Whereas a condenser/cooling tower arrangement requires a system of water distribution piping, this is almost entirely absent in the evaporative condenser. Only enough water need be circulated to ensure that the outside surface of the condenser coils is completely wet. The heat exchange is solely latent, and less water is required in circulation than is necessary with a condenser/cooling tower, where a sensible heat exchange occurs in the shell-and — tube condenser.
The evaporative condenser is thus more compact and is cheaper. It suffers from lack of flexibility, and oil return and other problems demand that the condenser should not be too far from the compressor. A cooling tower, on the other hand, may be a considerable distance away, the condenser then being adjacent to the compressor.
Scaling on the tubes of an evaporative condenser may be something of a problem, particularly if a high condensing temperature is used. Cleaning difficulties, caused by the presence of scale, dirt and corrosion, and by the close nesting necessary for the tubes (the use of finning being impossible), have considerably reduced the popularity of the evaporative condenser in recent years.
Posted in Engineering Fifth Edition