Welcome to Cooling Heating
We all enjoy the comforts our split ac system or ductless air conditioning can bring during a hot summer. As you feel the cool breeze coming out of the evaporator of your mini split, you may be wondering how split system air conditioning and mini split heat pump actually work. Especially if you are looking at one of today’s compact and light weight ductless heating and cooling or heat pump system. How can so much cooling/heating power come from such a small package? Heating and cooling units and mini split air conditioning, although evolved technologically and in design, utilize the same basic mechanics that all split system do (including ducted air conditioners and ductless window units.) Whether they use a duct system or not, air conditioning is all about heat transfer. The heat you want out during the summer and in during the winter (if you have installed a ductless mini split), is what your mini split air conditioner is all about! Your best air conditioner units, although compact, uses refrigerants to transfer heat, just like refrigerant and air conditioning technology has since its development in the 1920’s.
EXPLOITING CHEMISTRY: HOW REFRIGERANTS WORK
When we think about our heating - cooling, we generally think of the machinery involved. Whether you are a layman, or do it yourselfer, when you think of the installation or mechanics of heating & cooling, you probably imagine a large, compressor appliance, a fan, and perhaps some vents and ductwork. However, a major component that this fresh, cool air could not be created without is small and silent. None of these appliances could do their job without their chemical assistant, the refrigerant.
From the oldest mechanical room coolers, to the modern heating - cooling, actually do their job by transferring heat. During the hot days of summer, your heating & cooling transfers heat back to the outdoors, leaving you with a cool and comfortable climate indoors. During the winter, heating and cooling reverse the process, gathering small amounts of heat from outside and concentrating it into your indoor space. Physical heat is actually molecular energy. Therefore, using chemicals which have properties which allow us to guide the path way of the heat are a very efficient way to both heat and cool a home. Refrigerants do just that.
The boiling point of a substance is the temperature at which a substance makes the change from a liquid to a gas. Many oils and lubricants would be in a class of chemicals with a very high boiling point, as they can with stand high temperatures and retain their fluidity, which does not compromise their lubrication ability. Most of us are familiar with the use of oils, both natural and synthetic, when dealing with high heat applications. For example, to keep the engine of your car lubricated, we must use an oil that will with stand the high amounts of heat which are put off by the running of an engine. Also, when cooking, we use oils with a high boiling point, so rather than evaporating off, that oil will stay put in the pan!
Refrigerants are chemicals which have the opposite property. These are substances with a very low boiling point, which will change from a liquid to a gas in a flash. In the way that cooking oil is most stable as a liquid, refrigerants really want to be a gas. So, at very low temperatures (with very little molecular energy expended) liquid refrigerants will become a gas. This property is exploited by your heating and cooling, in order to transfer heat along the circuit, from compressor, to condenser, to evaporator; ultimately, bringing you all of the benefits you associate with your efficient heating - cooling.
The part of your heating & cooling that you are probably most familiar with is the evaporator/air handler. This is where you go to set your settings for cooling, heating, and dehumidifying. It is also where the reconditioned air comes out! It is the internal component of the split, in the case of heating and cooling. Fans with in the air handler direct the air flow of the unit into the space it is meant to service. But this is also the source of heat collection, from your interior space, by means of refrigerants.
Within the evaporator, there is a tiny, narrow hole, which is the entry point for cool, refrigerant liquid. As the evaporator accepts each tiny droplet of the liquid, the pressure on the refrigerant is released. All of a sudden, this liquid chemical, which desperately wants to be a gas, is exposed to all of the conditions necessary for it to do so! The lack of pressure(which allow the molecular particles to separate into a less-dense state) and any ambient heat in the room immediately allows the refrigerant to transform. The refrigerant evaporates, taking with it the heat in the room. In extracting this available heat, the refrigerant is returned to a cool, low-pressure gas, which is then sent down the conduit to the outdoor compressor unit.
In the compressor of your mini split, the refrigerant is compressed, or pushed on, in order to charge there frigerant with energy. That is where the compressor gets its name, it literally “compresses” the refrigerant, compacting its molecules and creating heat! There, the low pressure gas is squeezed with all of the compressors might, heating it significantly and creating energy that can be used (when the process is reversed) to heat your home. This may seem counter intuitive, if the heating and cooling process is mysterious to you. But, remember, heat is energy. That is what it takes to keep your home or office cool when outdoor temperatures remain high: energy! And heating - cooling is all about heat transfer. So, the compressor does the job of compressing the refrigerant, wringing the heat out like a wet rag into the outdoors.
The compressor could not do this job efficiently without the other component of your outdoor heating & cooling, the condenser. The condenser is built to work like the radiator of an automobile, fanning and dissipating the collected heat away from your home. And it does a fantastic job, lowering the temperature of the hot, compressed gas enough to create liquid refrigerant one again. This process of transforming a gas to a liquid is known, chemically, as condensation. So, the condenser is also known for what it does to the heating and cooling refrigerant. The temperature at which a gas returns to a liquid is also known as the “dew point,” so, it starts to make sense that the first heating - cooling(created for industrial use in the 1920’s by Willis Carrier) were stumbled upon as he and colleagues made observations and breakthroughs regarding dew point control.
Any how, the cooled liquid “condensed” by the condenser of your heating - cooling is destined to be recycled back to the evaporator again and again, until the desired indoor climate is reached. This is why, with heating & cooling, such a small conduit can be used to connect the indoor air handler to the outdoor unit. One of the major components of the conduit is a narrow passage way for the liquid refrigerant. The refrigerant makes its way back to your room, gathering more heat, and evaporating back down to the compressor. This type of heat transfer would not be possible without the use of these amazing chemicals.
CHALLENGES IN REFRIGERANT TECHNOLOGY
However, the development and implementation of refrigerants for our climate control needs has not come without pitfalls and disadvantages. Just think of how many refrigerators and room heating and cooling that are running right now, in the present day, to keep our food cool, our homes comfortable,and our offices functioning around the globe, 365 days a year. Although refrigerants can be used and recycled in minute quantities, in comparison to other chemicals that are used in great amount (such as oil, industrial chemicals and cleaners), in order to run today’s modern heating - cooling, our global use certainly adds up to a lot of refrigerant! There are many chemicals, both natural and manufactured, which have refrigerant qualities. However, the best choice to suit our growing need for them would be one that is abundant, economically feasible, and does the least harm to us and our environment.
RESPONSIBLE MANAGMENT OF HEATING & COOLING REFRIGERANTS.
As clean energy continues to develop, it is exciting to imagine a world where the by products of our daily life could actually become valuable fuel. One of the major hurdles the human race faces, with all of our extensive developments which make our lives more comfortable and easy, is what to do with our trash. Although refrigerant technology may some day offer us cleaner alternatives such as air or water, today that is unfortunately not the case. In order to use our heating - cooling responsibly, it is important that we handle them in the most environmentally responsible way. It is the right thing to do and, in many locations, the law.
After July 1, 1992, it is illegal in the United States to intentionally or accidently release refrigerants into the atmosphere. So, not only is it important to maintain your heating & cooling system properly, preventing any leaks of refrigerant, it is also important to dispose of them properly when they are removed. All the more reason not to maintain your system on your own…let an experienced heating and cooling technician remove and transport your refrigerant to a location where it can be recycled. There, contamination can be removed, and the refrigerant can be returned to a condition where it can be used again.
Another thing to note about refrigerants is that it is potentially hazardous to the environment, as well as dangerous, to mix refrigerants together outside of a facility licensed and equipped to do so. So, although you may have learned a ton about refrigerants today, it is neither legal nor wise to develop a new blend for your heating - cooling at home. Many refrigerants must be handled much like hazardous waste, even after recycling, and must be transported in accordance with strict legislation. Although refrigerants may be fascinating, they are not to be toyed with!
A Product Overview of Trane’s ILLUSION Line of Ceiling-Concealed HEATING - COOLING.
Heating - cooling are a great alternative when adding heat and cold to a new home or retrofit project. They do not require duct work, and provide all the comfort of central air. One of the major advantages of heating & cooling is their compact size and discreet operations. The heating - cooling air handler would usually be mounted to a wall. However, there are some heating - cooling on the market today that are mounted within the ceiling of your space. Ceiling mounted ac system can take the discreet, compact nature of heating and cooling and take it to the next level.
Trane has taken the discreet comfort of heating - cooling to the next level with their ceiling-concealed, MDC Series. These units range in capacity from 12,000 BTUto 60,000 BTU. These ILLUSION line heating and cooling are 50 and 60 Hz. The uncased models in the ILLUSION heating - cooling series are a mere 10.0 inches (254 mm)tall, making them ideal for squeezing in for tight ceiling applications. So, provided you have the space for this ultra compact unit, your home, office, or shop will have all of the comforts you would expect from efficient heating - cooling, without even noticing that you have an heating & cooling units!
The ILLUSION line of heating & cooling heat pump system also feature upgraded anti-humidity and condensate technologies. Trane’s super compact ceiling mounted ductless heating and cooling units also implement an innovative, three-layer drain pan to protect against condensate leaks. This drain is places at a 5% slope in order to eliminate contamination-prone standing water. Further protection is provided by dual drain connections, which prevent unwanted condensate overflow in the event that one of the connections becomes blocked.
Trane also makes improvements to operational noise and return air quality. This line also offers quieter operations, with an optional return air plenum on the 12,000 BTU – 36,000 BTU. Direct-drive, low CFM with full cooling capacity also provides whisper quiet operation. The 48,000 BTU and 60,000 BTU ILLUSION models feature the return air plenum as well as a 1 inch aluminum filter.
The Trane ceiling-mounted heating and cooling also offer all of the exceptional efficiency, versatility, and flexible control you would expect from a wall mounted heating - cooling. The low, medium, high, and extra high fan speed options of the motor allow the user great flexibility in airflow and at varied external static pressures. The system can also be configured into heating & cooling (two or more single-zone air handlers all driven by a central compressor/condenser) by using the 12,000 BTU and 18,000BTU models. Trane’s MDC series has been found to provide energy savings, as well as full cooling capacity, when tested in accordance with ARI standards.
Trane provides several options, as well, when choosing your outdoor heating & cooling compressor/condenser. The high efficiency condensing units recommended for use with the Trane MDC series ILLUSION heating and cooling air handlers include condensers of various capacities and sizes. They also offer a choice in how the air discharge is placed; horizontal and vertical air discharge mechanisms offer great flexibility to truly find the unit that is going to work best in your space. Furthermore, the option of a Trane heating & cooling condenser system allows two or three indoor unit air handlers to be matched to a single outdoor unit.
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