April 20, 2024
Air Conditioning Systems

Designing Efficient Duct Systems for Central Air Conditioning

Types of Air Conditioning Systems

Air conditioning refers to the technology that modifies the condition of air in indoor environments. It is a very important aspect in commercial buildings and homes today to maintain thermal comfort. There are different types of air conditioning systems available based on the needs and budgets. Let’s take a look at some of the major types of air conditioning systems used commonly.

Central Air Conditioning

Central air conditioning is one of the most popular options for homes and large commercial buildings. In central air conditioning, all the major components such as the evaporator coil, blower, compressor and condenser are installed in a single location such as the attic, garage or basement. Cooled air is circulated through supply ductwork to different parts of the building via supply registers. Return air is brought back to the system through return ducts and return registers.

Central air systems offer several advantages. They provide whole-home cooling coverage easily. Maintenance is also easier since all components are together. However, installing ductwork can become expensive. Sizing such systems also needs professional help. Regular maintenance and filter changes are required too. Different types under central air include split systems, packaged systems, heat pumps etc.

Window/Through-Wall Air Conditioners

Window and through-wall air conditioners are self-contained units that are mounted in a pre-existing window or wall space. They are inexpensive options but have disadvantages like taking up wall or window space. Cooling area is also limited compared to central systems. However, for small rooms and areas where ductwork installation is difficult, window units offer a cost-effective solution without much hassle.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners can be moved around on casters. They have adjustableLouvers on the exhaust side but require permanent venting through a window or wall. Though movable, their cooling capacity is quite limited compared to central or window units. Portable ACs are best suited for occasional use in small spaces temporarily. Maintenance is also more due to their smaller size.

Ductless/Mini-Split Systems

Ductless or mini-split air conditioning systems are a popular alternative to central air today. They have an outdoor compressor and coil along with separate indoor air handlers connected through refrigerant lines. Each indoor unit can service a single room independently with individual temperature controls. Installation costs can be lower than ducted systems since no ductwork is needed. Mini-splits are an excellent choice for zoning control, renovations and retrofits where adding ducts may not be possible.

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems

VRF systems are a Air Conditioning Systems multi-room version of mini-splits that can support even more zones of varying capacities. Outdoor condensing units can be linked to multiple indoor units on one piping system with variable refrigerant control for enhanced efficiency. VRFs offer advantages of precise zoning, lower costs than central air and ease of installation. Occupancy-based and temperature-based controls enhance comfort. They are commonly used in commercial buildings today.

Air Conditioning System Components

Regardless of the type, all air conditioning systems consist of basic components that work together to modulate temperature and humidity levels. Let’s look at the key components in detail:

– Evaporator coil: This is present inside the unit and is where the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air blown over it during the evaporating process.

– Compressor: Outside the unit, the compressor pressurizes and pumps refrigerant between high and low pressure sides of the AC system.

– Condenser coil: Usually placed outside, the condenser releases heat absorbed inside during condensation of the refrigerant. It needs unrestricted airflow for effective heat rejection.

– Blower: Present inside the unit, the blower moves air across the evaporator coil to circulate cooled air throughout the conditioned space.

– Filter: Most systems consist of removable filters that trap dirt and allergens from the circulating air supply.

– Thermostat: A thermostat controls the system electronically based on set points for temperature and humidity.

Proper sizing, installation, maintenance and repairs by professional technicians are important to extract optimum performance from any air conditioning system over its lifespan. Regular maintenance prevents premature failure and enhances comfort levels. Proper insulation and sealing of windows/doors also reduces AC workload and energy consumption. With the rising temperatures, air conditioning continues to become a necessity globally for liveable urban environments.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it