Calgary Air Conditioning: Basics of Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps – Part 2
A central air conditioning system is of four types: single package, split system, mini split and multi split, and small duct high velocity units.
A single packaged air conditioning unit can be placed outdoors, on the roof or through a wall. The compressor, condenser and evaporator are all placed in one unit. It is relatively inexpensive to install. Cool air is circulated across all the rooms based on an up flow, down flow or horizontal system. Such units generally come with gas furnaces and heating coils. Single packaged air conditioners are generally not found in residences.
In a split system, some components are placed indoors and some outdoors. The compressor and condenser are placed outside while the evaporator is placed in a cabinet inside. Refrigerant lines connect indoor ducts to the refrigerants located in the outdoor cabinet. A split system is relatively cheap to install if the house has a furnace but does not have an air conditioner.
In mini split and multi split units, there are a number of indoor units. Multiple indoor coils are connected to a single outdoor unit. The indoor unit can be mounted on a ceiling, floor or wall. Ductwork is not required in such units, making them suitable new additions to residences. The indoor and outdoor units are slimmer compared to other split system central air conditioners.
A small duct high velocity air conditioner circulates cool air via plastic pipes to inlets and outlets, which distribute air throughout the living area. Such units do not require ductwork and can be retrofitted in residences using hydronic or electric baseboard heating.
Heat pumps are another type of air conditioners. These are reverse cycle air conditioners, which consist of an indoor evaporator and outdoor condenser unit. The evaporator and condenser switch roles to produce cool air and also generate heat. Heat pumps are better options compared to central air conditioners in homes that have electric, gas or oil furnaces. They also provide significant savings in costs of heating during winters. The savings can be in the range of 20 to 60% depending on the energy source – it’s higher in case of electricity and lower in case of gas.
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