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Types of Air Conditioners, their Advantages & Disadvantages

There are many types of air-conditioner designs available. The two most common ones are: Window Air Conditioners and (Ductless) Split Air Conditioners. The ductless Split Air Conditioners is a special (or mini) version of a Central Air Conditioner. A Central Air Conditioner regulates air through a network of ducts and uses a split system. An air conditioning unit that uses a Split System is composed of:

  • Outdoor Unit: An outdoor unit that houses the compressor and condenser), and

  • Indoor Unit: One or more indoor units. The indoor units are equipped with air blowers and are wall mounted inside the room.

  • Tubing: The indoor unit and the outdoor unit are connected through tubing. Refrigerant circulates in this tubing that helps transport heat from inside the room to the open external environment.

A window air conditioner is a single unit. All the components of a window air conditioner are enclosed within it. Typically the window air conditioner is installed in a window. When the refrigerant circulates inside the unit to transport heat, cool air blows into the room whereas hot air is ejected outside.

A window air conditioner takes up very less space and is easy to install and repair. A window air conditioner is usually cheaper than most other type of air conditioners. A key disadvantage of window air conditioners is that they can be noisy when running. Sometimes the design of the house is such that it is very difficult to install a windows air conditioner. The ductless split air conditioner is cheaper than central air conditioning system, although it is more expensive than the window air conditioner. Since the body (outdoor unit) of the split air conditioner is outside the room, such type of air conditioners (split) operate silently inside the room.

NOTE: It is important to clean and change the air filters of all types of air conditioners periodically as per the instruction manual to ensure safe and efficient cooling function of these air conditioning systems.

Some Other Designs of Air-Conditioning Systems
  • Portable Air Conditioners are designed as a single free-standing unit so that they can easily be moved from one room to another. They have a hose that expels hot air from the room through a window or other type of aperture in the wall.

  • Smart Air Conditioners have built-in internet technology. These air conditioners are Wi-Fi enabled. They come with an App that allows a smartphone to optionally operate the unit.

How to choose a suitable Air Conditioner?

Based on the factors discussed above, the following constraints should be kept in mind before purchasing an air conditioner: (i) What is your maximum budget? (ii) How much cooling power do you really need? (iii) Energy Consumption - Typically the air conditioning system installed within the house forms the largest part of the total electricity bill. (iv) Space Requirements - How much and what type of free space is available for installing the air conditioning system. (v) Maintenance - Is it easy to service the air conditioning system? Cost of repair, availability of spare parts, etc. should be considered before making a purchase.

Refrigerant, Compressor, Evaporator & Condenser Coil

Refrigerant is a fluid that undergoes a repeated phase transition from liquid state to gaseous state and back again. It is the refrigeration cycle of an air conditioning system that uses a refrigerant flowing within coils that makes heat transfer possible.

The Condenser Coil is located within the outdoor unit of the Split Air Conditioner. The condenser coil works with the compressor to convert the refrigerant that is in gaseous form back to a liquid. The heat produced in this heat exchange cycle is dispelled in the open external environment.

The Evaporator Coil is located within the indoor unit of the Split Air Conditioner. The evaporator coil has refrigerant flowing within it and is responsible for absorbing the heat from within the room and transporting it outside. The evaporator coil works with the condenser coil as a result of which cool air flows out of the air conditioner into the room.

The Compressor is the work horse of an air conditioning system. The compressor located in the outdoor unit helps bring in the outside air. This air cools down when the liquid refrigerant absorbs the heat and changes into gas. Inside the indoor unit, the refrigerant vapor absorbs the heat from the room and travels back to the compressor. This heat exchange cycle enabled via the compressor continues until the temperature drops and reaches the level set in the thermostat. Ductwork and fans within the air conditioning system move the excess heat out of the room when the compressor is running.

  • HVAC System - The function of an HVAC system relates to the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning of enclosed spaces.

  • AC - Air Conditioner. An Air Conditioner is a machine that reduces the temperature of an enclosed space by removal of heat (and moisture) from the room. Most home Air Conditioners do not perform the critical Ventilation function that has to be managed separately.

  • Ventilation - Ventilation is the process of replacing stale air with fresh air from an enclosed space. Typically an Air Conditioner only cools the air without ventilation. Enclosed spaces should periodically be ventilated by shutting down the AC, opening windows and doors and operating fans (ceiling fans, pedestal fans & exhaust fans) to circulate the air so that fresh outdoor air comes in and stale air moves out.

  • Heater - Heater is a device used in the winter season that increases the temperature of the room. Room heaters work on the principle of convection (transfer heat via movement of a liquid or gas), conduction (electric floor heater with coils) or radiation (radiant infrared heaters). Electric heaters convert electricity into thermal energy and don't require a vent (unlike heaters with combustible fuel sources).

Advantages of HVAC for Insulated Buildings

Commercial buildings and residences in cold countries tend to have well insulated buildings. Building insulation reduces energy consumption since there is less leakage of air from windows and doors. Insulation has the added benefit of reducing noise pollution because outside noise cannot enter the building easily. Since the temperature and moisture of an insulated home is highly regulated, the problem of moulds, fungus and spores is greatly reduced. Installing an efficent HVAC system in a well insulated building can be a great choice for providing a truly comfortable living and work space.

Benefits of Natural Light - Healthy & Comfortable Lifestyle Tips

Most people, particularly from hot regions, are primarily concerned with cooling their homes. Typical homes have doors and windows that can periodically be opened for ventilation purposes. The air inside the house is circulated by means of fans. Well placed glass windows and doors permit the entry of sunlight. There is no doubt that natural sunlight is most essential for good health. Otherwise also, natural sunlight reduces the need for artificial lighting and helps to keep the house warm in the cold season. Natural sunlight helps reduces moisture and prevents the problem of moulds along with destroying harmful bacteria and parasites. Ultraviolet rays are a natural antiseptic.

Air Conditioner Capacitors

The capacitor was originally known as a condenser. A capacitor is a device that stores electrical energy. It consists of two conductors in close proximity that are insulated from each other. Capacitors have many useful applications. For example, in a digital computer circuit the capacitor prevents memory / data loss during a temporary loss of electrical power. Capacitors also help prevent damage to delicate electronic components during electrical power surges.

A capacitor is similar to a battery because it stores electric energy. The Air Conditioner Capacitor is one of the most important components of your entire HVAC system. The main role of an air conditioner capacitor is to ensure a continuous supply of power so that the air conditioner runs smoothly when their are temporary power fluctuations. The air conditioner capacitor also helps with additional power when the fan motor is started. If the cooling reduces or the electricity bills are higher than normal then a likely cause could be a faulty air conditioner capacitor. If the ac capacitory completely blows out then the air conditioner fan will not start but produce a humming sound.

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