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- 1 Who invented air conditioning? We tell you the history of air conditioning
Who invented air conditioning? We tell you the history of air conditioning
Details of how an air conditioner works and its construction
Any air conditioning unit is generally composed of the following main elements:
- Compressor: Its purpose is to compress a fluid to achieve an increase in pressure. This fluid is in a gaseous state according to the equations of state of gases (taking as an example the equation of state of an ideal gas). This increase in gas pressure also creates an increase in gas temperature so that the gas at the compressor outlet has a higher pressure and temperature than at the inlet.
- Condenser: The function of the condenser is to condense the gas, that is, to transform it into a liquid state. This change of state is made by subtracting heat from the gas so that this absorbed heat is released in the form of heat to the environment.
- Expansion valve: The expansion or capillary valve (depending on the type of installation) is a narrowing in the circuit which subjects the liquid to a loss of pressure and therefore to a drop in temperature.
- Evaporator: The purpose of the evaporator is to vaporize the liquid by absorbing heat from the outside and transforming this liquid into gas.
- R12: Dichlorodifluoromethane (CCl2F2 composition). (Currently prohibited).
- R22: Chlorodifluoromethane (CHClF2 composition). (Currently prohibited).
- R407C: Non-azeotropic mixture composed of three gases: R32, R125 and R134a.
- R410A: Near-azeotropic mixture of two HFC gases: diphloromethane (R-32) and pentafluoroethane (R-125).
- An outdoor unit which is mostly where the compressor is arranged
- An indoor unit which provides air circulation by diffusion or directly to the environment.
Appearance of air conditioning units
Air conditioning units, as we have mentioned, are usually made up of two separate units: the indoor unit and the outdoor unit. Between these two units, a refrigeration installation of copper piping must be made through which the refrigerant gas or refrigerating fluid will circulate and electrical connections for the correct control and operation of these. The main power supply is usually connected to the outdoor unit since the highest consumption occurs in this unit and this in turn will send voltage through the electrical interconnection with the indoor unit.
These two units will need a drainage pipe to evacuate water from the condensate in these units (cold-only units do not need a drain in the outdoor unit).
There are also compact air conditioning units that combine the outdoor unit and the indoor unit into one unit. These types of units are window units, portable units and compact or “no outdoor unit” units.[columns] [span4] [/span4][span4] [/span4][span4] [/span4][/columns]
- Compact window units are usually the units that are “embedded” in a wall with access to the outside of the dwelling in order to have the inner unit part inside the dwelling and the outer unit part outside the dwelling. These units are currently in disuse.
- The portable units exist with “backpack” or “without backpack”. The units with a backpack consist of an indoor unit and an outdoor unit connected to each other by flexible pipes, being the indoor unit in this case the one with the compressor inside and leaving in the outdoor unit only the condenser with a fan. The units “without a backpack” are usually composed of one or two air tube inlets/outlets to the outside where the air necessary for the cooling of the condenser will be sucked in and out. These units with only one air outlet (discharge of air to the outside) have a very limited performance since, as they do not have an input of external air for cooling, they use the treated air from the inside to cool it and expel it to the outside with its consequent loss of performance.
- The compact units or also called without an outdoor unit are compact air conditioning units that integrate both the indoor and outdoor unit, being a mixture between window units and portable two-pipe units. This type of unit is “hung” on the wall in the same way as an indoor split unit, but with stronger anchors as they are heavier units as they have a compressor for the discharge and suction of the air from the compressor, they are drilled into the wall behind the unit and are hidden from view by two 150 mm holes to achieve the correct supply and discharge of air.
Types of air conditioners
Cooling only and heat pump units
Air conditioning units can be divided into two large families depending on their characteristics:
- Cold only units.
- Heat pump units.
The big difference between these two types of family is that heat pump units, in addition to cooling air in summer, can also heat it in winter by means of a four-way valve and operating cycle inversion, by subtracting heat from the outside air and injecting it into the interior.
On-off units and inverter air conditioning units
Another distinction is related to the technology used for its operation:
- On/off air conditioning units.
- Inverter air conditioning units.
The technology of the air conditioning units on/off is older, simpler and more economical but it has several disadvantages as we saw in this entry; a greater consumption since when turning on the compressor this starts in its maximum power remaining in this one during all its operation, a smaller yield, much smaller energetic coefficients than the units inverter, high intensity peaks in the current, greater outer sonority, more limited operation to extreme outer temperatures, etc. On the other hand, inverter air conditioning units, thanks to this technology, manage to electronically modulate the power of the unit, being able to reduce it and increase it depending on the required needs.
Air conditioning units, like many household appliances and electronic devices, are subject to European Union energy efficiency standards and must be rated according to their energy consumption. These classes have as their nomenclature:
Generally, in energy classes A++, A++, A+, and B we usually find inverter air conditioning units, while On/Off air conditioning units are usually included in energy classes C or lower.