What is Air Conditioner

As the name shows, the machine which changes the condition of the air is called Air Conditioner. Air conditioner is usually referred to the machine which changes the temperature of the environment. In most cases decreases the air temperature significantly.

There is a huge variety of products that lay in the category of Air Conditioners, they serve the same purpose but for different environments and solve different types of problems. Some of the main categories are mentioned below according to the energy consumption levels respectively:

  • Package Air Conditioner
  • Through Wall
  • Window Air conditioner
  • Split Air Conditioner
  • Two stage evaporative cooler
  • Desert Cooler
  • Portable Air conditioner
  • Hybrid Air conditioners
  • Geothermal Heating and cooling

Some specifications and differences of these systems are discussed here:

Package Air Conditioner:

These Air Conditioners are probably the biggest and most energy consuming ones. They are used to cool down a large area or separate rooms if needed. They are usually installed outdoors or on the roof of the building. Their energy consumption is very high as they produce huge BTU (unit of cooling) or in other words produce a huge cool air flow. They usually consist of these main components:

  • Big Air conditioning unit
  • Ducting channels
  • Fan coil
  • Air outlets

The outdoor big unit produces cool air which is the transferred to the building’s portions by proper insolated ducting channels and if air throw reduces due to the exceeded length of the duct then it is repowered by fan coils. At the ends of the ducting mouths there is an Air outlet which could be opened or closed when needed. By this method, the whole building’s temperature can be controlled.

Pros:

  1. The whole building’s temperature is almost equal everywhere.
  2. The maintenance is simple as there are very few units are to be maintained.
  3. Easy replacement of the units as they are already outside the building.

Cons:

  1. Huge installment cost due to ducting and air outlets.
  2. Ducting consumes a lot of space, which is much need in tall buildings.
  3. The units themselves cost more than split units.
  4. Emits CFC gases: not good for ozone, dry air: not good for skin (common in all Compressor using Systems)

Through Wall Air Conditioners

Through wall air conditioners are big A/C units fitted to the wall by a chassis frame or a stand outside the building. They are bigger than window A/Cs and are meant to cool bigger areas like Halls or big living rooms. They are usually fixed flat with the wall to give better looks.

They consist of only one-piece unit. The unit sucks the room air, cools it down and provides it back to the room.

Pros:

  1. One-piece unit
  2. Easy to fix, easy to remove
  3. Less maintenance
  4. Better looking than Window A/C

Cons:

  1. High energy consuming
  2. High heat production
  3. Needs rigid platform or frame to support
  4. Costly as compared with window A/C
  5. Emits CFC gases: not good for ozone, dry air: not good for skin (common in all Compressor using Systems)
Window Air Conditioner:

The simplest among compressor using Air Conditioners is the window A/C. It is also a one-piece unit which could be fitted in the wall like a window. It takes air from the room and provides back chilled air.

Pros:

  1. Provides air with high pressure
  2. Cools down the room very quickly

Cons:

  1. Very high energy consuming
  2. Very old Technology
  3. Most not very good looking
  4. Not effective for big areas
  5. Emits CFC gases: not good for ozone, dry air: not good for skin (common in all Compressor using Systems)
Split Air Conditioning Systems:

The split A/C is the most widely used system. Most of you might be very familiar with it. It consists of two split Units, the A/C unit is mounted outside the building as it generates heat while cooling down the air. The second unit which contains the air filters and fan is mounted on the wall inside the building. This unit is among the most beautiful one, some companies have takes its decoration to the art level.

Pros:

  1. These units are beautiful
  2. Suitable for tall buildings (Less space needed).
  3. Latest Technology
  4. Lower energy consumption
  5. Less noise

Cons:

  1. Installation is complex
  2. Maintenance is also complex as 2 units involved
  3. Emits CFC gases: not good for ozone, dry air: not good for skin (common in all Compressor using Systems)

Two Stage Evaporative cooling:

Two stage evaporative cooling is the latest technology to use the process of cooling through water evaporation. The best results so far in evaporative cooling have been achieved through this method. This method comprises two stages as you can guess from the name of the process.

Pros:

  1. They use up to 80% less energy than the traditional Air conditioners.
  2. They provide fresh air.
  3. They are cheap and easy to maintain.
  4. They are usually cheaper than the compressor using systems.
  5. They can work in environments where a heat source is inside the building.

Cons:

  1. They can’t work as efficient in the humid areas as semi humid or dry areas.
  2. They need water supply constantly.
  3. Corrosion on the structure.
  4. Minerals from water, scaling on the cooling pads.

Research and development is ongoing on these limitations and some companies have also developed some solutions such as magnetic ionization process to stop minerals from making layers on pads. Anti-corrosion systems etc. But this tech is new in the market and still under evolution process.

Desert Air Cooler:

Desert cooler which we also call Swamp cooler is also one cheap way of conditioning air with less Installation and Manufacturing cost. It works with water vaporization method which people are using for thousands of years in one from or another. Water flows through cooling pads and air passes through them which drops the air temperature significantly.

Pros:

  1. The Installation is cheap
  2. Running cost is also less
  3. Maintenance is cheap and simple
  4. High availability in remote areas
  5. Fresh air supply

Cons:

  1. Considerably low cooling
  2. Mineral Scaling
  3. Rusting of Water Tank and other parts
  4. Humid air
  5. No dust filters
  6. Maintenance is easy but repeatedly needed
  7. Duct needed if using for big area

Portable air conditioner:  

Portable A/C could be any A/C small enough to be portable mostly desert cooler like A/C are used as portable A/C just by decreasing the size and adding wheels to it, so that it could be carried easily. But some companies do also make Compressor using portable air conditioners which are enough to compensate for a small area.

Pros:

  1. Very mobile
  2. Small, less space required
  3. Easy to use, plug and use
  4. Good for low budget

Cons:

  1. Not for commercial use
  2. Less cooling area
  3. Complex maintenance, mostly not available

Hybrid Air Conditioner:

These air conditioners are usually designed to consume less energy. They are able to be attach to the inverter, some also come with build-in converters. They work on normal current supply but also could be configured with solar panels using UPS (Uninterrupted Power supply) systems. Inverter A/Cs are now a very competent product in the market as people are focusing on green and renewable energy due to increase in electricity prices and environmental problems. If a Two stage evaporative air conditioner is fitted with a converter to run on solar panels, it will be the cheapest and most efficient cooling option ever.

Pros:

  1. Renewable energy reduces running cost to the minimum level
  2. Solution for electricity cuts
  3. Able to run on alternative energy source
  4. Backup energy source always available

Cons:

  1. Higher installation cost due to added panels and inverter price
  2. Not practical for commercial use due to High alternative energy requirement

Geothermal Heating and cooling:

This is a thing well into the future but research in this method of HVAC has made things practical at least but a lot of “Research and Development” is needed to make this method very efficient. Basically, what is method does is that is takes the temperature from earth to cool down or heat up the environment. A metal pipe is dug into the earth deep down and water is circulated through the pipe, water absorbs the temperature of the earth, then this water is run through coils fitted somewhere in the room to cool/heat the air. The earth’s temperature is constant 55°C all year long, no matter what is the temperature above the ground. The earth is cooler than the temperature above its surface, if its cold above, the earth will be warmer beneath and if its hot above then the earth will be cool beneath.

Pros:

  1. If it is made a bit more efficient then it’s almost cost-free running
  2. No heat or coolth is generated, just transferred from ground
  3. Never ending energy source

Cons:

  1. A lot of research and development is needed in this field
  2. Very low temperature is impossible to achieve as the earth is not very cold