Understanding your Refrigeration System
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Understanding your Refrigeration System


    2 thoughts on “Understanding your Refrigeration System”

    1. Brunswick says:

      Your article is short and sweet – however the technology used to dry air, humidifying or cooling air down has evolved to such an extent that huge inroads have been made especially in lowering operating costs. My company manufactures air conditioning systems to suit the users needs from small home owners to industrial strength. Nothing has become more apparent than the huge doses of power needed to run some of these monster units – water evaporative techniques have been used for eons but it is only now that science is looking into heat pumps to also generate energy, besides lowering temperatures in summer and increasing it during summer. With many companies now manufacturing axial and centrifugal compressors ‘cheaply’ to compress H2O into it’s gaseous state, refrigeration systems may in time become cheaper and less costly to run.Safer to.

      As a manufacturer it is absolutely a must to stay up to date and ensure that state of the art systems are incorporated but this is only part of the story. With emphasis placed on global warming our average house is still designed (mostly) with too much emphasis on natural light during summer periods and too little on energy conservation – a delicate balance. In many instances the air conditioner installation is of secondary importance. Just as solar heated water is now become regulatory in many regions for new homes built we need to ensure that new homes are built with energy conservation being of primary importance – not an afterthought. Homes should be designed around the environment and not the environment designed around the home.

      Although a high performance system in an environment which pushes the efficiency to it’s limits is everyone’s dream, maintenance is a very important factor – user safety, total cost of ownership and now, in particular, unwanted emission plays a very important role in the installation and of course, lifetime running costs.

      Unfortunately home insulation can be a costly business. Sometimes the cheapest and best insulation proves to be a firefighter’s worst nightmare and the best of course, fire retard material can be very expensive. When doing energy audits I always find out the latest regulations pertaining to that particular region – often the home owner is not aware that his home improvement is illegal, not only that, downright dangerous. The good news, for home cooling often the water evaporative system is the total solution – cheap, healthy and with low maintenance costs. For heating, ensure that you have enough humidity – warm dry air is a killer.

      Lastly, as a home owner (or commercial property) see the installation as an investment. Make sure that the installation is done by an accredited installer whom gives solid advice – remember the 80/20 rule, 80% of them are bullshitters.

      References: A good read is Kolzumbal’s award winning air conditioning system using desiccant at http://www.nrel.gov/continuum/spectrum/air_conditioner.cfm

    2. Bluey says:

      Your points are strong – I’d like to add to your environmental issues.
      Last year I received a contract to service /maintain water evaporative systems to fairly old buildings situated near the sea, west coast Australia. The owner was a consortium of property owners whom had the installations done between 5 and 8 years prior based on energy costs. All the units were corroded to hell and gone and had to be replaced. The ‘galvanized’ fittings and ducting was made out of plain sheet metal (yep, non-gavanized), painted but very well put together.

      When making installations of this type – trust me I found them to work pretty well even with a fair humidity content – make sure they get their fair share of maintenance at least twice a year.

      Sea air is a killer. Even standard air conditioners have a maximum lifespan of about five years before the aluminum corrodes, the outer casings housing compressor and condenser fall to pieces. Buy a well known make – I found mostly Panasonic units still in excellent condition (after 10 years!) and well I hate to say it, LG and Samsung as well. Keep well clear of an unknown brand – these units get landed at cheaper than 100 Aussie dollars and are absolute crap. The parts move, they work and they work well for the duration of the1 to 2 year warranty but they are designed for a market where you are inland where cheap and thin materials suffice. Not sea air. Water evaporators are worse, the high humidity can fuse with the salt air and if the components are not stainless steel turn into shit within a month or two. Aqua Breeze make solid units – I have been installing them for the last five years but if the filters are not examined on seasonal change you are looking for trouble. The trouble starts with the ducting then – make sure you have crew of capable people and do the ducting yourself. Cutting corners in this industry can make or break you – most companies (as the one mentioned above) are trusting you to do an installation which will last a minimum of ten years, not two.

      I am an advocate of evaporative systems , they are cheap to maintain if the original installation was a solid one, the filters do what they are advertised to do – if you use the proper ones and I have never had a comeback. In time they will become even more cost effective. Their reliability is exceptional – only if you maintain the system regularly.

      The pitfalls: Watch your installation, know the environment and be prepared to pay for expertise. In the long run – you will save money.

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