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Air conditioning equipment is designed to deliver and distribute air at a selected temperature, providing a comfortable environment for the occupants of the space. Although more usually associated with providing cooled air, modern air conditioning is equally capable of providing heating as well.

The invention of the refrigeration cycle occurred in the early 20th century, and was initially used to improve industrial manufacturing processes. Soon after, the benefits of refrigeration were applied to the development of an item that we use every day – the refrigerator. In refrigerators, a chemical refrigerant moves through pipework, changing from a liquid to a gas then back again. These changes of state enable heat energy to be transferred from one part of the system to another. Typically, refrigeration systems consist of a condenser, compressor, expansion valve and evaporator.

In a refrigerator, heat is removed from the foodstuffs stored inside the refrigerator and then expelled out into the surrounding environment. Air conditioning works in much the same way, removing heat from the space where it is not required before expelling it elsewhere. Air conditioning in cooling mode not only cools the room but will also dehumidify and filter the air, further improving its quality as well as the comfort levels of those occupying the space.

Air conditioning equipment uses a system of parts in order to provide cool, clean air.

  1. The indoor unit contains a fan that blows the hot air from the room over a coil containing cold refrigerant (also known as the evaporator). Refrigerant in the coil absorbs the heat from the room, allowing cool air to be blown out into the space.
  2. Refrigerant moves through the system via the pipework, through the compressor pump where it is compressed and heated further.
  3. In the external unit, generally called the condenser, the refrigerant is cooled and its heat released to the atmosphere as it flows through a heat-exchanging coil.
  4. Liquid refrigerant then flows back towards the indoor unit.
  5. The refrigerant passes the expansion valve, decompressing and cooling it, preparing it to enter the evaporator once again, collecting heat energy and recommencing the entire cycle.

In modern air conditioning systems, the refrigeration cycle can be reversed to enable heat energy to be collected from the external environment and used to provide internal heating that is highly effective even when external temperatures drop below freezing.

Research has demonstrated a link between personal productivity and temperature. Absenteeism, low morale, mistakes and accidents tend to occur more commonly in temperature extremes. Most people feel comfortable in temperatures of between 18C and 21C and humidity of between 40-60%.

We install and maintain a range of air conditioning systems to suit any budget and application. Which air conditioning design is most suited to your needs is dependent upon a number of factors, such as:

  • The current and anticipated heat load of the space
  • The primary use of the space/spaces that require cooling
  • The potential location of the indoor and outdoor equipment
  • Whether the owner requires the control of temperature in individual rooms

Modern systems use a combination of the very latest technology, including electrostatic filtration, to provide occupants with comfortable, clean air, minimising contaminants and airborne dust.

Smaller installations tend to use “split” air conditioning equipment, the most common being a “single split” design. In single splits, the outdoor unit containing the heat exchanger, compressor and cooling fan is housed outside of the space or building being cooled, while the indoor units can either be recessed into the ceiling (ceiling cassette), wall-mounted or fixed under ceiling level. The outdoor and indoor units are then connected using pipework in which flows the refrigerant.

Split systems include low-capacity units suitable for use in smaller rooms, although large, powerful units are also available for use in business or commercial air conditioning applications. Split systems provide even air distribution, near-silent operation and modern, clean designs.

Multi-split systems, a development of the simpler single split system, are used to connect the outdoor unit to multiple indoor units, reducing installation time and costs in many applications.

When a number of adjacent rooms, or larger spaces require air conditioning, another option is the VRF (variable refrigerant flow, also referred to as VRV variable refrigerant volume) system. VRF/VRV air conditioning systems use one external condenser connected to multiple indoor units. Variable refrigerant flow is achieved through the use of a multi-speed compressor controlled by an inverter, multiple-capacity compressors or simply by using sophisticated controls.

Larger systems, such as the VRF/VRV, tend to be suited best to large business or commercial applications. Capable of quickly responding to any environmental changes that result in varying heating or cooling requirements in multiple separate spaces, these systems are extremely efficient because they are able to collect the heat from one space and use that energy to heat additional spaces, instead of it being expelled into the atmosphere.

Which air conditioning is right for your business? Call 0800 731 8833 now to find out more and for free impartial advice.

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