effective, and much more energy efficient than chillers. However, when it comes to reducing the temperature of industrial facilities, which are often situated in large, open halls, AC units become exceedingly inefficient, due to the need for excessive investment in terms of infrastructure, maintenance, and energy consumption.

Are chillers more efficient than AC

On the flip side, chillers are the exact opposite. They excel in cooling down vast open areas while requiring much less investment in the same three sectors mentioned above. While they can cool down smaller areas, that’s a waste of their potential as they actually become more expensive to maintain than standard AC systems.


  • Chillers are more efficient when used in industrial and commercial applications;
  • AC units are more efficient when used in residential areas and smaller enclosed spaces.

Which chiller rental companies in San Diego offer high-efficiency cooling units?

Since 1978, Aerco Systems has been one of the leading chiller and HVAC rental companies in the San Diego area. Our offer includes comprehensive, swift, and efficient service covering all your commercial and industrial cooling needs.

Rely on us to elevate your business with our vast selection of chillers, cooling towers, fans, air handlers, pumps, and fans. Reach out to us today, and see why we are the #1 choice from The Bay to the Black Mountain and beyond!