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Different Types of Cooling Systems

Views: 220     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-07-27      Origin: Site

A cooling system refers to a special piece of equipment or apparatus employed to eliminate heat to ensure even cooling throughout a room, building, or structure. A cooling system also supplies adequate and constant ventilation and helps improve indoor air quality. Compared to heating systems, cooling systems are more complicated since you are using energy to take away heat.

In the world of cooling systems, there are a variety of solutions, each suited to different cooling duties. Herein is a comprehensive overview of the different types of cooling systems used to meet specific cooling, ventilation, and dehumidification needs in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings or facilities.


1. Central Air Conditioners


Central air conditioners are the most common type of cooling system used in residential settings. They are also the first choice for cooling commercial environments such as an office setting. A central air conditioner is designed to cool an entire structure where ventilation is present.

A central air conditioning system is made up of an evaporator coil, compressor, condenser coil, an expansion valve, and ductwork. The evaporator coil is located inside the air handler of a central air conditioner and is filled with cold refrigerant.

The cold refrigerant draws heat from the air going through the evaporator. The refrigerant transforms into warm vapour. The air passing through the coil losses heat and moisture, and the resultant cooled dryer air is fed throughout the building through the ductwork.


System of central conditioning set on the roof of the building


In each system, the sizeable compressor unit situated outdoors drives the cooling process. It draws in warmed refrigerant vapour, compressing the vapour to a dense form. The increasing temperature and pressure push the refrigerant through the condenser.

A condenser fan on the outdoor unit directs air through the condenser coil, which leverages the airflow to remove heat contained in the refrigerant. This process converts the refrigerant from hot vapour into a hot liquid. The expansion valve completes the air conditioning process by converting the hot liquid refrigerant back into a cold mist (through pressure reduction) to prepare for its trip back through the evaporator.

With central air conditioners, the same air duct system is utilized with a furnace to achieve forced warm-air heating. Many central air conditioners use the furnace fan to distribute the cooled air to the ducts. There are two main types of central air conditioning systems. These include a packaged unit and a split-type air conditioning unit.

A packaged air conditioning unit is considered more cost-effective and practical, making it an ideal choice for commercial settings. In a packaged unit, the condenser, compressor, and evaporator are all housed in a single cabinet, which is typically located on a concrete slab near the foundation or a rooftop.

Return ducts and hot air supply come from interior spaces through the building's exterior walls or roof and connect to the packaged air conditioning unit. The hot air then moves through a refrigeration cycle where it is cooled through heat transfer. The now cool air is pumped out the front of the unit into the spaces that need cooling.

A split type air conditioning unit functions similarly but it comprises two components – an interior and an exterior unit. The exterior unit contains the compressor and condenser while the indoor unit contains the evaporator.

The indoor cabinet may also contain an air handler or a furnace. As such, a split-type unit produces no noise in the interior of the building. A split-type system is more efficient and noise-free but it's also more costly.


2. Evaporation Coolers


An evaporative cooler is a cooling system that cools air through the evaporation of water. It differs from other air conditioning systems, which employ absorption or vapor-compression refrigeration cycles. An evaporative cooler leverages the fact that water absorbs a large amount of heat to evaporate.

Although evaporative coolers, also referred to as swamp coolers, are less common than central air condition systems, they are an ideal option in very hot and dry areas. This cooling system is also relatively cheap and needs less energy compared to other types of cooling. Usually, residential, commercial, and industrial evaporative coolers utilize direct evaporation.

A typical evaporative cooler is an enclosed plastic or metal container with vented sides that contains evaporative cooling pads. A fan (driven by an electric motor) moves air and a pump passes water over the cooling pads. You can mount the cooling units on the exterior walls, windows, or roofs of buildings.

The fan draws ambient air through the unit's side vents and the cooling pads. Water from the pads evaporates due to the heat in the air. The cooling pads are re-dampened constantly to maintain the cooling process. The cool moist air is circulated into the building spaces through a vent in the wall or roof.

Since cooling air comes from outside the building, one or multiple large vents have to be installed to allow air to move from the interior to the exterior. Evaporation coolers come in different sizes to suit various cooling requirements and environments. There are several advantages of an evaporation cooling system over refrigeration-based air conditioning.

Most importantly, the cost of operation is significantly lower. Evaporation coolers don't have compressors and power consumption is limited to the water pump and centrifugal fan, which have a low current draw. Also, the operating fluid is water thus eliminating the need for special refrigerants like CFCs and ammonia, which are expensive to replace, can be toxic, and are subject to strict environmental regulations.

Evaporation coolers are also easier to install and maintain. If you are mechanically inclined, you can install the equipment yourself and lower the installation cost considerably. Refrigeration equipment typically required professional installation.

Further, the only mechanical components in evaporative coolers are the water pump and the fan motor. You can easily replace or repair these components at a low cost, eliminating the often-expensive services of HVAC professionals.


3. Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners


Mini-split systems are a popular cooling system as well as an ideal retrofit solution for room additions in houses or indoor spaces without ductwork. Similar to central air conditioning units, mini-splits feature an exterior compressor and condenser, and an interior air handling unit with an evaporator. The difference between this cooling system and a central air conditioner is that each zone or room has its air handler.

Every indoor unit is connected to the exterior air conditioning unit through a conduit that carries the refrigerant and power lines. The interior units are usually mounted on the ceiling or wall. The exterior unit extracts hot air and utilizes the refrigerant cycle to cool it. The interior units circulate and deploy the cool condensed air.

The main advantage of ductless mini-split air conditioners is the flexibility afforded in cooling individual zones or rooms. Through the provision of dedicated cooling units for every space, you can easily meet the different comfort requirements of different spaces by customizing the temperature range for each. Since ductless mini-split systems eliminate the need for ductwork, you also avoid the energy losses that are associated with central air-conditioning systems.

The main drawback of ductless mini-split air conditioners is the initial purchase and installation cost. These units cost on average more than the typical central air-conditioning units of the same size. You also need to install a separate unit for each space.

However, when you factor in the energy losses and resultant costs associated with installing air ducts for central air conditioners, a ductless mini-split system may offer you long-term energy savings. As such, it's important to consider your energy needs and other factors to determine if a ductless mini-split cooling system is the best solution for your needs.


4. Heat Pumps


It may seem counterintuitive that a heat pump can serve as a cooling system. A heat pump is very similar to a central cooling system described earlier.

A heat pump delivers heated air through ductwork to keep spaces warm during the winter months and provides central cooling during the summer months. Like a central air conditioning system, a heat pump also comprises an outdoor compressor unit and an indoor evaporator unit. It is essentially a two-way air conditioner.


heat pump picture


SPRSUN is one of the major manufacturers of high-quality heat pump air conditioners with cooling functionality. The company has a wide selection of different types of heat pump air conditioners. SPRSUN has consistently served Northern and Western Europe markets, which have experienced increasing temperatures and record high temperatures during summer in recent times. SPRSUN has numerous projects in various European countries including Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Romania.

Heat pumps have sprung up as a novel solution that helps Northern and Western European residents keep cool during summer and warm in winter. SPRSUN heat pumps can efficiently perform double heating and cooling duties, thus making them an ideal fit for this region that can be inclement in the winter and increasingly scorching in the summer.

During cold months, a SPRSUN cold climate heat pump extracts heat from the air, which is then distributed through a building to warm up rooms. During the hot months, this system is reversed. The heat pump extracts heat from the rooms and spaces and transfers the heat outside, thus cooling the room and making them more comfortable.


5. Room or Window Air Conditioning Systems


Room air conditioning units are dedicated systems that you mount on a wall or window. The machine is installed in a special vent or as part of a window, whereby a section of the unit remains inside the room while another section is outside the room.

Room air conditioning units extract hot air in the room and pass it through the refrigeration coil to cool it. This cool air passes through the air conditioning duct, which condenses and conditions the air, keeping the room cool. Room air conditioning units are rated by the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER), which considers the cooling output over the power consumption. A higher EER means the cooling system is more efficient.

You have to install sole air conditioning units in every room to cool them separately. You also need to install the units as per the size of the room. Note that individual room AC units cost significantly less than central AC units. Room/window air conditioners offer superior customization and are hassle-free. You can control individual room temperatures as per your preferences.


Conclusion


All in all, an effective cooling system is vital for much-needed comfort during hot days. When you're choosing a cooling system for residential, commercial, or industrial applications, there are several factors that you must consider. These factors include the climate, the size of the spaces that require cooling, the size of the cooling unit, your budget, and the cost-efficiency of the system.


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