Secondary Refrigerants (glycol, brines, CO2)

Updated: May 1

Refrigeration equipment can be broadly classified as either direct expansion (DX) or secondary chiller systems. Secondary refrigerants are used to distribute the cooling capacity from the chiller out to the refrigeration loads.



Advantages of secondary refrigerants over DX:


  • With a chiller the primary refrigerant, which is often toxic, flammable, or not environmentally friendly, is isolated to the chiller or mechanical room

  • Secondary refrigerants make it easy to tie in multiple loads, and simplify future expansions and modifications. Adding, removing, or moving cooling loads can be accomplished with simple plumbing changes.

  • Refrigerant control problems (liquid slugging, flood back and oil return problems) which can lead to reliability problems are largely avoided with secondary ref.

  • In house maintenance staff can work on secondary piping systems, simplifying the application and reducing maintenance costs


For a look at the benefits & trade-offs of commonly used secondary refrigerants, refer to our chart below!


Please contact us if you have any questions. As always, we are available for free consultations for whatever you may need, as well as free analyses on which refrigerants are best for your application and ways to increase your efficiency while reducing your costs!


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