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Airconditioning
FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

"Airconditioningisaprocessofcontrollingthe
temperatureofairbeingsuppliedtoaparticularspace
throughusingtheprocessofVentillation,Fan,cooler
andhumidification."Thedeviceorapparatususedto
bringoutthispurposeistermedasAirConditioner.Air
conditioning(oftenreferredtoasA/C,ACoraircon)is
theprocessofalteringthepropertiesofair(primarily
temperatureandhumidity)tomorecomfortable
conditions,typicallywiththeaimofdistributingthe
conditionedairtoanoccupiedspacetoimprovethermal
comfortandindoorairquality.
Airconditioningunitsoutsideabuilding

Contents
1Overview
2History
2.1Developmentofmechanicalcooling
2.2Electromechanicalcooling
2.3Refrigerantdevelopment
3Operatingprinciples
3.1Refrigerationcycle
3.1.1Heatpump
3.2Evaporativecooling

Windowunitinsidearoom

3.3Freecooling
4Humiditycontrol
4.1Dehumidificationandcooling
4.2Dehumidificationonly
5Energytransfer
5.1Seasonalenergyefficiencyratio
6Installationtypes
6.1Windowunitandpackagedterminal
6.2Splitsystems
6.2.1Minisplit(ductless)system
6.2.2Central(ducted)air
conditioning
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6.3Portableunits
6.3.1Portablesplitsystem
6.3.2Portablehosesystem
6.3.3Portableevaporativesystem
7Uses
7.1Comfortapplications
7.1.1Domesticuse
7.2Processapplications
8Healthissues
9Environmentalimpact
9.1Powerconsumption
9.2Refrigerants
10Seealso
11References
12Externallinks

Overview
Incommonuse,anairconditionerisadevicethatlowerstheairtemperature.Thecoolingistypically
achievedthrougharefrigerationcycle,butsometimesevaporationorfreecoolingisused.Airconditioning
systemscanalsobemadebasedondesiccants.[1]
Inthemostgeneralsense,airconditioningcanrefertoanyformoftechnologythatmodifiesthecondition
ofair(heating,cooling,(de)humidification,cleaning,ventilation,orairmovement).However,in
construction,suchacompletesystemofheating,ventilation,andairconditioningisreferredtoasHVAC
(asopposedtoAC).[2]

History
ThebasicconceptbehindairconditioningissaidtohavebeenappliedinancientEgypt,wherereedswere
hunginwindowsandweremoistenedwithtricklingwater.Theevaporationofwatercooledtheairblowing
throughthewindow.Thisprocessalsomadetheairmorehumid,whichcanbebeneficialinadrydesert
climate.InAncientRome,waterfromaqueductswascirculatedthroughthewallsofcertainhousestocool
them.OthertechniquesinmedievalPersiainvolvedtheuseofcisternsandwindtowerstocoolbuildings
duringthehotseason.[3]
Modernairconditioningemergedfromadvancesinchemistryduringthe19thcentury,andthefirstlarge
scaleelectricalairconditioningwasinventedandusedin1902byAmericaninventorWillisCarrier.The
introductionofresidentialairconditioninginthe1920shelpedenablethegreatmigrationtotheSunBeltin
theUnitedStates.
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Developmentofmechanicalcooling
The2ndcenturyChineseinventorDingHuan(fl180)oftheHan
Dynastyinventedarotaryfanforairconditioning,withseven
wheels3m(9.8ft)indiameterandmanuallypowered.[4]In747,
EmperorXuanzong(r.712762)oftheTangDynasty(618907)
hadtheCoolHall(LiangTian)builtintheimperialpalace,which
theTangYulindescribesashavingwaterpoweredfanwheelsforair
conditioningaswellasrisingjetstreamsofwaterfromfountains.
DuringthesubsequentSongDynasty(9601279),writtensources
mentionedtheairconditioningrotaryfanasevenmorewidely
used.[5]
Inthe17thcentury,CornelisDrebbeldemonstrated"Turning
SummerintoWinter"forJamesIofEnglandbyaddingsaltto
water.[6]
In1758,BenjaminFranklinandJohnHadley,achemistryprofessor
Threequartersscalemodelof
atCambridgeUniversity,conductedanexperimenttoexplorethe
Gorrie'sicemachineJohnGorrie
principleofevaporationasameanstorapidlycoolanobject.
StateMuseum,Florida
FranklinandHadleyconfirmedthatevaporationofhighlyvolatile
liquids(suchasalcoholandether)couldbeusedtodrivedownthe
temperatureofanobjectpastthefreezingpointofwater.They
conductedtheirexperimentwiththebulbofamercurythermometerastheirobjectandwithabellowsused
tospeeduptheevaporation.Theyloweredthetemperatureofthethermometerbulbdownto14C(7F)
whiletheambienttemperaturewas18C(64F).Franklinnotedthat,soonaftertheypassedthefreezing
pointofwater0C(32F),athinfilmoficeformedonthesurfaceofthethermometer'sbulbandthatthe
icemasswasaboutaquarterinchthickwhentheystoppedtheexperimentuponreaching14C(7F).
Franklinconcluded:"Fromthisexperimentonemayseethepossibilityoffreezingamantodeathona
warmsummer'sday"[7]
In1820,EnglishscientistandinventorMichaelFaradaydiscoveredthatcompressingandliquefying
ammoniacouldchillairwhentheliquefiedammoniawasallowedtoevaporate.In1842,Floridaphysician
JohnGorrieusedcompressortechnologytocreateice,whichheusedtocoolairforhispatientsinhis
hospitalinApalachicola,Florida.[8]Hehopedtoeventuallyusehisicemakingmachinetoregulatethe
temperatureofbuildings.Heevenenvisionedcentralizedairconditioningthatcouldcoolentirecities.[9]
Thoughhisprototypeleakedandperformedirregularly,Gorriewasgrantedapatentin1851forhisice
makingmachine.[10]Hishopesforitssuccessvanishedsoonafterwardswhenhischieffinancialbacker
diedGorriedidnotgetthemoneyheneededtodevelopthemachine.Accordingtohisbiographer,Vivian
M.Sherlock,heblamedthe"IceKing",FredericTudor,forhisfailure,suspectingthatTudorhadlaunched
asmearcampaignagainsthisinvention.Dr.Gorriediedimpoverishedin1855,andtheideaofair
conditioningwentawayfor50years.
Sinceprehistorictimes,snowandicewereusedforcooling.Thebusinessofharvestingiceduringwinter
andstoringforuseinsummerbecamepopulartowardsthelate19thcentury.[11]Thispracticewasreplaced
bymechanicalicemakingmachines.
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JamesHarrison'sfirstmechanicalicemakingmachinebeganoperationin1851onthebanksoftheBarwon
RiveratRockyPointinGeelong(Australia).Hisfirstcommercialicemakingmachinefollowedin1854,
andhispatentforanethervaporcompressionrefrigerationsystemwasgrantedin1855.Thisnovelsystem
usedacompressortoforcetherefrigerationgastopassthroughacondenser,whereitcooleddownand
liquefied.Theliquefiedgasthencirculatedthroughtherefrigerationcoilsandvaporisedagain,cooling
downthesurroundingsystem.Themachineemployeda5m(16ft.)flywheelandproduced3,000
kilograms(6,600lb)oficeperday.
ThoughHarrisonhadcommercialsuccessestablishingasecondicecompanybackinSydneyin1860,he
laterenteredthedebateoverhowtocompeteagainsttheAmericanadvantageofunrefrigeratedbeefsalesto
theUnitedKingdom.Hewrote:"Freshmeatfrozenandpackedasifforavoyage,sothattherefrigerating
processmaybecontinuedforanyrequiredperiod",andin1873preparedthesailingshipNorfolkforan
experimentalbeefshipmenttotheUnitedKingdom.Hischoiceofacoldroomsysteminsteadofinstalling
arefrigerationsystemupontheshipitselfproveddisastrouswhentheicewasconsumedfasterthan
expected.[12]

Electromechanicalcooling
In1902,thefirstmodernelectricalairconditioningunitwasinventedby
WillisCarrierinBuffalo,NewYork.AftergraduatingfromCornell
University,CarrierfoundajobattheBuffaloForgeCompany.Whilethere,
hebeganexperimentingwithairconditioningasawaytosolvean
applicationproblemfortheSackettWilhelmsLithographingandPublishing
CompanyinBrooklyn,NewYork.Thefirstairconditioner,designedand
builtinBuffalobyCarrier,beganworkingon17July1902.
Designedtoimprovemanufacturingprocesscontrolinaprintingplant,
Carrier'sinventioncontrollednotonlytemperaturebutalsohumidity.
Carrierusedhisknowledgeoftheheatingofobjectswithsteamand
reversedtheprocess.Insteadofsendingairthroughhotcoils,hesentit
throughcoldcoils(filledwithcoldwater).Theairwascooled,andthereby
theamountofmoistureintheaircouldbecontrolled,whichinturnmade
WillisCarrier
thehumidityintheroomcontrollable.Thecontrolledtemperatureand
humidityhelpedmaintainconsistentpaperdimensionsandinkalignment.
Later,Carrier'stechnologywasappliedtoincreaseproductivityintheworkplace,andTheCarrierAir
ConditioningCompanyofAmericawasformedtomeetrisingdemand.Overtime,airconditioningcameto
beusedtoimprovecomfortinhomesandautomobilesaswell.Residentialsalesexpandeddramaticallyin
the1950s.
In1906,StuartW.CramerofCharlotte,NorthCarolinawasexploringwaystoaddmoisturetotheairinhis
textilemill.Cramercoinedtheterm"airconditioning",usingitinapatentclaimhefiledthatyearasan
analogueto"waterconditioning",thenawellknownprocessformakingtextileseasiertoprocess.He
combinedmoisturewithventilationto"condition"andchangetheairinthefactories,controllingthe
humiditysonecessaryintextileplants.WillisCarrieradoptedthetermandincorporateditintothenameof
hiscompany.

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Shortlythereafter,thefirstprivatehometohaveairconditioningwasbuiltinChapelHill,NorthCarolinain
1933.Realizingthatairconditioningwouldonedaybeastandardfeatureofprivatehomes,particularlyin
regionswithwarmerclimate,DavidSt.PierreDuBose(18981994)designedanetworkofductworkand
ventsforhishomeMeadowmont,alldisguisedbehindintricateandattractiveGeorgianstyleopen
moldings.ThisbuildingisbelievedtobeoneofthefirstprivatehomesintheUnitedStatesequippedfor
centralairconditioning.[13]
In1945,RobertShermanofLynn,Massachusettsinventedaportable,inwindowairconditionerthat
cooled,heated,humidified,dehumidified,andfilteredtheair.Theideawassubsequentlystolenbyalarge
manufacturer.Shermandidnothavetheresourcestofightthebigcorporationincourtandthusnever
receivedanymoneyorrecognition.Hediedin1962.[14]

Refrigerantdevelopment
Thefirstairconditionersandrefrigeratorsemployedtoxicor
flammablegases,suchasammonia,methylchloride,orpropane,
thatcouldresultinfatalaccidentswhentheyleaked.Thomas
Midgley,Jr.createdthefirstnonflammable,nontoxic
chlorofluorocarbongas,Freon,in1928.Thenameisatrademark
nameownedbyDuPontforanyChlorofluorocarbon(CFC),
Hydrochlorofluorocarbon(HCFC),orHydrofluorocarbon(HFC)
refrigerant.Therefrigerantnamesincludeanumberindicatingthe
molecularcomposition(e.g.R11,R12,R22,R134A).Theblend
mostusedindirectexpansionhomeandbuildingcomfortcoolingis
anHCFCknownasR22.

AmodernR134ahermetic
refrigerationcompressor

R12wasthemostcommonblendusedinautomobilesintheUS
until1994,whenmostdesignschangedtoR134Aduetotheozone
depletingpotentialofR12.R11andR12arenolongermanufacturedintheUSforthistypeof
application,sotheonlysourceforairconditioningrepairpurposesisthecleanedandpurifiedgasrecovered
fromotherairconditionersystems.Severalnonozonedepletingrefrigerantshavebeendevelopedas
alternatives,includingR410A.ItwasfirstcommerciallyusedbyCarrierCorp.underthebrandname
Puron.
Modernrefrigerantshavebeendevelopedtobemoreenvironmentallysafethanmanyoftheearly
chlorofluorocarbonbasedrefrigerantsusedintheearlyandmidtwentiethcentury.Theseincludeas
HCFCs(R22,usedinmostU.S.homesevenbefore2011)andHFCs(R134a,usedinmostcars)have
replacedmostCFCuse.HCFCs,inturn,aresupposedtohavebeenintheprocessofbeingphasedout
undertheMontrealProtocolandreplacedbyhydrofluorocarbons(HFCs)suchasR410A,whichlack
chlorine.HFCs,however,contributetoclimatechangeproblems.Moreover,policyandpoliticalinfluence
bycorporateexecutivesresistedchange.[15][16]Infact,sincecorporateexecutivesinsistedthatno
alternativestoHFCsexisted,thenongovernmentalorganization(NGO)GreenpeacesolicitedaEuropean
laboratorytoresearchanalternativeozoneandclimatesaferefrigerantin1992,gainedpatentrightstoa
hydrocarbonmixofisopentaneandisobutane,butthenleftthetechnologyasopenaccess.[17][18]Their
activistmarketingfirstinGermanyledtocompanieslikeWhirlpool,Bosch,andlaterLGandothersto
incorporatethetechnologythroughoutEurope,thenAsia,althoughthecorporateexecutivesresistedin
LatinAmerica,sothatitarrivedinArgentinaproducedbyadomesticfirmin2003,andthenfinallywith
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giantBosch'sproductioninBrazilby2004.[19][20]In1995,GermanymadeCFCrefrigeratorsillegal.[21]Du
PontandothercompaniesblockedtherefrigerantintheU.S.withtheU.S.E.P.A.,disparagingtheapproach
as"thatGermantechnology."[20][22]Nevertheless,in2004,Greenpeaceworkedwithmultinational
corporationslikeCocaColaandUnilever,andlaterPepsicoandothers,tocreateacorporatecoalition
calledRefrigerantsNaturally!.[21][23][24]Then,fouryearslater,Ben&Jerry'sofUnileverandGeneral
ElectricbegantotakestepstosupportproductionanduseintheU.S.[25][26]Onlyin2011didtheE.P.A.
finallydecideinfavoroftheozoneandclimatesaferefrigerantforU.S.manufacture.[17][27][28]

Operatingprinciples
Refrigerationcycle
Intherefrigerationcycle,heatistransportedfromacolderlocation
toahotterarea.Asheatwouldnaturallyflowintheopposite
direction,workisrequiredtoachievethis.Arefrigeratorisan
exampleofsuchasystem,asittransportstheheatoutoftheinterior
andintoitsenvironment(i.e.theroom).Therefrigerantisusedas
themediumwhichabsorbsandremovesheatfromthespacetobe
cooledandsubsequentlyrejectsthatheatelsewhere.
Circulatingrefrigerantvaporentersthecompressorandis
compressedtoahigherpressure,resultinginahighertemperatureas
well.Thehot,compressedrefrigerantvaporisnowatatemperature
andpressureatwhichitcanbecondensedandisroutedthrougha
condenser.Hereitiscooledbyairflowingacrossthecondenser
coilsandcondensedintoaliquid.Thus,thecirculatingrefrigerant
rejectsheatfromthesystemandtheheatiscarriedawaybytheair.

Asimplestylizeddiagramofthe
refrigerationcycle:1)condensing
coil,2)expansionvalve,
3)evaporatorcoil,4)compressor

Thecondensedandpressurizedliquidrefrigerantisnextrouted
throughanexpansionvalvewhereitundergoesanabruptreduction
inpressure.Thatpressurereductionresultsinflashevaporationofa
partoftheliquidrefrigerant,loweringitstemperature.Thecold
refrigerantisthenroutedthroughtheevaporator.Afanblowsthe
warmair(whichistobecooled)acrosstheevaporator,causingthe
liquidpartofthecoldrefrigerantmixturetoevaporateaswell,
furtherloweringthetemperature.Thewarmairisthereforecooled.
Tocompletetherefrigerationcycle,therefrigerantvaporisrouted
backintothecompressor.
Byplacingthecondenserinsideacompartment,andtheevaporator
intheambientenvironment(suchasoutside),orbymerelyrunning
anairconditioner'srefrigerantintheoppositedirection,theoverall
effectistheopposite,andthecompartmentisheatedinsteadof
cooled.Seealsoheatpump.

Capillaryexpansionvalveconnection
toevaporatorinlet.Noticefrost
formation

Theengineeringofphysicalandthermodynamicpropertiesofgasvapormixturesiscalledpsychrometrics.
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Heatpump
Heatpumpisatermforatypeofairconditionerinwhichtherefrigerationcyclecanbereversed,producing
heatinginsteadofcoolingintheindoorenvironment.Theyarealsocommonlyreferredto,andmarketedas,
a"reversecycleairconditioner".Usinganairconditionerinthiswaytoproduceheatissignificantlymore
energyefficientthanelectricresistanceheating.Somehomeownerselecttohaveaheatpumpsystem
installed,whichissimplyacentralairconditionerwithheatpumpfunctionality(therefrigerationcyclecan
bereversedincoldweather).Whentheheatpumpisinheatingmode,theindoorevaporatorcoilswitches
rolesandbecomesthecondensercoil,producingheat.Theoutdoorcondenserunitalsoswitchesrolesto
serveastheevaporator,anddischargescoldair(colderthantheambientoutdoorair).
Heatpumpsaremorepopularinmilderwinterclimateswherethetemperatureisfrequentlyintherangeof
4055F(413C),becauseheatpumpsbecomeinefficientinmoreextremecold.Thisisduetothe
problemoficeformingontheoutdoorunit'sheatexchangercoil,whichblocksairflowoverthecoil.To
compensateforthis,theheatpumpsystemmusttemporarilyswitchbackintotheregularairconditioning
modetoswitchtheoutdoorevaporatorcoilbacktobeingthecondensercoil,sothatitcanheatupand
defrost.Aheatpumpsystemwillthereforehaveaformofelectricresistanceheatingintheindoorairpath
thatisactivatedonlyinthismodeinordertocompensateforthetemporaryindooraircooling,whichwould
otherwisebeuncomfortableinthewinter.Theicingproblembecomesmuchmoreseverewithlower
outdoortemperatures,soheatpumpsarecommonlyinstalledintandemwithamoreconventionalformof
heating,suchasanaturalgasoroilfurnace,whichisusedinsteadoftheheatpumpduringharsherwinter
temperatures.Inthiscase,theheatpumpisusedefficientlyduringthemildertemperatures,andthesystem
isswitchedtotheconventionalheatsourcewhentheoutdoortemperatureislower.italsoworksonthebasis
ofcarnotcycle
Absorptionheatpumpsareactuallyakindofairsourceheatpump,buttheydonotdependonelectricityto
powerthem.Instead,gas,solarpower,orheatedwaterisusedasamainpowersource.Additionally,
refrigerantisnotusedatallintheprocess.Anabsorptionpumpabsorbsammoniaintowater.Next,the
waterandammoniamixtureisdepressurizedtoinduceboiling,andtheammoniaisboiledoff,resultingin
cooling.[29]
Somemoreexpensivewindowairconditioningunitshaveatrueheatpumpfunction.However,awindow
unitthathasa"heat"selectionisnotnecessarilyaheatpumpbecausesomeunitsuseonlyelectric
resistanceheatwhenheatingisdesired.Aunitthathastrueheatpumpfunctionalitywillbeindicatedits
specificationsbytheterm"heatpump".

Evaporativecooling
Inverydryclimates,evaporativecoolers,sometimesreferredtoasswampcoolersordesertcoolers,are
popularforimprovingcoolnessduringhotweather.Anevaporativecoolerisadevicethatdrawsoutsideair
throughawetpad,suchasalargespongesoakedwithwater.Thesensibleheatoftheincomingair,as
measuredbyadrybulbthermometer,isreduced.Thetotalheat(sensibleheatpluslatentheat)ofthe
enteringairisunchanged.Someofthesensibleheatoftheenteringairisconvertedtolatentheatbythe
evaporationofwaterinthewetcoolerpads.Iftheenteringairisdryenough,theresultscanbequite
cooling.Evaporativecoolerstendtofeelasiftheyarenotworkingduringtimesofhighhumidity,when
thereisnotmuchdryairwithwhichthecoolerscanworktomaketheairascoolaspossiblefordwelling
occupants.Unlikeothertypesofairconditioners,evaporativecoolersrelyontheoutsideairtobechanneled
throughcoolerpadsthatcooltheairbeforeitreachestheinsideofahousethroughitsairductsystemthis
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cooledoutsideairmustbeallowedtopushthewarmerairwithinthehouseoutthroughanexhaustopening
suchasanopendoororwindow.[30]Thesecoolerscostlessandaremechanicallysimpletounderstandand
maintain.
Anearlytypeofcooler,usingiceforafurthereffect,waspatentedbyJohnGorrieofApalachicola,Florida
in1842.Heusedthedevicetocoolthepatientsinhismalariahospital.

Freecooling
Airconditioningcanalsobeprovidedbyaprocesscalled
freecoolingwhichusespumpstocirculateacoolant
(typicallywateroraglycolmix)fromacoldsource,which
inturnactsasaheatsinkfortheenergythatisremoved
fromthecooledspace.Commonstoragemediaaredeep
aquifersoranaturalundergroundrockmassaccessedviaa
clusterofsmalldiameterboreholes,equippedwithheat
exchanger.Somesystemswithsmallstoragecapacityare
hybridsystems,usingfreecoolingearlyinthecooling
season,andlateremployingaheatpumptochillthe
circulationcomingfromthestorage.Theheatpumpisadded
becausethetemperatureofthestoragegraduallyincreases
duringthecoolingseason,therebydecliningits
effectiveness.

Anevaporativecooler

Freecoolingsystemscanhaveveryhighefficiencies,andaresometimescombinedwithseasonalthermal
energystorage(STES)sothecoldofwintercanbeusedforsummerairconditioning.Freecoolingand
hybridsystemsarematuretechnology.[31]

Humiditycontrol
Sincehumansperspiretoprovidenaturalcoolingbytheevaporationofperspirationfromtheskin,drierair
(uptoapoint)improvesthecomfortprovided.Thecomfortairconditionerisdesignedtocreatea40%to
60%relativehumidityintheoccupiedspace.

Dehumidificationandcooling
Refrigerationairconditioningequipmentusuallyreducestheabsolutehumidityoftheairprocessedbythe
system.Therelativelycold(belowthedewpoint)evaporatorcoilcondenseswatervaporfromtheprocessed
air,muchlikeanicecolddrinkwillcondensewaterontheoutsideofaglass.Therefore,watervaporis
removedfromthecooledairandtherelativehumidityintheroomislowered.Thewaterisusuallysenttoa
drainormaysimplydripontothegroundoutdoors.Theheatisrejectedbythecondenserwhichislocated
outsideofroomtobecooled.

Dehumidificationonly

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Anairconditionerthatisusedonlyfordehumidifyingiscalledadehumidifier.Italsousesarefrigeration
cycle,butdiffersfroma"regular"airconditionerinthatboththe
evaporatorandthecondenserareplacedinthesameairpath.A
"regular"airconditionertransfersheatenergyoutoftheroom
becauseitscondensercoilisoutside.However,sinceallcomponents
ofthedehumidifierareinthesameroom,noheatenergyis
removed.Instead,theelectricpowerconsumedbythedehumidifier
remainsintheroomasheat,sotheroomisactuallyheated,justas
byanelectricheaterthatdrawsthesameamountofpower.In
addition,ifthecondensedwaterhasbeenremovedfromtheroom,
theamountofheatneededtoboilthatwaterhasbeenaddedtothe
room(the"latentheatofvaporization").Thedehumidification
processistheinverseofaddingwatertotheroomwithan
evaporativecooler,andinsteadreleasesheat.
Insidetheunit,theairpassesovertheevaporatorcoilfirstandis
cooledanddehumidified.Thenowdehumidified,coldairthen
passesoverthecondensercoilwhereitiswarmedupagain.Then
theairisreleasedbackintotheroom.Theunitproduceswarm,
dehumidifiedairandcanusuallybeplacedfreelyinthe
environment(room)thatistobeconditioned.

Typicalportabledehumidifier

Dehumidifiersarecommonlyusedincold,dampclimatestopreventmoldgrowthindoors,especiallyin
basements.Theyarealsousedtoprotectsensitiveequipmentfromtheadverseeffectsofexcessive
humidityintropicalcountries.

Energytransfer
Inathermodynamicallyclosedsystem,anypowerdissipatedintothesystemthatisbeingmaintainedata
settemperature(whichisastandardmodeofoperationformodernairconditioners)requiresthattherateof
energyremovalbytheairconditionerincrease.Thisincreasehastheeffectthat,foreachunitofenergy
inputintothesystem(saytopoweralightbulbintheclosedsystem),theairconditionerremovesthat
energy.[32]Inordertodoso,theairconditionermustincreaseitspowerconsumptionbytheinverseofits
"efficiency"(coefficientofperformance)timestheamountofpowerdissipatedintothesystem.Asan
example,assumethatinsidetheclosedsystema100Wheatingelementisactivated,andtheairconditioner
hasancoefficientofperformanceof200%.Theairconditioner'spowerconsumptionwillincreaseby50W
tocompensateforthis,thusmakingthe100Wheatingelementcostatotalof150Wofpower.
Itistypicalforairconditionerstooperateat"efficiencies"ofsignificantlygreaterthan100%.[33]However,
itmaybenotedthattheinputelectricalenergyisofhigherthermodynamicquality(lowerentropy)thanthe
outputthermalenergy(heatenergy).
AirconditionerequipmentpowerintheU.S.isoftendescribedintermsof"tonsofrefrigeration".Atonof
refrigerationisapproximatelyequaltothecoolingpowerofoneshortton(2000poundsor907kilograms)
oficemeltingina24hourperiod.Thevalueisdefinedas12,000BTUperhour,or3517watts.[34]
Residentialcentralairsystemsareusuallyfrom1to5tons(3to20kilowatts(kW))incapacity.
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Seasonalenergyefficiencyratio
Forresidentialhomes,somecountriessetminimumrequirementsforenergyefficiency.IntheUnited
States,theefficiencyofairconditionersisoften(butnotalways)ratedbytheseasonalenergyefficiency
ratio(SEER).ThehighertheSEERrating,themoreenergyefficientistheairconditioner.TheSEERrating
istheBTUofcoolingoutputduringitsnormalannualusagedividedbythetotalelectricenergyinputin
watthours(Wh)duringthesameperiod.[35]
SEER=BTU(Wh)
thiscanalsoberewrittenas:
SEER=(BTU/h)W,where"W"istheaverageelectricalpowerinWatts,and(BTU/h)isthe
ratedcoolingpower.
Forexample,a5000BTU/hairconditioningunit,withaSEERof10,wouldconsume5000/10=500Watts
ofpoweronaverage.
Theelectricalenergyconsumedperyearcanbecalculatedastheaveragepowermultipliedbytheannual
operatingtime:
500W1000h=500,000Wh=500kWh
Assuming1000hoursofoperationduringatypicalcoolingseason(i.e.,8hoursperdayfor125daysper
year).
Anothermethodthatyieldsthesameresult,istocalculatethetotalannualcoolingoutput:
5000BTU/h1000h=5,000,000BTU
Then,foraSEERof10,theannualelectricalenergyusagewouldbe:
5,000,000BTU10=500,000Wh=500kWh
SEERisrelatedtothecoefficientofperformance(COP)commonlyusedinthermodynamicsandalsotothe
EnergyEfficiencyRatio(EER).TheEERistheefficiencyratingfortheequipmentataparticularpairof
externalandinternaltemperatures,whileSEERiscalculatedoverawholerangeofexternaltemperatures
(i.e.,thetemperaturedistributionforthegeographicallocationoftheSEERtest).SEERisunusualinthatit
iscomposedofanImperialunitdividedbyanSIunit.TheCOPisaratiowiththesamemetricunitsof
energy(joules)inboththenumeratoranddenominator.Theycancelout,leavingadimensionlessquantity.
FormulasfortheapproximateconversionbetweenSEERandEERorCOPareavailablefromthePacific
GasandElectricCompany:[36]
(1)SEER=EER0.9
(2)SEER=COP3.792
(3)EER=COP3.413
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Fromequation(2)above,aSEERof13isequivalenttoaCOPof3.43,whichmeansthat3.43unitsofheat
energyarepumpedperunitofworkenergy.
TheUnitedStatesnowrequiresthatresidentialsystemsmanufacturedin2006haveaminimumSEER
ratingof13(althoughwindowboxsystemsareexemptfromthislaw,sotheirSEERisstillaround10).[37]

Installationtypes
Windowunitandpackagedterminal
Windowunitairconditionersareinstalledinanopenwindow.The
interiorairiscooledasafanblowsitovertheevaporator.Onthe
exteriortheheatdrawnfromtheinteriorisdissipatedintothe
environmentasasecondfanblowsoutsideairoverthecondenser.A
largehouseorbuildingmayhaveseveralsuchunits,permittingeach
roomtobecooledseparately.[38]
PTACsystemsarealsoknownaswallsplitairconditioningsystems
orductlesssystems.[39]ThesePTACsystemswhicharefrequently
usedinhotelshavetwoseparateunits(terminalpackages),the
evaporativeunitontheinteriorandthecondensingunitonthe
exterior,withanopeningpassingthroughthewallandconnecting
them.Thisminimizestheinteriorsystemfootprintandallowseach
roomtobeadjustedindependently.PTACsystemsmaybeadapted
toprovideheatingincoldweather,eitherdirectlybyusingan
electricstrip,gas,orotherheater,orbyreversingtherefrigerant
flowtoheattheinterioranddrawheatfromtheexteriorair,
convertingtheairconditionerintoaheatpump.Whileroomair
conditioningprovidesmaximumflexibility,whenusedtocoolmany
roomsatatimeitisgenerallymoreexpensivethancentralair
conditioning.

Airconditioningwindowunit

Partsofawindowsunit

Thefirstpracticalthroughthewallairconditioningunitwas
inventedbyengineersatChryslerMotorsandofferedforsalestartingin1935.[40]

Splitsystems
Splitsystemairconditionerscomeintwoforms:minisplitandcentralsystems.Inbothtypes,theinside
environment(evaporative)heatexchangerisseparatedbysomedistancefromtheoutsideenvironment
(condensingunit)heatexchanger.
Minisplit(ductless)system
Aminisplitsystemtypicallysupplieschilledairtoasingleorafewroomsofabuilding.[41]Minisplit
systemstypicallyproduce9,00036,000Btu(9,50038,000kJ)perhourofcooling.[42]
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Advantagesoftheductlesssystemincludesmallersizeandflexibilityforzoningorheatingandcooling
individualrooms.Theinsidewallspacerequiredissignificantlyreduced.Also,thecompressorandheat
exchangercanbelocatedfurtherawayfromtheinsidespace,ratherthanmerelyontheothersideofthe
sameunitasinaPTACorwindowairconditioner.Flexibleexterior
hosesleadfromtheoutsideunittotheinteriorone(s)theseare
oftenenclosedwithmetaltolooklikecommondrainpipesfromthe
roof.Inaddition,ductlesssystemsofferhigherefficiency(upto27.1
SEERonsomesystems).
Theprimarydisadvantageofductlessairconditionersistheircost.
Suchsystemscostabout$1,500to$2,000perton(12,000Btuper
hour)ofcoolingcapacity.Thisisabout30%morethancentral
systems(notincludingductwork)andmaycostmorethantwiceas
muchaswindowunitsofsimilarcapacity."[43]
Anadditionalpossibledisadvantagethatmayincreasenetcostis
thatductlesssystemsmaysometimesnotbeeligibleforenergy
efficiencyrebatesofferedbymanyelectricutilitycompaniesaspart
ofanincentiveprogramtoreducesummercoolingloadonthe
electricalgrid.[44]

Outsidepartofaductlesssplittype
airconditioner

Central(ducted)airconditioning
Central(ducted)airconditioningofferswholehouseorlarge
commercialspacecooling,andoftenoffersmoderatemultizone
temperaturecontrolcapabilitybytheadditionofairlouvercontrol
boxes.

Indoorpartofaductlesssplittypeair
conditioner

Incentralairconditioning,theinsideheatexchangeristypicallyplacedinsidethecentralfurnace/ACunit
oftheforcedairheatingsystemwhichisthenusedinthesummertodistributechilledairthroughouta
residenceorcommercialbuilding.

Portableunits
Aportableairconditionercanbeeasilytransportedinsideahomeoroffice.Theyarecurrentlyavailable
withcapacitiesofabout5,00060,000BTU/h(1,80018,000Woutput)andwithorwithoutelectric
resistanceheaters.Portableairconditionersareeitherevaporativeorrefrigerative.
Thecompressorbasedrefrigerantsystemsareaircooled,meaningtheyuseairtoexchangeheat,inthe
samewayasacarortypicalhouseholdairconditionerdoes.Suchasystemdehumidifiestheairasitcools
it.Itcollectswatercondensedfromthecooledairandproduceshotairwhichmustbeventedoutsidethe
cooledareadoingsotransfersheatfromtheairinthecooledareatotheoutsideair.
Portablesplitsystem
Aportablesplitsystemhasanindoorunitonwheelsconnectedtoanoutdoorunitviaflexiblepipes,similar
toapermanentlyfixedinstalledunit.
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Portablehosesystem
Hosesystems,whichcanbemonoblockorairtoair,areventedtotheoutsideviaairducts.Themonoblock
typecollectsthewaterinabucketortrayandstopswhenfull.Theairtoairtypereevaporatesthewater
anddischargesitthroughtheductedhoseandcanruncontinuously.
Asinglehoseunitusesairfromwithintheroomtocoolitscondenser,andthenventsitoutside.Thisairis
replacedbyhotairfromoutsideorotherrooms(duetothenegativepressureinsidetheroom),thus
reducingtheunit'seffectiveness.[45]
Modernunitsmighthaveacoefficientofperformanceofapproximately3(i.e.,1kWofelectricitywill
produce3kWofcooling).Adualhoseunitdrawsairtocoolitscondenserfromoutsideinsteadoffrom
insidetheroom,andthusismoreeffectivethanmostsinglehoseunits.
Portableevaporativesystem
Evaporativecoolers,sometimescalled"swampcoolers",donothaveacompressororcondenser.Liquid
waterisevaporatedonthecoolingfins,releasingthevaporintothecooledarea.Evaporatingwaterabsorbs
asignificantamountofheat,thelatentheatofvaporisation,coolingtheair.Humansandanimalsusethe
samemechanismtocoolthemselvesbysweating.
Evaporativecoolershavetheadvantageofneedingnohosestoventheatoutsidethecooledarea,making
themtrulyportable.Theyarealsoverycheaptoinstallanduselessenergythanrefrigerativeair
conditioners.

Uses
Airconditioningengineersbroadlydivideairconditioningapplicationsintocomfortandprocess
applications.

Comfortapplications
Comfortapplicationsaimtoprovideabuildingindoorenvironmentthatremainsrelativelyconstantdespite
changesinexternalweatherconditionsorininternalheatloads.
Airconditioningmakesdeepplanbuildingsfeasible,forotherwisetheywouldhavetobebuiltnarroweror
withlightwellssothatinnerspacesreceivedsufficientoutdoorairvianaturalventilation.Airconditioning
alsoallowsbuildingstobetaller,sincewindspeedincreasessignificantlywithaltitudemakingnatural
ventilationimpracticalforverytallbuildings.Comfortapplicationsarequitedifferentforvariousbuilding
typesandmaybecategorizedas:
Commercialbuildings,whicharebuiltforcommerce,includingoffices,malls,shoppingcenters,
restaurants,etc.
Highriseresidentialbuildings,suchastalldormitoriesandapartmentblocks
Industrialspaceswherethermalcomfortofworkersisdesired
Institutionalbuildings,whichincludesgovernmentbuildings,hospitals,schools,etc.
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Lowriseresidentialbuildings,includingsinglefamilyhouses,duplexes,andsmallapartment
buildings
Sportsstadiums,suchastheUniversityofPhoenixStadium[46]andinQatarforthe2022FIFAWorld
Cup.[47]
Thestructuralimpactofanairconditioningunitwilldependonthetypeandsizeoftheunit.[48]
Inadditiontobuildings,airconditioningcanbeusedformanytypesoftransportation,including
automobiles,busesandotherlandvehicles,trains,ships,aircraft,andspacecraft.
Domesticuse
AirconditioningiscommonintheUS,with88%ofnewsinglefamilyhomesconstructedin2011including
airconditioning,rangingfrom99%intheSouthto62%intheWest.[49]InEurope,homeairconditioningis
generallylesscommon.SouthernEuropeancountriessuchasGreecehaveseenawideproliferationof
homeairconditioningunitsinrecentyears.[50]InanothersouthernEuropeancountry,Malta,itisestimated
thataround55%ofhouseholdshaveanairconditionerinstalled.[51]InIndiaACsaleshavedroppedby40%
duetohighercostsandstricterenergyefficiencyregulations.[52]

Processapplications
Processapplicationsaimtoprovideasuitableenvironmentforaprocessbeingcarriedout,regardlessof
internalheatandhumidityloadsandexternalweatherconditions.Itistheneedsoftheprocessthat
determineconditions,nothumanpreference.Processapplicationsincludethese:
Chemicalandbiologicallaboratories
Cleanroomsfortheproductionofintegratedcircuits,pharmaceuticals,andthelike,inwhichvery
highlevelsofaircleanlinessandcontroloftemperatureandhumidityarerequiredforthesuccessof
theprocess.
Environmentalcontrolofdatacenters
Facilitiesforbreedinglaboratoryanimals.Sincemanyanimalsnormallyreproduceonlyinspring,
holdingtheminroomsinwhichconditionsmirrorthoseofspringallyearcancausethemto
reproduceyearround.
Foodcookingandprocessingareas
Hospitaloperatingtheatres,inwhichairisfilteredtohighlevelstoreduceinfectionriskandthe
humiditycontrolledtolimitpatientdehydration.Althoughtemperaturesareofteninthecomfort
range,somespecialistprocedures,suchasopenheartsurgery,requirelowtemperatures(about18C,
64F)andothers,suchasneonatal,relativelyhightemperatures(about28C,82F).
Industrialenvironments
Mining
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Nuclearpowerfacilities
Physicaltestingfacilities
Plantsandfarmgrowingareas
Textilemanufacturing
Inbothcomfortandprocessapplications,theobjectivemaybetonotonlycontroltemperature,butalso
humidity,airquality,andairmovementfromspacetospace.

Healthissues
Airconditioningsystemscanpromotethegrowthandspreadofmicroorganisms,[53]suchasLegionella
pneumophila,theinfectiousagentresponsibleforLegionnaires'disease,orthermophilicactinomycetes
however,thisisonlyprevalentinpoorlymaintainedwatercoolingtowers.Aslongasthecoolingtoweris
keptclean(usuallybymeansofachlorinetreatment),thesehealthhazardscanbeavoided.
Conversely,airconditioning(includingfiltration,humidification,coolinganddisinfection)canbeusedto
provideaclean,safe,hypoallergenicatmosphereinhospitaloperatingroomsandotherenvironmentswhere
anappropriateatmosphereiscriticaltopatientsafetyandwellbeing.Excessiveairconditioningcanhavea
negativeeffectonskin,dryingitout,[54]andcanalsocausedehydration.[55]

Environmentalimpact
Powerconsumption
Innovationinairconditioningtechnologiescontinues,withmuchrecentemphasisplacedonenergy
efficiency.Productionoftheelectricityusedtooperateairconditionershasanenvironmentalimpact,
includingthereleaseofgreenhousegasses.
Cylinderunloadersareamethodofloadcontrolusedmainlyincommercialairconditioningsystems.Ona
semihermetic(oropen)compressor,theheadscanbefittedwithunloaderswhichremoveaportionofthe
loadfromthecompressorsothatitcanrunbetterwhenfullcoolingisnotneeded.Unloaderscanbe
electricalormechanical.
Inanautomobile,theA/Csystemwillusearound4horsepower(3kW)oftheengine'spower,thus
increasingfuelconsumptionofthevehicle.[56]

Refrigerants
Mostrefrigerantsusedforairconditioningcontributetoglobalwarming,andmanyalsodepletetheozone
layer.[57]CFCs,HCFCs,andHFCsarepotentgreenhousegaseswhenleakedtotheatmosphere.
TheuseofChlorofluorocarbon(CFC)asarefrigerantwasoncecommon,beingusedintherefrigerantsR
11andR12andR134(soldunderthebrandnameFreon12).Freonrefrigerantswerecommonlyused
duringthe20thcenturyinairconditionersduetotheirsuperiorstabilityandsafetyproperties.However,
thesechlorinebearingrefrigerantsreachtheupperatmospherewhentheyescape.[58]Oncetherefrigerant
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reachesthestratosphere,UVradiationfromtheSunhomolyticallycleavesthechlorinecarbonbond,
yieldingachlorineradical.Thesechlorineatomscatalyzethebreakdownofozoneintodiatomicoxygen,
depletingtheozonelayerthatshieldstheEarth'ssurfacefromstrongUVradiation.Eachchlorineradical
remainsactiveasacatalystunlessitbindswithanotherchlorineradical,formingastablemoleculeand
breakingthechainreaction.
Priorto1994,mostautomotiveairconditioningsystemsusedR12asarefrigerant.ItwasreplacedwithR
134arefrigerant,whichhasalowerozonedepletionpotential.OldR12systemscanberetrofittedtoR
134abyacompleteflushandfilter/dryerreplacementtoremovethemineraloil,whichisnotcompatible
withR134a.
R22(alsoknownasHCFC22)hasaglobalwarmingpotentialabout1,800timeshigherthanCO2.[59]It
wastobephasedoutforuseinnewequipmentby2010,andistobecompletelydiscontinuedby2020.
Althoughthosegassescanberecycledwhenairconditioningunitsaredisposedof,uncontrolleddumping
andleakingcanaccidentallyreleasethosegasdirectlyintheatmosphere.
InmostcountriesthemanufactureanduseofCFCshasbeenbannedorseverelyrestrictedduetoconcerns
aboutozonedepletion(seealsoMontrealProtocol).[60]Inlightoftheseenvironmentalconcerns,beginning
onNovember14,1994,theU.S.EnvironmentalProtectionAgencyhasrestrictedthesale,possessionand
useofrefrigeranttoonlylicensedtechnicians,perRules608and609oftheEPArulesandregulations.[61]
Asanalternativetoconventionalrefrigerants,naturalgases,suchasCO2(R744),havebeenproposed.[62]
R744isbeingadoptedasarefrigerantinEuropeandJapan.Itisaneffectiverefrigerantwithaglobal
warmingpotentialof1,butitmustusehighercompressiontoproduceanequivalentcoolingeffect.
Infact,in1992,anongovernmentalorganizationwasspurredbycorporateexecutivepoliciesand
requestedthataEuropeanlabfindasubstitute.Theresultquicklyledtotwoalternativemixes,oneof
propane(R290)andisobutane(R60Oa),andoneofpureisobutane.[18][21]Corporateexecutivesresisted
changeinEuropeonlyuntil1993,butintheU.S.until2011,despitesomesupportivestepsin2004and
2008(seeRefrigerantDevelopmentabove).[28][63]

Seealso
Cassetteairconditioner
Crankcaseheater
Energylabel
Hydronics
Groundcoupledheatexchanger
Icestorageairconditioning
Inverter(airconditioning)
Listofhomeappliances
Louver
OzoneDepletion
Seasonalthermalenergystorage

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Seasonalthermalenergystorage
Seawaterairconditioning

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