© Harish Jharia
There are various types of air-conditioning systems. The most expensive system is central air-conditioning that is installed in malls, offices, factories, assembly shops, cinema halls, private hospitals and corporate offices. This system is also installed in big residential buildings like bungalows, villas and farmhouses in Indian metropolitan cities and in western countries.
In this system the air-conditioning plant is installed at one centralized place and the cooled air is carried to different parts of the building with the help of propellers and insulated ducts. The control panel for maintaining the temperature and for customizing the timings of operation is also provided at a centralized place from where it is easy for the users to feed commands on the microprocessor for various operations.
We are not going into details of this type of centralized air-conditioning in this article. We will rather discuss the air-conditioners that are used in homes in India and in other countries of Southeast Asia. These air-conditioners are usually used by upper middle class and by the people in the higher income bracket.
There are two types of Domestic air-conditioners, the first one is window air-conditioner and the other is called split conditioner. The window air-conditioners are single unit machines in which the cooling system and the dispensing port are integrated in one single box. Whereas, in the split air-conditioners the cooling machine and the dispensing port are placed separately.
How the room air is cooled:
The cooling unit is in fact a refrigeration unit that cools the radiator of the AC down to a desired temperature. Then an air propeller sucks the room air and passes the same through the chilled radiator. When the room air is passed through the chilled narrow passages of the radiator it loses its heat and gets cooled. Eventually, the air-conditioner releases cooled / chilled air. The air propeller recycles the room air through the radiator and when this recycling continues for some time the temperature of the room comes down to a predefined desired level comfortable for the inhabitants in that room.
How the temperature is controlled:
The air-conditioners are equipped with thermostats for controlling the temperature of the AC. Thermostats are typical customized thermometers that are installed on the radiators for sensing its temperature. On the other end of the thermostats electronic / digital temperature selector is installed. Now when the user feeds a command for a particular temperature, the thermostat keeps operating an electronic switch / circuit breaker in order to switch-off the system when the temperature goes down below the desired level. In the similar way the circuit breaker switches on the cooling when the temperature of the AC increases above the desired level.
How to operate temperature control:
Air-conditioners are provided with temperature range between 18 degrees C to 30 degrees C, because, human beings feel more comfortable within this temperature range. While operating the temperature control the users should better fix it at 26 degrees C. By doing so, on one hand they will feel comfortable and on the other hand the power will also be saved.
The room will have unbearable chill if the thermostat is adjusted at a much lower temperature and eventually the users will have to cover their bodies with comforters. At the same time the power consumption will also be excessively high because the cooling process will work for a longer period.
Care and maintenance of Air-conditioners:
Air-conditioners draw higher current that is 10 to 15 Amperes. Therefore it should be connected to the power line. Air-conditioners should never be connected directly to the wall socket. They should be connected through voltage stabilizers. In many countries including India the power supply to the homes are not duly stabilized and there are fluctuations in the incoming voltage. The voltage stabilizer ensures supply of 120 volts + /- 10 volts for providing protection for the compressor of the air-conditioner.
When the air propeller runs dust particles and other foreign bodies are also accompanied with the blast of the incoming room air. Air-conditioners have front grills with fine meshes provided for filtering out foreign particles from entering the radiator. These particles are deposited on the fine mesh and we are expected to clean the mesh at least twice a month for making way for the incoming air into the radiator.
It is also required to get thorough servicing done annually for enhancing the life of the air-conditioner. The cooling portion is kept out / protruded out of the room because it generates enormous heat. In addition in humid areas the cooling portion of air-conditioned releases water collected out of condensation of the moisture from the incoming room air. Proper outlet for this water has to be provided so that it does not spill on the ground / floor underneath the air-conditioner.
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- Harish Jharia