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What are chilled beam HVAC systems?

Gibbons HVAC Services has vast experience installing, servicing and repairing all types of HVAC equipment, including chilled beams systems. In this blog we’ll explain how chilled beams operate and the benefits they offer to building owners and facilities managers.

What are chilled beams?

A chilled beam is a HVAC system that cools and ventilates an occupied space such as an office, hospital ward, shop or bank hall. A chilled beam consists of a heat exchanger (also known as a beam) suspended below the ceiling, which contains pipe filled with cold water. These pipes cool the air around the beam, causing it to become denser and fall towards the floor, being replaced by rising warm air. The result is a constant flow of convection which causes the air at ground level to be cooled.

Chilled beams are generally passive or active. Passive chilled beams (PCBs) rely solely on convection, while active chilled beams (ACBs) draw air towards the beam through ductwork. ACBs are most commonly used due to their much greater cooling capacity compared to PCBs.

What are the advantages of chilled beam systems?

There are several benefits of chilled beams:

  • Being free of moving parts such as fans or compressors means chilled beams are straightforward to maintain and create much less noise than some HVAC systems.
  • Chilled beams don’t require complex ductwork or equipment rooms and use around half the space of all-air systems.
  • Pumping water is more energy efficient than blowing air, which is why chilled beams require fewer air circulation fans.

If you’d like to know more about chilled beams, give Gibbons’ HVAC Services Manager Andrew Knight a call on 07850 204915 or email

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