What is Residential Air Conditioning?

Eric Tallberg
Eric Tallberg
A central air conditioning unit.
A central air conditioning unit.

There’s nothing like residential air conditioning to relieve the discomfort of heat and humidity in tropical climates, or during the dog days of summer. This cooling process is accomplished by a home air conditioner. A residential air conditioning unit is commonly a window- or wall-mounted unit, a central air conditioning system, or a ductless, mini-split set-up. Each type of residential air conditioning system is designed for a specific purpose; such purpose is dependent on the cooling capacity of the particular unit.

Most residential air conditioning units operate on the compression, evaporation, circulation, and condensation of freon gas to reduce heated air in a space, and replace it with cooled air. This cyclical process essentially uses heat to produce cold air. Gaseous freon is compressed, causing it to condense into a liquid. This liquid Freon is circulated through coils in the unit and cooled. A fan then blows through the coils, transferring this chilled air into the space. The heated air that has been replaced by cool air is drawn back into the unit and discharged outside through the condensing unit.

This process also removes moisture from the air conditioned space in the form of condensation, which can be recycled to cool the residential air conditioning equipment, or simply drained away outside. Thus, residential air conditioning will also act to dehumidify a space while cooling it. This can be nearly a necessity, in areas with both high heat and high humidity.

Many older residences, especially those without the ductwork of forced hot air heating systems will have a number of self-contained window or wall air conditioning units cooling individual rooms. Many newer residences are constructed with central units, which are generally larger and able to cool the entire residence from an external central location. Central residential air conditioners use ducting to direct cool air throughout the home. The cooling equipment, condensers, compressors, fans, etc. are located outside the building, with cooling outlets, or registers, in each room. In addition to the ability to cool an entire house, central air conditioners have the added advantage of leaving the noise of the fans and compressor motors outside, rather than in the room.

Split-system residential air conditioning units, sometimes called ductless units, are becoming popular today. These units are deigned similarly to central air conditioning units, with the condensing and compressing functions in an outdoor location, and the air handling equipment and evaporation coils located in small housings located high on the walls of individual rooms. Though expensive to install, ductless, split-system residential air conditioning units are far more efficient and cost effective to run than are window/wall-mounted units or central air conditioning devices.

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    • A central air conditioning unit.
      By: carroteater
      A central air conditioning unit.