Are you comfortable?

Too warm

Too cold

·Since the use of airconditionlng In India Is predominantly for cooling, we have not addressed the subject of comfort healing in this book.

As you read this book are you co~fortable? Are you feeling warm? Are you sweating? Do you feel like opening a window? Is the room dusty? Is it too dry or too chilly? Is the draft from that open window irritating? Well, are you comfortable?

The airconditioning engineer takes each of the factors that causes discomfort, and conditions the air to give comfort.

Comfort requirements change: When all this is done one would expect to be comfortable. However, comfort can be different things to different people. A sherpa would be quite happy in the cold, whereas you or I would prefer more hospitable temperatures. Our own perception of comfort also keeps changing. For instance, our airconditioning needs while


Too humid

Too stuffy

Too much smoke

"Relative Humidity (RH) is the percentage obtained by dividing the actual weight of moisture present in a given volume of air, at a given temperature, by the maximum weight of moisture it can hold at the same temperature at saturation condition. For example if a pound of air at gooF that can hold a maximum of 216 units of moisture, actually has only tOS units of moisture in it, the RH would be 1061216 '" 50%.

watching TV would be entirely different from, say workin out at a gym. Airconditioning engineers realise thi phenomenon, and therefore depend on detailed studies carrie, out by certain societies of engineers for guidance. It is an in dustry practice to use the research findings of the America:

Society of Heating Refrigeration & Airconditioning Engineer (ASHRAE).

Through its research involving studies of the comfort need of thousands of people, ASHRAE has clearly defined 'Comfor under different conditions, and has determined the param eters of a 'comfort zone' within which a majority of peopl would feel comfortable.

Comfort Parameters in India: In most of our cities th ambient conditions are quite uncomfortable. In summer th temperatures are high and because these high temperature can support more moisture, the air is humid. The desire, comfort temperature and Relative Humidity** (RH) for Indi in Summer is 250C and 55% RH.


What is Airconditioning?

Most often airconditioning is about removing heat. N ow that we have defined airconditioning let us get to know the nature of 'Heat'. There are two types of 'Heat': Sensible Heat and Latent Heat.

'Sensible Heat' is any heat that raises the temperature but not the moisture content of the substance. This is our regular and familiar every day heat. Because it raises the temperature it can be detected by the senses, and this in fact, is why it is called Sensible Heat.

'Latent Heat' is the tricky one. When we talk of Latent Heat we mean 'Latent Heat of Vaporisation'. It is that heat required to transform a liquid to vapour. Take water for example. Water can be heated to its boiling point of 100°C. If more heat is added at this point the temperature of the water does not increase. The water continues to boil and becomes steam. So where does all the heat go? Well, the heat goes into changing the water into steam. The latent heat of vaporisation in this instance is the heat required to change water from liquid at 100°C to vapour at the same temperature.

Latent heat plays an important part in Refrigeration and Airconditioning. It explains the principle of refrigeration and also is a component of Heat Load, of which we will learn more along the way. Human beings generate latent heat by way of moisture (perspiration) on their skin. This perspira-


don requires to be dried, therefore a change of its state fron liquid to vapour is required. Fresh air which is added into th. air system, very often brings in plenty of moisture with it Removal of this additional moisture also involves latent hea removal.

A portion of the airconditioning heat load is therefore in th form of latent heat. For example in an office 10% of th. airconditioning heat load could be in the form of latent heat This goes up to around 25% in a restaurant and around 33<) in a movie theatre.

How is cooling made possible?

* A refrigerant is a gas with special characteristics that make it suitable for Refrigeration. It is possible to liquefy it even in ambient temperatures when the pressure is raised. R-22 is the most commonly used refrigerant in airconditioning. Recent studies indicate that Refrigerants when leaked into the atmosphere cause damage to the ozone layer. By international consensus today's refrigerants may be replaced by new ozone friendly refrigerants over the next three orfour decades.

NOW that we have discussed "Heat" let us talk abou the principle at work in airconditioning. The cor, concept to understand is Evaporation. Remembe how cold your skin felt when dabbed by liquid spirit at doctor's clinic before an injection? It felt cold because th spirit evaporated (changed from liquid state to the vapou state) very rapidly. And when it evaporated it needed heat tl change its state. Where did this heat come from? It cam from the liquid itself, and your skin, with which it was n contact.

In the refrigeration cycle this principle is put to work by causin a liquid Refrigerant* to evaporate in a cooling coi (evaporator). This refrigerant is a specially chosen substanc which has the property of evaporation at very low tempera tures. (For example, the commonly used refrigerant, R- 22 would start evaporating at AOoC even under normal atmos pheric pressure). The cooling coil, in which the refrigeran evaporates, is in contact with the air (or water in chilled wate


Superheated vapor


Discharge line

Discharge vapour at high pressure and Ll4---- high temperature,

and containing superheat


Metering I

device : Air-cooled condenser

Low-pressure side I High-pressure side


Fig. 1. The refrigeration cycle

systems) surrounding it, thereby cooling that as well. Once cooled, this air (or water) is then directed to the spaces which require cooling.

Equipment used to produce cooling: Now that we have seen the process by which cooling takes place, and examined the nature of heat and humidity, let us briefly look at the main equipment used to produce the effects we require.

The Compressor: Under atmospheric temperature and pressure the refrigerant is in gaseous form. We learnt that cooling takes place when liquids evaporate to become gas. Therefore we must first transform the refrigerant gas into liquid form. Most gasses can be made into the liquid form by raising its pressure (and cooling it, which is handled by the condenser). The equipment that increases the pressure of the gas by compressing it, is called the Compressor.


• A Metering Device (also called a throttling device) is either a capillary tube or an expansion valve. These devices allow a metered quantity of refrigerant to flow into the Evaporator. Too much refrigerant floods the evaporator and too little starves it of refrigerant. Only the right quantity of refrigerant introduced into the evaporator produces the best cooling.

The Condenser: During compression however the refrigei ant becomes hot, This is because of two reasons:

a) Because of the work done on it (remember how warm th hand pump became when pumping air into your bicycl tyres?) and

b) Because the refrigerant is converted from gas to liqui releasing its latent heat.

This heat has to be removed to enable the gas to condens into a liquid easily. The equipment that removes the heat called the Condenser.

The Evaporator ('Cooling Coil' to most of us): From th condenser we now have the liquid refrigerant ready to go t work. This refrigerant can remove heat when it starts evapc rating. The liquid refrigerant from the condenser is injecte through a metering device* called the capillary or expansio valve into the cooling coil which is a bundle of tubes.

Inside the cooling coil the pressure is low, because of tl:

. metering/throttling device on one side and the compressr suction on the other side. In the low pressure, the liquid n frigerant starts evaporating rapidly. While evaporating it neec sensible heat to transform itself from the liquid to the g: state. So it soaks up heat from the surrounding tubes, an from the air, with which the tubes are in contact. This is wh: causes the cooling .

End of cycle and beginning of the next one: Having dor this, the refrigerant is back into the gaseous form. It is such into the compressor where it will be compressed again for tl next refrigeration cycle.


Airconditioning capacity - the 'Ton'

'One Ton Refrigeration was originally conceived to describe the quantity of heat removed to freeze 1 Ton (1 American ShortTon is 2000 pounds) of water at 32°Fahrenheit to ice at the same temperature in 24 hours.

"The alrcondinonlnq engineer uses the term 'Ton Refrigeration' (TR), popularly referred to as 'Ton', when associated with refrigeration and airconditioning. We will use the term 'Ton' or its abbreviation 'TR' in this book.

Most of us have heard about the Ton* in connection with Heat Load or capacity of airconditioning equipment. The Ton (TR)** in Refrigeration & Airconditioning is a unit indicating a certain Quantity of Heat. This "Quantity of Heat" is different from temperature which only says how hot the substance is but not how much heat it contains.

The two most common units for stating the heat quantity are the British thermal unit (Btu) and the Calorie (cal).

• The Btu is the quantity of heat needed to raise the ternperature of 1 lb. of water by 10 Fahrenheit

• The Calorie is the metric unit of heat quantity. It is the heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 10 Celsius. Since a calorie is a very small measurement, it is practical to use thousand calories as the unit for airconditioning and it is expressed as Kilo Calorie (K Cal) .


Heat Load Estimation


. .

In warm countries the primary aim of airconditioning

to bring the temperature down within the conditione space. We know that temperatures can be brought dow by removing heat, and airconditioning systems are employe to pump out this heat from within the space.

It is important to select the right airconditioning equipmer to do the job. A system that is too large for the requiremer would not only cost more, but also be a waste of capacity. 0 the other hand, a system with low capacity would not be ab to satisfy the comfort needs of the occupant Further, being of low capacity, the system would have to ru for a longer time thereby being prone to abnormal wear an tear.

It stands to reason therefore, that in order to select the equij ment of the right capacity, one must know the quantity I heat that is to be removed from the conditioned space. Th 'quantity of heat' is calculated using certain formulae and th process is referred to as Heat Load Estimation.

The heat within the space comes from various sources boi external and internaL The sun brings in external heat in the space through the walls, roof and glazing. Fresh air (ref page 70) brought into the conditioned space from outsid contributes substantially to the heat load. The internal he comes from electrical equipment, machinery, lighting and fro the occupants themselves.


Table 1. Heat load from equipment

Humans dissipate heat into the space and their perspiration adds to the humidity and therefore to the latent heat. The quantum of heat added by the occupants depends on their level of activity. People at rest will contribute less heat load than those doing more physical activity.

Table 2. Heat gain from occupants

Calculating heat loads has evolved over the years to become very precise. An airconditioning engineer relies on certain checklist-like forms or special computer software to estimate the heat load. Samples of the manual and computerised form are shown on page 81 and 82.


Types of Airconditioning Systems


Over the years, Airconditioning Systems have evolved to suit different needs. The emergence of new technologies, environmental conditions and the availability of space have all played a part in shaping the airconditioning systems of today. Though many types of airconditioning systems are available it is convenient to first classify them broadly as follows:

Basic branches of Airconditioning

The basic branches of airconditioning are Central AC systems and Non .. Central AC products. Central AC Systems can then be divided into Ductable Packaged Airconditioners and Central Plants, while Non-Central AC products can be divided into Window ACs and Split ACs. Further subdivisions appear in subsequent pages.

As illustrated in Figure 2, Airconditioning falls into two broad segments:

Central AC Systems and Non .. Central AC products.

By Non .. Central AC Products we mean those airconditioners that do not use any air ducting to cool the conditioned space. Window mounted 'Room Airconditioners' and the 'NonDucted Split Airconditioners' fall into this category. These products are suitable where air throw is limited to around 4 metres (13 feet) and small spaces are involved. Where large spaces are involved, multiple units are used to distribu te the air.


Ductable Packaged ACs

Central Plants

Window ACs

Split ACs




Further branching continued on page 28

Further branching continued on page 45

Further branching continued on page 12

Fig. 2. Basic branches of Airconditioning

Alternatively in order to distribute the air uniformly using less units, Central AC systems are preferred.

Central AC systems can be further subdivided into Ductable Packaged Airconditioners and Central Plants. The term 'Ductable' implies any airconditioning system suitable for ducting. The design engineer may prefer to minimise ducting by employing Fan Coil Units instead.


N on-Central AC products


As seen in the tree diagram on page 11, the basic branches of airconditioning can be divided into Central Airconditioning systems and Non-Central airconditioning products. Let us first explore the branches under Non-Central AC products:

_ _ _ _ From Figure 2, page 11

Floor mounted

Ceiling mounted

Wall mounted

Exposed type

Concealed type

Semiconcealed (cassette) type

Fig. 3. Types of Non-Central AC products


Window Airconditioners

Room Airconditioners are familiar to most of us. These ubiquitous machines can be seen mounted in windows and therefore are also referred to as iWindow Airconditioners'. In Window Airconditioners, the compressor, condenser, fan, condenser and evaporator are all enclosed in a single cabinet. The unit is to be installed in a wooden frame either in a window or in a hole in the walL The air being blown through the condenser must pass freely through without restriction.

We must therefore make

sure that the condenser is

not obstructed (for example by a neighbour,

ing wall).

Fig. 4. Window-mounted Room Airconditioners

These airconditioners come in cooling capacities from 0.5 to 2 tons in various tonnages, adequate for a room between 5 and 20 square metres in size. Larger spaces may be handled by using multiple units of this type. While Window Airconditioners are economical and most convenient to install, they could be noisy for some applications.

Today, Window ACs offer a buyer various features. A discerning buyer will see through some of the claims as gimmicks and avoid them. However some features are certainly useful and reduce running costs.

The 'Sleep' function is one such example. This is how it works, though the detail may vary from model to model.


Say, you set a desired room temperature of 22°C and switch your AC to 'Sleep' mode when you retire at night. After a few hours (say, 4), since the human metabolic rate drops and you really do not need your room to cool down to 22°C, your AC raises the 'set' temperature by 1°C to 23°C. The increment continues every hour for the next four hours or so. By early morning, the set temperature is a comfortable 26°C, which not only means you feel comfortable and not too cold, but you have saved electricity as well!

The 'Filter-clean reminder' is another extremely useful feature.

Probably the single biggest reason for inefficiency in Window ACs is a dirty filter. Most of us ignore maintenance of the Window AC. Even if covered by maintenance contracts, dust is such a severe problem in most areas that the filter needs cleaning even between preventive maintenance visits by your supplier. Otherwise, the machine struggles to suck in air against a clogged filter resulting in increased power consumption and poor cooling.

A timely reminder by the AC, every so many hours of usage, helps the user to quickly clean the filter and restore the AC to its original efficiency.

Energy efficient compressor options are also certainly good to consider as we shall see in a later section on compressors.

Split Airconditioners

As the name implies, the Split Airconditioner is split into two basic components, the Indoor unit and the Outdoor unit. These two units are connected by refrigeration tubing and



electrical wires that can pass through a hole in the wall barely 10 ems in diameter.

The outdoor unit houses the compressor, condenser and the condenser fan. The indoor unit consists of the evaporator (cooling coil) and the evaporator blower. Since the noisier components are outside the building, the conditioned space is much quieter.

Though Split Airconditioners are more expensive than the Window Mounted type, they are preferred for their low noise levels.

There are also situations where it is not possible to mount a window airconditioner because of obstructions from neighbouring walls or non, availability of a suitable window. In such cases the Split Airconditioner is used because the outdoor unit can be mounted on the roof or on a ledge some distance away from the room to be airconditioned. .

Types of Indoor Units

While the outdoor units of split airconditioners are all similar, indoor units are available in different types to suit the needs of the airconditioned space. The types of indoor units are:


Such units are mounted on the floor, may be on a platform. Air throw is upwards.

Since floor-space is at a premium, and floor-mounted units occupy real-estate, such indoor units are not very widely used these days.


Fig. 5. Floor-mounted Split AC

High Wall Splits:

Such units are fixed on the wall, at a height of about 2.5 metres from the floor. The controls are generally operated either by a corded or cordless remote control unit. Because it is mounted on the wall it is preferred for rooms having less floor space. This model is widely used for domestic and commercial applications.

Fig. 6. High Wall Splits


Ceiling .. mounted:

Ceiling mounted split airconditioners are designed to be sus .. pended from the main ceiling. They are available in three models:

(A) Exposed

(B) Concealed

(C) Semi concealed (cassette)

A. Exposed

These units are fixed directly to the ceiling and are visible. The unit is similar to the Floor mounted type. They are easy to mount and are preferred in commercial areas or offices that do not have a false ceiling.

Fig. 7. Ceiling mounted (Exposed)


These days, ceiling-mounted (exposed) ACs are available in much larger tonnages (5 TR) to serve the cooling needs of larger halls and showrooms. Such units are called Turbo Splits.

Fig. 8. Turbo Split AC.

B. Concealed

These units are also mounted on the ceiling but are designed to be hidden. They are generally concealed by a panelled box or false ceiling. These units are suitable for commercial areas where the interior design requires the airconditioning equipment to be concealed so as not to interfere with the aesthetics. You will find such units working in restaurants and offices.

Fig. 9. Ceiling mounted (Concealed)


C. Cassette

Cassette type indoor units are mounted above the false ceiling in such a way that the outlet grill of the unit is flush with the bottom of the false ceiling. While the other types of indoor units provide for condensate draining by gravity the same is not possible for the cassette type.

To overcome this problem a small motorised pump is employed to drain out the condensate.

Fig. 10. Ceiling mounted (Cassette)

The cassette indoor unit is slim in height and therefore requires very little space above a false ceiling. In fact, the height of the beams that usually run across ceilings is enough for the cassette unit to sit comfortably beside.

The cassette also has the advantage that it can be placed directly above specific areas that require airconditioning. Multiple units can aircondition larger spaces.


Condensate water ... draining is important

Drainage of condensate water

When the air around the evaporator is cooled, the moisture in the air accumulates as water under the evaporator. This happens because the cold air cannot hold as much water vapour as it held when it was warmer. You experience the same phenomenon when a small puddle of water accumulates under a chilled glass of water.

This water referred to as 'condensate' is collected in a pan under the evaporator and must be removed from the conditioned space. Therefore, wherever indoor units are mounted, there must be a gently sloping drain tube to carry this condensate water away from the room. If the water is not drained properly it may collect in the drain pan until it overflows and drips into the room.

Electronic controls

Controls on all non-Central AC products - Window ACs and Mini-splits - are available from manufacturers these days either as conventional knobs-and-switches, or modern stateof-the-art electronic soft-touch buttons.

Electronic controls are further available both as corded control pads as well as cordless remote controls.

ACs with conventional controls are still cheaper in the marketplace than those with electronic controls, but the difference is narrowing. As the popularity of electronic controls increases, the price differential may vanish altogether, and soon it may well be curtains on conventional controls!


The reasons are not far to seek. Electronic controls are:

• Precise and accurate. Hence you can set room temperatures more accurately, contributing to better comfort levels.

• Active contributors to energy, efficiency of the AC. Not only do they ensure switching on/off of the compressor at precise set temperatures, but they also prevent electrical connectivity losses.

• More reliable than conventional knobs and switches.

• Sleeker and more aesthetically appealing.

Even amongst electronic controls, the cordless remote control is gaining in popularity vis-a-vis the corded control pad. What was once perceived as a luxury for the upper classes, is today virtually common-place.

For one, prices of ACs with cordless remote control are not much higher than those with corded controls. Secondly, remote control units can increase the energy, efficiency of an AC simply by overcoming lethargy to move to the unit to raise the 'set' temperature or to switch off the unit!


Applications for

Non ... Central AC products

In summary, non-Central Plant AC products are:

• Window ACs

• Floor-mounted splits

• High wall splits

• Ceiling-mounted (exposed) splits

o Ceiling-mounted (concealed) splits

• Ceiling-mounted (semi-concealed, or Cassette) splits

Different applications need different cooling solutions, and that is why there are such a variety of products to achieve the same goal. Let us look at some typical applications of the above products.

Window ACs

Window ACs can be characterised by the following positive and negative features:


• Inexpensive

• Easy to install

• Each room can operate its AC independently

• Simple, low-cost, service and maintenance

• Running costs are low



• Tonnages are limited (1 to 2 TR typically)

• Noisier (than other types of ACs)

• A window is required, and blocked, by the AC

• No constant fresh air circulation

Keeping the above attributes in view, Window ACs are useful in:

• Homes

• Small office executive cabins

• Small shops.


• Homes and small offices generally use ACs as unitary (independent) products to cool separate rooms

• Tonnage requirement per room is limited typically to 1,2 TR

• Budgets are usually tight

Window ACs, therefore, fit the bill as the most preferred product in these applications. Noise and lack of fresh air do pose problems, but these factors are not perceived as critical in these segments, while choosing an AC.

However, even amongst Window ACs, the buyer may be encouraged these days to buy less noisy, more efficient Window ACs at incremental costs. Certainly, many of the 'optional' features offered on Window ACs these days by manufacturers are worth the initial extra in the long run.


Some of these options are :

• Rotary compressors. Less noisy and more efficient.

• Electronic thermostats. Switch the AC on and off more precisely, saving power and cooling to the right temperature.

• Remote controls. Allow you to control your AC from where you are (in bed or at your work, table) , thus allowing constant control and increased efficiency.

• Sleep function. Saves power and provides better comfort.

Mini .. split ACs

All mini, split ACs (whether floor" wall, or ceiling-mounted) may be characterised by the following positives and negatives:


• Quieter than Window ACs

• Available in larger tonnages (even upto 5 TR in Turbo Splits)

• Do notrequire, or block, a window

• May be used as 'multiple' units to cool 2 or 3 adjacent rooms

• May suit the interiors better

• May be found aesthetically better suited


• Costlier than Window ACs

• Require space outside the room for the outdoor unit


• Some piping and cabling necessary

• Do not provide for fresh air intake

Keeping the above attributes in view, Split ACs are useful in:

• Senior executive cabins

• Professionally positioned small or mid .. sized showrooms

• Up .. market homes

• Small clinics, ATMs, etc.


• Such applications place a premium on 'quiet' cooling

• Windows unlikely to be available for Window ACs

• Fresh air may not be a problem, due to constant opening and closing of doors

• Budgets allow mini, split purchase

• May suit aesthetics/interiors/status better than Window ACs

Professionally run, mid, sized commercial spaces cannot tolerate even the noise of the quietest Window AC interfering with their client's feel of comfort. Besides, most such commercial structures are unlikely to have convenient windows for use of Window ACs.

The constant opening and closing of doors make fresh air addition a happy corollary in small commercial establishments. Hence, that does not pose a problem here. Larger spaces will of course require planned injection of fresh air, which we shall study later when we look at Central AC systems.



Choice of IDU

Among Mini-splits, of course, there are a variety of indoor units available. The choice of indoor unit (IDU) would again depend on application.

Homes that use mini-splits to cool large living rooms or bedrooms may prefer high-wall IDUs or floor-mounted units . because both are:

• Easy to install and maintain.

• Do not require false ceiling work.

Showrooms on the other hand may prefer the semi-concealed (cassette) or concealed (hideaway) ceiling-mounted IDUs, since:

• They are tucked away on the ceiling and do not eat up precious showroom wall space.

• Neither IDU demands too much by way of false ceiling work. Just the space around the unit really needs aesthetic cover.

• Both are slim in height and require just a little space between false and real ceiling.

Larger single-hall showrooms may find the 'turbo split' ceiling-mounted IDU most suitable.

The cassette IDU can also be an ideal alternative in some other situations like:

• In larger spaces where the ceiling is criss-crossed by beams, and ducts are difficult to run

• Where ceiling height is low, since the cassette is slim in height


• When air throw must be directed over specific areas of the room that wall-mounted or floor-mounted units may not reach.

Like wall-mounted units, cassettes are also available in 'multiple' units, so larger areas may be cooled using multicassette systems.

Small offices may use any of the available options depending on decor and availability of space.


Ductable Packaged Airconditioners


Ductable Packaged Airconditioning systems can be broadly classified as:

• Air ... cooled Ductable Splits and

• Floor ... mounted Packaged Airconditioners

From Figure 2, ~ - - - - page 11

Ductable Packaged


Fig. 11. Branches of Ductable Systems

Air ... cooled Ductable Splits

The indoor portion of these units are located above the false ceiling and connected to the ducting. Consequently they do not occupy floor space. Currently in India they are available in 3, 5, 7.5 & 8.3 Ton capacities. Since the indoor unit is located above the false ceiling the space available limits the capacity to 8.3 Tons per unit.



Fig. 13. Floor Standing Packaged unit

Great care must be taken to select the location of the indoor units. Ideally, they must be located in corridors, above lofts, etc., where accessibility is not a problem. If the units are located in the conditioned area, attending to the machines can cause disturbance to the working area. False ceilings in the decorated interior areas may look aesthetically unappealing due to the trap door provided for maintenance.

Floor .. mounted Packaged units

These are shaped like cupboards and are typically placed in a small enclosure adjacent to the conditioned area. Inside this 'cupboard'like enclosure is housed the Compressor, Evaporator and the Evaporator blower. Currently in India these units come in capacities from 5 to 16.5 Ton Machines. Higher capacities (20 Tons and above) can be expected in the corning years.



These floor standing packaged airconditioners come in both the Air-cooled and the Water-cooled models.

• Water-cooled units require water. This water is used to cool the refrigerant in the condenser. Water is pumped through the shell & tube condenser which is a part of the packaged unit. This water is then sent into a 'cooling tower' outside the airconditioned room where the heat is dissipated to the atmosphere. Water~cooled units give higher capacity and are more energy efficient due to lower operating pressure.

• Air-cooled models are especially suitable for places where 'water is scarce or of 'hard' quality, or where there is no space for installing a cooling tower. The heat is removed by way of an air-cooled condenser with a fan blowing through it. This condensing unit is mounted outside the building on a sunshade or a terrace.

Though they require a small plant room, floor-mounted packaged units offer some clear advantages:

• They are service friendly because of easy accessibility.

• They can handle longer ducts by virtue of having more powerful fans.

• Large tonnages can be handled with less units.

• Interiors are clean and undisturbed since the machines are located in a separate plant room.


Electronic controls

In recent times, many manufacturers of Ductable Packaged ACs offer electronic controls on their machines. As we saw in the case of non-Central Plant products, electronic controls offer the advantages of:

• Added energy-efficiency

• More reliability

• Better precision

Some manufacturers have gone further and offer microprocessor control on their Packaged ACs. Microprocessor controls provide hitherto unseen advantages in a Packaged AC.

Packaged ACs with larger capacities operate with multiple compressors. All compressors run only during 'full-load' conditions. At other times, one or more of the compressors switch off. With conventional controllers, the sharing ofload amongst compressors is not uniform, resulting in excessive strain on some compressors. The micro-controller ensures uniform sharing ofload, thus protecting early compressor burnout, and increasing efficiency.


Applications for Ductable Packaged ACs

In summary, Ductable Packaged AC products are:

• Air-cooled Ducted Splits

• Air-cooled Packaged ACs

• Water, cooled Packaged ACs

As we did with the non-Central Plant products, here too, let us study some typical applications of the above products.

Air .. cooled Ducted Splits

Ducted Splits can be characterised by the following positive and negative features:


• Ceiling-mounted, hence no real-estate needed

• Available in lower tonnages (from 3 TR onwards)

• Ducts can carry cool air to every corner/room of the space that needs cooling

• Fresh air can be injected


• Tonnages are limited on the higher side (less than lOTR)

• Service and maintenance inconvenient

• Mounting of the IDU requires careful planning. Iflocated above pantry or wash areas, smells may be inducted into cooled space. If located above executive cabins, service may become a problem

• Removal of condensate water may cause problems


Keeping these attributes in view, ducted splits are best suited for:

• Offices, restaurants, banks, showrooms, clinics, bars, which are

~ Concerned about fresh air induction and removal of smells

~ Medium sized (500 to 1500 square feet)

• Larger spaces (using multiple units) which do not have the plant room space that a Packaged AC will need


Medium sized restaurants and bars may not be able to provide a separate plant room for a Packaged AC. Also, the tonnage required may be within the range available among ceilingmounted Ducted Splits.

At the same time, Ducted Splits can remove the food smell in a restaurant, and smoke and alcohol in the air of a bar, which a simple Mini-split or Window AC cannot.

Mid-sized spaces also need more fresh air than the simple opening and closing of a front door can provide. Hence, the Ducted Split is the best choice for such applications.



Packaged ACs

Packaged ACs, both air, cooled and water, cooled, can be characterised by the following features:


• Larger tonnage range (5 to 16.5 TR)

• Multiple units can aircondition much larger spaces

• Conveniently located in separate plant room

• Can service and maintain without troubling inmates

• Fresh air is best circulated using these machines

• Drainage of condensate water poses no problem


• Requires a separate plant room dedicated for the machine

Keeping these in view, Packaged ACs are best suited for:

• Offices, showrooms, hospitals, clinics, restaurants, shopping malls, banks which are

Large spaces (over 2000 square feet)

Critically concerned about fresh air and constant 'air changes'

Needing ducting to carry cooled air to various rooms and even floors within the cooled space



When it comes to airconditioning shopping malls, mega showrooms, large offices, mini hospitals, hotels - in other words any large spaces other than multi, storied complexes like five star hotels and sprawling structures like airports - Packaged ACs are an ideal solution.

The plant room that Packaged ACs require is not really a major constraint for such applications where space is available. The advantages outweigh this small disadvantage.

Fresh air is a major advantage that Packaged ACs offer. These AC systems can be designed for several 'air changes' per hour, whereby the system literally replaces the entire air within the space with fresh air from outside every so many minutes or hours as the application demands.

Air distribution within the space can also be designed to perfectly suit the interiors when using ducted Packaged AC systems.



Compressors used in Window, Split and Packaged Airconditioners

Fig. 14. Sealed Reciprocating Compressor

As mentioned earlier the outdoor unit encloses the compressor and the condenser. The compressors used in Window, Split and Packaged Airconditioners are typically hermetically sealed compressors. A hermetically sealed compressor is a gas tight steel shell within which is housed an electrical motor and the compressor unit. These compressors may be of the Reciprocating type, the Scroll type or the Rotary type. Let us take a brief look at these compressors and how they work.

• Sealed Reciprocating Compressors: These compressors typically have one or two pistons mounted on the crankshaft extension of the motor. As the motor turns the crank shaft, the piston moves up and down in the cylinder. On the top of the cylinder is mounted a valve plate assembly with a suction and discharge valve. Each time the piston moves down, the suction valve opens and the gas is sucked into the cylinder. When the piston moves up, the gas is pushed against the discharge valve which opens to let the compressed gas out. These compressors are available from very small fractional ton capacities up to 10 ton units.

• Sealed Scroll Compressors: Scroll compressors are a recent innovation. They are inherently more efficient and are capable of producing power savings. Consequently they have become very popular in recent years. Scroll compressors use two interlocked spiral-shaped members which enclose the refrigerant gas in pockets between them. One of the spiral-shaped members is fixed and the other rotates causing the refrigerant to be squeezed into ever decreasing

Fig. 15. Sealed Scroll Compressor

Fig. 16. Sealed. Rotary Compressor


pockets until it reaches the centre from where it is discharged. These compressors are currently available in small capacities of up to 14 tons. The advantages include high reliability, low maintenance, low noise and vibration, and high efficiency.

By virtue of a further advancement in technology, even more energy efficient systems using Tandem Scrolls are now available. These Tandem Scrolls can produce remarkable power savings under part load conditions. Here two Scroll compressors are connected in parallel to a common condenser. Under part load conditions when one of the two compressors trips, the remaining running compressor uses the full double sized condenser translating to very favourable operating conditions resulting in high energy efficiency. Tandem Scroll systems will therefore he 8 desirable choice for all applications where the inside load fluctuates.

• Sealed Rotary Compressors: The Rotary compressor has a turning rotor eccentric to the cylinder housing, and blades which slide to form a continuous seal for the refrigerant gas. At the beginning of the stroke a volume of refrigerant gas enters the chamber. As the stroke progresses the nature of eccentricity squeezes the gas thereby compressing it.


Rotary compressors are quieter compared to Reciprocating compressors. However, owing to technical constraints, Rotary compressors are far more successful in capacities upto 2 Ton. By virtue of being far quieter, they have become more popular in window airconditioners and to some extent in split airconditioners.


Mounting of outdoor units

On wall

On roof

On sunshade

On skirting

All types of split units are connected to a box-like cabinet placed outside the conditioned space. This 'box' is the 'Outdoor Unit' (ODU) through which the heat from the conditioned space is dissipated into the atmosphere. If we look inside the outdoor unit, we will find a Compressor, a Finned .. Coil Condenser and a Fan Motor with a fan blade, used for blowing or sucking air through the finned coil. We would also find some electrical components and cables.

Fig. 17. Outdoor unit

The outdoor unit is typically mounted on an external wall, the roof, sunshade or skirting around the building. The airconditioning engineer is careful about how and where the outdoor unit is mounted. Let us take a brief look at some of the key points;

Mounting, Safety and Serviceability

• When the unit is wall mounted, we must ensure that the wall to which the ODU support framework is grouted, is structurally sound and is capable of supporting the load of the ODU. This applies to any other structure on which the ODU is mounted.


• We should alsomake sure that the ODU support frame work is properly designed, with a catwalk to permit servicing and

• A safety railing must be provided around the structure.



All dimensions in mm

Fig. 18. Typical Outdoor Unit supporting details for Ductable Splits

Outlet should not be blocked

A well-ventilated position

Do not instal inside closed room

Fig. 19. Outdoor Unit installation do's and don'ts


Coastal installations

Special care must be taken while installing ODUs on the sea coast. We must ensure that:

• the condenser fan outlet is not facing the sea wind. This is done to reduce the risk of the fan not running at all or losing speed while working against the wind

• the ODUs are not located near ground level, close to the beach, since sand can clog the condenser coils

• care is taken to give the supporting framework a good quality anti-corrosive paint treatment (epoxy or chlorinated rubber paint) and

• the isolator switch and electrical components are properly protected from moisture.

Installation practices for Air-cooled units

Copper Standards for Piping

We know that the Indoor Unit (IDU) of any Split airconditioner is connected with the Outdoor Unit through refrigerant piping. Most often imported copper pipe is used for this purpose.

• Soft Drawn Copper Tubing is used for single phase Non Ducted split airconditioners

• Hard Drawn, L~Grade Copper Tubing is used for 3 Phase Ducted Splits / Packaged units.



~L Length of Interconnecting Piping

/, ,

. Avoid big height difference between outdoor and indoor units

Avoid too many bends in the piping

We must always ensure that the right distance is maintained between the IDU and ODU. There are limits to the distance between them imposed by the equipment design. As the distance between the units increases the following happens:

• The refrigerant pressure drops, resulting in decreased cooling capacity .

• The lubricating oil does not return to the compressor easily, leading to compressor damage (it is a good idea to provide an oil trap every 3 meters or so on the suction line. This helps to return the lubricant to the compressor along with the return gas) and

• The extra refrigerant required by long tubing can lead to uri-evaporated liquid refrigerant flowing into the compressor thereby damaging it.

Refrigerant pipe insulation

Refrigerant Piping carrying gas from evaporator (cooling coil) to the compress?r is known as Suction line and the piping carrying liquid refrigerant from the condenser to the.evaporator is known as Liquid line. By insulating the pipes together, the suction line will carry only dry gas required for compression and the liquid line will carry only liquid for expansion/ evaporation.

Avoid long interconnecting piping



Some typical Packaged AC and Ducted Split AC layouts

The figures on this page and the next illustrate in a very broad sense how Packaged AC systems (both air-cooled and water, cooled) and Ducted Split ACs are laid out and how their various components are interconnected.

Upper drain

Power supply

SteellWooden platform with ribbe\,bber

pads \

L~aY6 space for servicing



Leave space for servicing

Power 'supply wiring

Fig. 20. Typical layout of Floor mounted Air-cooled Packaged Airconditioner


Fig. 21. Typical layout of Air-cooled Ducted Split Airconditioner

Concrete platform


Power supply

-_. /

Cooling tower

Pump ( Select a pump that can provide the required water volume and lift)

Cooling water pipe

Fig. 22. Typical layout of Water-cooled Floor mounted Packaged Airconditioner



Central Plants

Direct Expansion, Chilled Water and VRF Systems

Central Plants are usually large airconditioning plants assembled at the site. These plants are used for big buildings such as hotels, theatres, hospitals, large office complexes and factories. They are designed for accurate control of all the parameters of comfort. As the name implies the Central Plant is housed in a central location, usually in a plant room. This plant room could be in a basement or adjacent to the build, ing to be airconditioned.

From Figure 2, page 11

Vapour Compression Units

Vapour Absorption Units


cating Units, Air & Water Cooled

Units, Water Cooled

Water Cooled

Direct Fired

Hot Water Fired

Steam Fired Single & 2 Stage

Fig. 23. Types of Central Plants


Though the Central Plant can look quite complex with large compressors, pumps, gauges, miles of piping, ducts and cables, the basic components are the same as smaller plants. Central Plants comprise Compressors, Condensers, AirHandling Units, Water Chillers and Cooling Towers.

As we see in the tree diagram for Central Plants, the main divisions are those that use Direct Expansion (DX) and those that use Chilled Water. Variable Refrigerant Flow systems are a third revolutionary category of Central Plants .

. Direct Expansion (DX) system: In this system, air is cooled and conditioned in the plant room. This treated air is then pumped to various parts of the building. The air returning from the airconditioned area is sucked through a coil-fin arrangement by a fan. Refrigerant inside the coil picks up heat from this air and evaporates. The cold air is then pumped back to the airconditioned space. In DX plants the place where this heat exchange takes place is called an Air Handling Unit (AHU). This type of system typically uses ducting passing through the structure to various parts of the building to be conditioned.

Chilled Water System: Where refrigerant and water interaction takes place the system is called a Chilled Water System. The refrigerant in the shell (or tube, depending on the design) of a shell & tube heat exchanger, evaporates by picking up the heat from the water which is in the other portion of the heat exchanger. This chilled water is then circulated to various water-air heat exchangers called Fan Coil Units/Air Handling Units. The system is also preferred where multiple zones are to be cooled like a hotel or hospital.



Variable Refrigerant Flow systems: These revolutionary airconditioning systems combine the worlds of discrete AC products (like the high-wall mounted and cassette indoor units) with the centralised cooling solutions of Central AC plants. In a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system, the central cooling plant is like the outdoor unit of split AC products, operating as a condensing unit. However, while in discrete systems each indoor unit is driven by one compressor and its associated refrigerant circuit, in a VRF system a single compressor drives multiple indoor units. The refrigerant flows through 'smart' valves to different indoor units. The valves are automatically controlled so as to allow only the necessary volume of refrigerant to flow in through each indoor unit. Rooms with less heat load at a point of time will need less refrigerant flow and hence be a lesser load on the system. This controlled flow ensures that optimum cooling is achieved and therefore makes for a highly energy-efficientsystern.

VRF systems can be as much as 30% more efficient than conventional central plant systems. They are also more

. versatile since indoor units in a VRF system can be 8_ convenient mix of various types - high-wall mounted, cassette, or any other and capacities down to 1 TR in multiples - to suit each room and application. VRF systems are consequently gaining in popularity around the world.

Villas, offices, hotels and classrooms are typical examples for applications that may use VRF systems efficiently.


Compressors used in

Vapour Compression Central Plants

As we saw in the tree diagram for Central Plants, two divisions are those that use the Direct Expansion (DX) system and those that use Chilled Water. Referring again to the diagram you will see that the next level is divided into systems using Vapour Compression Units and those using the Vapour Absorption System.

While the Vapour Absorption System uses a chemical reaction to produce low temperatures, the Vapour Compression System uses a Compressor to compress the refrigerant gas. These compressors are driven by an external motor. While smaller central plants use one or two compressors, large plants depend on a bank of such machines. Generally two compressors are provided in tandem so that even when one is being serviced the other one keeps working. Compressors are truly remarkable machines built for extreme reliability and efficiency.

The types of compressors most widely used in Central Plants are the Reciprocating type, the Screw Type and the Centrifugal type.

• The Reciprocating Compressor: The reciprocating cornpressor is similar to the familiar two stroke motorbike engine. It employs a crankshaft to drive reciprocating pistons which compress the refrigerant. These compressors are the most common type of compressor used in India today and are well suited for applications ranging from less than a Ton to 120 Tons of airconditioning.


A. Reciprocating compressor

Suction valve


Discharge valve

Fig. 25. Reciprocating compressor

Fig. 26. Centrifugal compressor



B. Screw compressor

c. Centrifugal compressor

Fig. 24. Working concept of different compressor types

• The Screw Type Compressor: The objective of any com, pressor is to reduce the volume of the gaseous refrigerant. The screw type compressor does it by using a pair of helical, shaped screws which mesh while rotating and compress the volume of refrigerant gas as it travels from the inlet to the discharge port. Screw compressors are popular in capacities over 100 TR.

• The Centrifugal Compressor: Centrifugal force is that force which pushes you to the right of your car when you are taking a sharp left turn. Or vice versa. The centrifugal compressor employs one or more rapidly spinning disks to force the refrigerant gas from its centre to its extremity thereby increasing its velocity which is converted into increased pressure. These compressors are typically used for applications requiring tonnages ranging from 150 TR to several thousand tons.


Fig. 27. Semi-hermetic compressor

Use of Hermetic & Semi ... Hermetic Compressors in Central Plants

Some central plants also use a combination of two or three hermetic compressors or semi-hermetic compressors. The hermetic compressor as discussed on page 36 isa gas tight steel shell which contains the compressor and the motor driving it. During manufacture the compressor and motor are mounted within the shell and it is then welded shut. Central plants use multiple sealed compressors of 10 Tons capacity. Though the compressors are generally reliable, if repairs are ever required, the shell has to be cut open and re-welded.

The Semi .. hermetic compres .. sor is built like, and has the advantages of, the sealed hermetic compressor, the additional advantage being easy serviceability. Instead of being

sealed into a welded steel shell, a bolted flange is provided on one

side of the shelL By removing the bolts the shell can be opened and the compressor and motor can be accessed for carrying out repairs. Having no crankshaft seal, belts and pulleys, they require very little maintenance. These compressors are available in capacities up to 40 Tons.


Packaged Chillers

M· any large airconditioning applications require Chilled Water and depend on 'Packaged Chillers' to provide the chilled water. Such a chiller is typically mounted on a frame and comprises a compressor with its drive motor, a condenser (air or water cooled) and a shell & tube heat exchanger. Depending on the type of compressor used these chillers can be classified as a Reciprocating Chiller, a Screw Chiller or a Centrifugal Chiller. Where the Absorption system is used, the chillers are called Absorption Chillers.

Fig. 28. Reciprocating Chiller

Fig. 29. Screw-type Chiller



Fig. 30. Centrifugal Chiller

Fig. 31. Absorption Chiller

Fig. 32. Air-cooled Chiller


Let us take a look at how these chillers compare with each other:

Table 3. Comparison of Chiller types

Installation Tips

A few precautions are to be taken when installing Chillers:

Air cooled chillers

• Do not have obstructions on top of chillers (for top dis, charge units)

• Have at least 1 metre clearance on all sides adjacent to the chillers

• Support chiller weights on reinforced building structure and not on slabs

• Ensure all electrical switch gear are in weather proof en, closures

• Provide adequate vibration isolation between chiller and

building by using vibration absorbing pads or springs

Water cooled chillers

• Have at least 1 to 1.5 metres clearance between units

• Leave space equal to condenser length for tube cleaning



Vapour Absorption Cycle

While the majority of airconditioning systems ernploy the vapour compression cycle, there is an other cooling cycle known as Absorption Refrigeration. This system is typically used for certain large applications where some form of heat source is available economically.



Fig. 33. Absorption Refrigeration concept

As you will see in the diagram alongside, the system consists of an Evaporator and an Absorber. Inside the absorber is a salt solution, usually lithium bromide which, like common salt, has a strong affinity to water. In the low pressure evaporator chamber is water and a mist of water vapour. The salt solution in the absorber chamber absorbs the water vapour from

Fig. 34. The complete Absorption Refrigeration cycle

charging of Refrigerant Vapor I
ium Bromide I
lulion -+
at in ~ - \c1
earn or we'
Water) i
--+ t i
-- -+
[~ t
U Heal '------, .
liquid Refrigerant Exchanger
Returned to Evaporator r--
-- --- Water
Refrigerant Condenser
urn I --+ I
ate, i Spray to
55' r Atomise Solution
--+ i ~ ~ ~ ~
~ I --

ate, Water U) ell Uthlum Cooling Water 850
t4S0 {!. {!. Bromide
(\,_ -D 6 Pumps

Evaporator Re Lith So

He (SI Hot

Ret W In


W ou



the low pressure evaporator chamber. This maintains the low pressure in the evaporating chamber and causes the water temperature to drop.

The solution formed by the mixed water and lithium bromide has to be heated so that the salt solution can be re-generated. This is done by pumping the solution to a higher pressure section of the system, where heat energy is used to separate the refrigerant (water) from the absorbent salt (lithium bromide). The salt then releases water vapour which is at high temperature having just been heated. The warm vapour is then condensed in a condenser into water, using cool water from the cooling tower, and returned to the evaporator to begin the cycle again.

Machines having steam or hot water as the heat energy source are referred to as 'steam fired' or 'hot water fired' machines. Those which have their own flame source are called 'direct fired machines'.


Air & Water-cooled Systems


Introducing the Condenser

NOW that we have been introduced to the compressor, let us discuss the Condenser. If we pause to think about it, we will notice that the airconditioning process is a series of heat transfers. The heat from the conditioned space is transferred via the refrigerant, the condenser and the cooling tower to the outside air.

In the air cooled system, the heat from the conditioned area is transferred to the cold refrigerant warming it up. This warm refrigerant then sheds the heat to the air outside in the Air Cooled Condenser.


Airconditioned r-+ Evaporator ... Compressor ~ Air cooled, _. Outside air
space ,. Finned
Coil Condenser Fig. 35. Transfer of Heat in Air-cooled Condensers

In the water cooled system, the heat from the conditioned area is transferred to the cold refrigerant warming it up. This warm refrigerant transfers the heat to water in the Water Cooled Condenser thereby warming the water. This warm water in turn transfers the heat to the atmosphere through the cooling tower.


Airconditioned ~ Evaporator ~ Compressor ~ Water cooled, ---+ Water -4 Outside air
space Shell & Tube through
Condenser Cooling
Tower Fig. 36. Transfer of Heat in Water-cooled Condensers

How the Condenser is cooled

There are two ways in which the condenser is cooled:

1. By blowing or sucking air through it in an Air cooled condenser and

Air-cooled Condenser

2. By pumping water through it in a Water Cooled Condenser.

Fig. 37. Air-cooled Condenser operation

How the Air Cooled Condenser is cooled:

An air cooled condenser consists of a set of finned copper tubes and a fan to draw or blow the air through this finned coil arrangement. The hot gas flows through the condenser inside the tubes while air is blown or sucked through the finned tube arrangement by a fan. The air which is normally at a temperature 10°C to 12°C lower than the gas, picks up the heat from the gas making it condense inside the tube. Air cooled con-


Fig. 38. Air-cooled Condenser - a closer 'artist's' view



Fig. 39. Water-cooled Condenser

densers are very common for window, split and packaged airconditioners and are now be- , coming popular for central plants also.

However, because of their superior efficiency, water-cooled plants are preferred, where adequate water is available.

How the Water Cooled condenser is cooled:

In a water cooled condenser, water is pumped through the tubes of a shell & tube condenser using a water pump and the refrigerant is passed through the shell. This condenser is also called 'Heat Exchanger' because this is where the refrigerant and the water exchange heat with each other. On giving away some of its heat to the water, the refrigerant condenses in the shell. The water, which gains some heat in the heat exchanger, travels to the 'cooling tower' where part of the water evaporates in contact with air, cooling the re-

. maining water which is once again circulated through the heat exchanger.

Fig. 40. Shell & Tube Condenser I

Cooling Towers


We learnt that in the water cooled airconditioning system the heat from the room is transferred to the evaporator, from where it is transferred to the condenser, and from the condenser to the cooling water, which finally transfers the heat into the atmosphere.

In the Cooling tower the water is sprayed through nozzles into the air. The water becomes small droplets and evaporates thereby losing heat and becoming cool. This cool water falls into a sump tank at the bottom of the cooling tower from where it is pumped into the shell & tube condenser and the cycle repeats again. The typical types of Cooling Towers are:

• Atmospheric or Natural Draft towers. In these towers (see fig.39) the water is sprayed into the tower and the droplets of water cools in the natural air currents passing through the cooling tower.

• Forced Draft towers. These towers use a motor and fan to

pull or push a constant volume of air through the tower.

The water is sprayed through nozzles into the draft therebyevaporating rapidly and cooling the rest of the

Fig. 41. Forced Draft Cooling Tower

Fan Motor


Sprinkler Pipe

FRP Basin



The quality of water is very important for the performance of the airconditioning system. Hard water causes scaling, thereby decreasing the efficiency of heat transfer in the condenser. Some water is required to make up for the water which evaporates and also the portion of the water that is blown away by the wind. This is referred to as 'Make-Up" water'. Water cooled condensers and cooling towers are normally used where water is available in plenty.

Air Handling Units

The Air Handling Unit (AHU) is a centrifugal type fan that pumps air. The fan is usually located in the Air Handler/Water Coil Cabinet. Its purpose is to create a pressure differential so that the air from the conditioned space is drawn to the unit. The air is passed through a filter first to remove dust particles and then over the cooling coils or chilled water tubes where the heat is rejected. This cooled and dehumidified air is then drawn into the suction side of the fan and discharged back into the conditioned space. A damper arrangement in the suction side of the AHU is kept a little open to draw in fresh air.

'The normal make-up water requirement for airconditioning applications is 15 litresihr/ton refrigeration.


Fig. 42. Air Handling Unit

The typical AHU (above) is a sheet steel cabinet which houses the Cooling Coil and the blower fan. The motor is mounted on the outside of the cabinet and drives the blower by a pulleybelt arrangement. Depending on their application, AHUs vary in size from small/medium sized packaged units to large walkin models.

There are two types of AHUs, the 'single skin' and the 'double skin' type.

• The, 'single skin' AHUs have a single layer cabinet and are usually placed inside an AHU room. It is advisable to insulate the room so that the air in the AHU does not pick up heat from the outside warm air. Keeping the AHU in an insulated room also reduces the sound levels in the conditioned space.




• The 'double skin' type has an inner cabinet and an outer cabinet. A layer of thermal insulation is sandwiched between the two cabinets. Though these AHUs are more expensive than the single skin type they have the following advantages:

Because of the insulation, the cool air inside does not gain heat from the surrounding air thereby improving the efficiency of the plant.

They are more silent because the thermal insulation also acts like an acoustic insulation.

They do not 'sweat' on the outside and can be kept in the non-airconditioned space thereby saving on the cost of a separate plant/ AHU room.

Fan Coil Units


The Fan Coil Unit (FCU) is a sheet metal cabinet that houses a Chilled Water Coil constructed out of copper tubes and aluminium fins, a Blower with motor and an Air Filter. Fan Coil Units are generally used where multiple areas (example, hotel rooms) are to be cooled independently, using a central airconditioning plant.

The water is chilled centrally and pumped to various parts of the building through insulated pipes. The chilled water enters the FCU, where heat exchange takes place between the room air and the chilled water in the coil. Air is passed over the coils using a three speed blower motor, mounted in the FCU. The air speed can be controlled by choosing the blower motor speed, from a selector switch, in the conditioned space.

Fig. 43. A small Fan Coil Unit

"Thermostats are temperature sensing and controlling devices. They consist of a gas filled capillary tube and bellow arrangement. When the sensor at the end of the capillary tube is subjected to low temperatures the gas in the bellow contracts thereby breaking an electrical contact, and vice versa when the sensor is warmed.

""A solenoid valve is an electrically operated valve. It consists of an electromagnetic coil which moves a plunger opening or closing the valve when activated.

A thermostat* is also mounted in the airconditioned space. The thermostat controls a solenoid valve * * that closes when the desired temperature is reached, thereby shutting off the flow of chilled water into the FCU water coil. Once the temperature in the room rises, the thermostat activates the solenoid valve which opens allowing the chilled water to flow into the coil again.

Now world, class FCUs are manufactured right here in India, which are quiet, reliable and suitable for high, end applications like five star hotels.


Air Distribution Systems


While there is a whole lot of technology and engineering that goes behind cooling air, airconditioning systems are not complete without proper distribution of that cooled air to the spaces that require the airconditioning.

Hence, air distribution systems are an equally important component of efficient airconditioning.

Air distribution design essentially consists of :

• ducting that routes cooled air across the building to the spaces requiring airconditioning,

• grilles and diffusers that disperse the cooled air in planned manner into the airconditioned room,

• return air ducts that recycle the cooled air, and

• fresh air intake dampers that add fresh air as required.


Ducts are usually galvanised sheet steel, aluminium sheets or stainless steel sheets, shaped into rectangular boxes or round tubes. They are used to distribute the cool air from the Air Handling Unit (AHU), uniformly throughout the building to be airconditioned. They start at the AHU, or the packaged airconditioner, and travel to the spaces to be conditioned carrying the cool air.


Fig. 44. A typical duct layout

There is also a growing trend to use round flexible hose ducting as branch connectors from the main duct to the diffuser outlets.

Ducting and efficiency

Indifferently fabricated or erected ducting can be a major reason for drop in efficiency of an airconditioning system. Such ducting may result in leakage of cooled air at joints, unequal distribution of the cooled air and loss in velocity at improperly designed bends. All these can contribute towards significantly increasing power bills as a result of inefficiencies in air distribution.

Ducting is therefore a vert important area of airconditioning design.


Diffusers and Grilles

The conditioned supply air arrives through the ducts at the supply air diffusers and enters the conditioned space. Most diffusers are attached to the false ceiling and a variety of diffusers are available for different air spreading needs. For well distributed cooling, an air flow pattern needs to be created in the conditioned space. The design engineer takes care to separate the supply air diffusers and the return air grilles to prevent short circuiting of the air. Return air usually flows


Linear Grilles

Adjustable Grilles

Fig. 45. Some standard Grilles and Diffusers


Linear Diffusers

Square rectangular Diffusers

Slot Diffusers

Round Diffusers

Opposed Blade Damper (as seen from above)

Diffuser with plenum box


into the plenum or return-air box through grilles placed in the false ceiling.

Return air

Since a substantial amount of energy goes into cooling the air in the first place it is a practice to recycle the air. The air is therefore brought back to the AHU, or the packaged airconditioner, using return air ducts. It is common to route the return air through the gap between the false ceiling and the main ceiling, a space referred to as a 'plenum'. It is desirable wherever possible to pass the supply air duct through the return air plenum, because this works like a heat exchanger, thereby improving the efficiency of the plant. Sometimes a separate system of return air ducts/boxing is employed to carry the return air instead of using the plenum. Where the supply air ducts do not pass through the plenum, they are usually insulated so that cool air does not pick up heat from the warmer surroundings.

Supply air duct

I ~


Fresh Air Intake

A certain volume of fresh, outside air is sucked into the building near the AHU. This air is usually drawn in through a 'damper' which is adjusted to allow the specified volume of air into the building. This keeps the air pressure within the building a little higher than the outside air pressure. This prevents dusty, moist or any undesirable external air from infiltrating into the building.

Co-ordination between architect and engineer

The vertical and horizontal distribution of air supply systems is a major design issue requiring co' ordination between the architect and the airconditioning engineer. It would be ad, vis able to select the basic system during the early phase of building design. This is because ducting requires to take the optimum route in the space between the false ceiling and the main ceiling avoiding obstructions such as beams, columns and partition walls.

*These ducts are now manufactured in India under the brand name ROLASTAR.



Fresh Air


Freshening the air: One of the most important factors in delivering comfort is the freshness of the conditioned air. If the same air was circulated over and over again it would become 'stale' and make the occupants very uncomfortable. Ideally an airconditioning system would induce plenty of fresh air into the air system. However this outside air brings with it moisture and heat from outside. This causes the heat load on the airconditioning system to go up thereby requiring a larger and consequently more expensive plant.

Substantial research has been done by ASHRAE to determine the optimum requirement of fresh air for different applications and the airconditioning engineer designs the plant accordingly. Usually the fresh air requirements are stipulated as cubic feet per minute (cfm) per person or minimum air changes per hour. A guide on recommended Fresh Air requirements is given below:

Table 4. Typical Fresh Air Requirements


In Hospitals it is necessary, not only to bring in plenty of fresh air, but to also move the existing air more rapidly through the conditioned space to reduce the risk of infection. The following table indicates the number of fresh air changes required and the rate in which the entire air in the system is to be circulated.

Table 5. Fresh Air requirements & Circulation Rates for health care establishments


Table 6. Changes in specified Fresh Air requirements

Changes in Fresh Air requirement over the years

It is interesting to see how the specified fresh air requirements changed over the years. In 1824 the recommendation was 4 cubic feet per minute (cfm) per person. In 1893 the Amencan Society of Heating Refrigeration and Airconditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) changed the specification to 30 cfm. In 1936 it went down to 10 cfm which was considered the threshold level for detecting human body odours. In the early seventies with the energy crisis forcing the world into fuel economy the figure went way down to 5 cfm. Then in the Eighties the growing concern about indoor air quality prompted the Society to raise the quantity of fresh air to 15 cfm.


Filtration and Filters

Table 7. Air-borne particle sizes

In order to clean the air it is passed through filters that remove the airborne dust particles and ensure delivery of clean air to the conditioned spaces. We have seen how important the quality of air is in the airconditioning system and filters play an important part in delivering good air quality. The filters keep the cooling coils from clogging thereby maintaining the efficiency of heat transfer. Without a good air filtration system the diffusers in the rooms 'streak' and fluorescent lamps gather a film of dust that cuts illumination. Dust choked filters interfere with the performance of the air system. It is therefore very important to clean or replace the filters periodically.

Pleated Panel type Filter

The typical filter in use is the Pleated Panel type also known as the Synthetic Media Extended Surface type filter. The pleated panel type filter consists of a porous fabric like material folded like an accordion (to increase the surface area) and fitted into a frame.

As a point of interest the table alongside will give you an idea of the relative sizes of airborne particles.


Noise & Noise control in Airconditioning


Sound is a result of vibration of air. When sound is unpleasant it is referred to as 'Noise'. In an airconditioning system sound emanates from the machinery such as fans, fan motors, compressors, pumps, air flow through ducts and diffusers, pipes & tubes and cooling tower fans.

The solutions are a) to reduce the original source of the sound by using well designed equipment; b) enclose the source in acoustically insulated space; and c) to absorb the sound using sound absorbing material.

• It is a practice to mount vibration producing machinery on anti-vibration mounts such as cork, rubber, springs and 'cushioned feet'. Plant rooms are acoustically insulated to prevent the machinery sound from permeating into the airconditioned space.

• Ducts are fitted with sound attenuators which work somewhat like the mufflers in the exhaust pipe of a car. In addition acoustic insulation is used on some portions of the duct, near the AHU discharge, where it is most prone to making noise.

• Pipes are insulated from the walls it passes through so that the vibrations are not passed into the structure.

• Cooling towers using Axial Fans are a little more noisy than those using Centrifugal fans. In the induced draft cool- I ing tower the sound is higher at the fan discharge side of j the tower. It is desirable to arrange the fan discharge side I in such a way that windows do not overlook it.

Best layout because the Plant Room is surrounded on four sides by utility areas, therefore less sound is transmitted to human occupied areas.


• Inside the conditioned space, some noise can make an entry through the diffusers. Carpets and curtains inside the space help to dampen sound.

• Locating the plant room properly will help reduce noise levels within the conditioned space. We give below some examples of poor to best positioning of the plant room.

Poor layout








Fair layout




Better layout


;:"CD as c: 00 .;:~ -0. o CD CD_





Fig. 48. Suggested positioning of Plant Room



Saving Energy on Airconditioning

*EER is the ratio arrived at by dividing the Cooling Capacity of the Airconditioner, expressed in Btu/Hr, by the electrical power input expressed in Watts. The formula is:

BtulHr Watts

EER, for vapour compression systems, is normally in the range of 8 to 16. The higher the EER number, the better the efficiency.

In any commercial airconditioned building, the airconditioning system generally consumes the maxi. mum power. Taking a little care to minimise energy consumption will result in substantial savings in the long run. Energy savings can be made by:

• adopting an energy-efficient building design

• using energy-efficient airconditioning systems and

• regular maintenance and effective utility management.

Building design

Orientation of the building plays a key role in the structure's airconditioning requirement. Excessive use of glass especially. on the western side adds high airconditioning heat loads. Using materials such as foam concrete, double wall glazing, hollow concrete blocks, or foam insulated roofing will help improve the insulation of the building and save energy.

Energy Efficient Airconditioning Equipment

It is advisable to go in for equipment with the best Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) *. Though initial capital may be higher the user will save energy continuously thereby saving expenses in the long run. Window ACs using Rotary compressors are more eriergv-efficient than those with Reciprocating compressors. Packaged airconditioners/Ducted Splits are available with Reciprocating Compressors as well as Scroll Compressors. Scroll Compressors are capable of higher EER and hence save on energy. For higher tonnages Screw and Centrifugal equipment are most preferred because of low op-


erating costs. Where heat source such as steam or hot water is available as a by product or economically, Absorption type units are a good energy saving choice.

Effective maintenance and utility management

Regular maintenance will ensure efficient performance. Cleaning of filters, de-scaling of the heat exchangers, lubricating friction points, such as fans, motors and shafts, should be done regularly. Prudent utility management will save substantial

. energy on the airconditioning. Simple measures like isolating areas of the building not in use, setting indoor temperatures at the highest point acceptable to the largest segment of occupants, and shutting off the system when not in use will save energy.

Blue Star has also produced a useful book titled The Blue Star Guide to Power Savings in Airconditioning. Do ask for your own free copy, if you do not have one already. That book deals with this subject in more detail.


Designing 'solutions'


In summary, it must be said that airconditioning designj, a lot about designing 'solutions' to specific situations rather than trying to fit available products to situations.

In other words, what the user of airconditioning needs is a 'customised cooling- solution', not just boxes that are connected together to make a cooling machine.

Customised solutions

A whole range of airconditioning equipment is available for use, but what would suit a particular application and what would not is a decision that only experienced airconditioning designers can take effectively.

When you embark on designing air conditioning design therefore, make sure you take the services of experienced professionals who have spent years in the field. This experience helps in significantly improving design, offering long-term, efficient, reliable solutions that are customised to each cooling need.

In commercial applications - showrooms, offices, banks, clinics and restaurants, or hotels, airports, hospitals and multiplexes - customised cooling solutions actually help 'grow' the user's business. It always helps if the AC provider understands the dynamics of each business and the different demands each makes on its airconditioning system. Such an understanding helps make the design more efficient, cost-effective and inexpensive in the long run, saving the user substantially on his power and maintenance bills.


Energy ... efficient equipment and design

Efficient design also means choice of state-of-the-art energy, efficient machines to ensure that the user benefits from improvements in technology.

However, choosing the right equipment alone does not guarantee efficiency. It is also essential to understand the dynamics of these machines and design systems around these components, so that their inherent efficiencies are enhanced rather than suppressed by faulty design. Only then will the use of costlier high, efficiency machines be justified by efficient day-to-day operation.

Proper air distribution

Finally, it would make sense to spend some time and energy on proper air distribution design and fabrication.

Ordinary site-manufactured ducts can throwaway all the advantages of efficient cooling machines through leaks and other defects. Computer, designed and machine-made ducts are available today that faithfully transfer cooled air without losses, thus enhancing the efficiency of the overall airconditioning system. Similarly, machine-made diffusers and grilles enhance the effectiveness of air, flow and overall efficiency.



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Appendix 2. A typical Btu Estimate Sheet




CU~OMKR:: ~~Y~~~~,~/-~~=-~--------

ADDREI8: ~~-------------------

aTlMATl:D By:-----~T¥ii!·i=_"C"r_------------

DATE. ~fb?1OK_·~o~.~~~b~ _

.Iw-.tIL 'l. I----+.:;::..+.:::::::.j....;;=..}-,--+--h~

~ 0UftI~


.... ID.


NO. OF ROWS .OEE .. __

BY .. " .... ACTOR CBFl CONTACT !'"ACTOR (CP'l __





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(F) 1t;;~1

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LIGHTS I • , '"/. 2..400 WATTS x 3.41 BTU/HR


I '2.. ~~ II. ,mIGDAlIO. fOll_ I


12.000 BTU/HR/TON

MISCELlANEOUS '2.....r:LA. ~ 3410




116 ~?



3. I""'" SPACE UlENT !lUI _


VENTIlATION >'.::>.5.CFM x ~R/:: )( "~F x .87





I 1 1"1



II 190


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140 '5'11 .


Appendix 3. A typical Estimate Sheet (computerised)

IIIIt lold lltieat •• lS-r'''_1 MY 1lIIY
CHtA.t. • PEllTAFlIUR SOFl1I Sp.CI Uttd 'IJI" IIFFrCl City _. .-
Entin_r• :&6 Floor Itvll. I ..It.f ,..i.t. I 12-03-1996
~uiry _..,.. • PEllTAf ....,. .. Dllt .f "UIIH.I 12-02-1'"
A_ ltngtlllFt) lilithlFtJ IItI,ht 1Ft) hlSft) • 1_ICIlI ---- Total R_hl utiltdl .. Ji •
0.00 .... 11." ml.oo 20:101.40 1 1 13.04 14.00
II II lUI IP SIll .. fllMl"
f F I F .ltl1.l
r.., ri ... - U - •• , ,It. H - AlPI ...,> 103.00 12.00 41.00 75.00 132.00 44.60
lllIuaillifilll Cf •• - £ISH I 11.01 • T.., rh.1 1IaI .. > 83.00 •• 00 11.00 79.00 152.00 42.50
OItIll ttl. -ISH I (1.01 ....... CFII) ._ > 15.00 63.96 55.00 57.76 71.25 29.15
S."ly lir Cfl.- RIll I 11.08 .... irH td) liff > 28.00 60.75 15.45 -.-- .. ~-- ~....._.-.-= - .• =-- --- ----------------

It .. ArH I aty Sun F,etar . S-, 1Iaa_
SIJ.ft I ft 11 Itallfaar Btu/Hou, OIt..,. lir *tdl.
ISolir hut lhrautll glll_' F,nll Ilr Cf. Fmll lir c .....
E.IIt > 39.00 12.00 0.56 262.08 114.72 311.11 1.00
S.hlt . > 57.00 15.00 0.56 2713.20 4596.41
I.lelt > 148.00 131.00 0.56 11437.44 2154.81 IESIFI 'MP""1111 ri .. " ..... CFII".."ly al) IBy,...,

o.u 56.00 16.72 8%'6.73 8216.73 0."

0.'2 56.00 16.72 6701.28 8%".73 m5.46

(Soli, Mit • T,_i •• ill ,iii lllrlll9' HU •• rao"

[ .. t > 115.58 31.00 0.36 1289.87

lIHt > 0.00 25.00 0.36 0.00

South lint) 167.20 27.00 0.36 1625.11

IIorU h.t > 610.74 19.00 G.lO 4177.46

Roof SufI ) 1738.00 45.00 0.12 '315.20

457.70 0.00 421.34 -219.87 5214.00

,T""lIlIliGII ,.ift - Elc"t .. n •• raot,

&I £lposH > 244.00 21.00 1.10




lIIi,U '''VI FIC > Htlpt .. 1. flf )

0.00 0.00

(IAltr.II ",.t "ill '",II ) ~

[qai ..... t > 26.90

Li,ht. } 2173

... t.t.1 )

S.FietGr Z ) ._ ltAlibll Ht.t>

SA Duct 1 > 2.50

SA Fill ,ilin> 5.00

Ffllh lir) 341.81

Rllleit > 0.00

[ffictivi r __ d.l, .... t)

1.00 I.U

14250.00 14250.00
68460.50 61460.50
9235.25 f235.25
130351.39 106892.20
6m.57 5344.61
1l68l8.9S 112236.11
3421.72 2805.92
684l.4S 5611.84
1240.35 354.39
0.00 0.00
148374.47 121001.96
12SO.00 1250.00
l2SO.oo 82S0.00
412.50 412.50
8662.50 "'2.~
1694.40 2252.23
1f356.fO '''14.73
"lm.3I lJ1923." 5.00

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a.tllDor Air IIHt

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RA &lill >

RA FII "in» &rMd totill> r_ >

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Appendix 4. Cooling Capacities Converter
1000's 1000's 1000's 1000's
Kcal/hr BTUlhr Kcal/hr BTUlhr
1.51 6.0 287.2 1140.0
2.27 9.0 302.3 1200.0
3.02 12.0 317.4 1260.0
6.04 24.0 332.5 1320.0
9.06 36.0 347.6 1380.0
12.09 48.0 362.8 1440.0
15.12 60.0 377.9 1500.0
22.67 90.0 392.9 1560.0
30.23 120.0 408.1 1620.0
45.30 180.0 423.2 1680.0
60.50 240.0 438.3 1740.0
75.60 300.0 453.4 1800.0
90.70 390.0 468.6 1860.0
105.80 420.0 483.7 1920.0
120.90 480.0 498.8 1980.0
136.00 540.0 513.9 2040.0
151.20 600.0 529.0 2100.0
166.30 660.0 544.1 2160.0
181.40 720.0 559.2 2220.0
196.50 780.0 574.4 2280.0
211.60 840.0 589.4 2340.0
226.70 900.0 604.6 2400.0
241.80 960.0 906.9 3900.0
256.90 1020.0 1209.2 4800.0
272.10 1080.0 1511.4 6000.0
Appendix 5. Useful Conversion Fact~rs

mm 0.0393 in in 25.4 mm m2/s 2119.5 cfm cfm 0.00047 m3/s
m 3.2807 ft ft 0.3048 m m3 35.315 cu ft cu ft 0.02832 m3
kg 2.2046 Ib Ib 0.4536 kg m3/h 4.403 GPM USGPM 0.2268 m3/h
Kcal/h 3.968 BTU/hr BTU/hr 0.2519 Kcalth m3/s 15873 GPM USGPM 0.000063 m3/s
BTUthr 0.2931 Watts lIs 15.87 GPM lIs
Watts 3.412 BTUthr USGPM 0.063
Ref ton 3022.8 Kcal/h kG/cm2 14.223 psi
Kcal/h 0.00033 Ref ton Ref ton 3.517 psi 0.0703 kG/cm2
kW kPa 0.145 psi
KW 0.284 Ref ton fps 0.3048 m/s kW 1.359 HP metric psi 6.894 kPa
m/s 3.2807 fps fpm 0.00508 m/s kW 1.341 HPUK HP metric 0.7354 kW
m/s 196.8 fpm m3/h 0.5886 cfm cfm 1.6986 m3th HP UK 0.7457 kW BLUE STAR

Appendix 6. Temperature Converter

-37.22 -31.0 -6.67 +167.0
-36.67 -29.2 -6.11 +168.8
-36.11 -27.4 -5.56 +71.6 +170.6
-d5.56 -25.6 -5.00 +73.4 + 172.4
-35.00 -23.8 -4.44 +75.2 +174.2
-34.44 -22.0 -3.89 +77.0 +26.67 +176.0
-33.89 -20.2 -3.33 +78.8 +27.22 +177.8
-33.33 -18.4 -2.78 +80.6 +27.78 +179.6
-32.78 -16.6 -2.22 +82.4 +28.33 +181.4
-32.22 -14.8 -1.67 +84.4 +28.89 +183.2
-31.67 -13.0 -1.11 +86.0 +29.44 +185.0
-31.11 -11.2 -0.56 +87.8 +30.00 +186.8
-30.56 -9.4 -0.00 +89.6 +30.56 +188.6
-30.00 -7.6 +0.56 +91.4 +31.11 +19Q.4
-29.44 -5.8 +1.11 +93.2 +31.67 +192.2
-28.89 -4.0 +1.67 +95.0 +32.22 +194.0
-28.33 -2.2 +2.22 +96.8 +32.78 +195.8
-27.78 -0.4 +2.78 +98.6 +33.33 +197.6
-27.22 -1.4 +3.33 + 10Q.4 +33.89 + 199.4
-26.67 -3.2 +3.89 + 102.2 +34.44 +201.2
-26.11 -5.0 +4.44 + 104.0 +35.00 +203.0
-25.56 -6.8 +5.00 +105.8 +35.56 +204.8
-25.00 -8.6 +5.56 +107.6 +36.11 ' +206.6
-24.44 +10.4 +6.11 + 109.4 +36.67 +208.4
-23.89 +12.2 +6.67 +111.2 +37.22 +210.2
-23.33 +14.0 +7.22 . +113.0 +37.78 +212.0
-22.78 +15.8 +7.78 +114.8 +38.33 +213.8
-22.22 +17.6 +8.33 +116.6 +38.89 +215.6
-21.67 +19.4 +8.89 +118.4 +39.44 +217.4
-21.11 +21.2 +9.44 +120.2 +40.00 +219.2
-20.56 +23.0 +10.00 +122.0 +40.56 +221.0
-20.00 +24.8 +10.56 +123.8 +41.11 +222.8
-19.44 +26.6 +11.11 +125.6 +41.67 +224.6
-18.89 +28.4 +11.67 + 127.4 +42.22 +226.4
-18.33 +30.2 +12.22 +129.2 +42.78 +228.2
-17.78 +32.0 +230.0
-17.22 +33.8 +231.8
-16.67 +35.6 +233.8
-16.11 +37.4 +235.4
-15.58 +39.2 +237.2
-15.00 +41.0 +239.0
-14.44 +42.8 +240.8
-13.89 +44.6 +242.6
-13.33 -46.4 +244.4
-12.78 -48.2 +246.2
-12.22 -50.0 +248.0
-11.67 -51.8 +249.8
-11.11 -53.6 +251.6
-10.56 -55.4 +253.4
-10.00 -57.2 +255.2
°C = 5/9 (OF-32); OF = 9/5OC + 32

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