Air Conditioning Definition
From the time of the Egyptians right up to the present, mankind has created ways in the area of air conditioning to make his experience here more pleasant or at least tolerable. The dry sands of deserts, the high elevations of mountains, and the humid conditions of jungles have produced processes and technologies that eliminate uncomfortable conditions.
In the field of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning(HVAC) the leading body that defines and regulates standards is the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers(ASRAE). This organization is also effective in influencing legislation regarding the installation, maintenance, and use of HVAC in America.
This organization defines air conditioning as “the process of treating air so as to control simultaneously its temperature, humidity, cleanliness, and distribution to meet the requirement of the conditioned air space.” (Althouse, Turnquist, Bracciano, 2000).
It is important to note that HVAC is a subdiscipline of mechanical engineering and is based on the accurate application of the laws of thermodynamics, the mechanics of fluidity and the science of heat transfer.
Factors in the AC Process
Temperature Control: The process of temperature control is one that requires the assessment of temperature within a defined space and the objects within that space. Heat energy is regulated within a closed system to achieve a desired temperature.
Temperature control is something that happens within a well defined closed control loop. A thermostat is used to assess the temperature of a space and is there to either increase or decrease temperature based on a set point decided upon by the inhabitants.
Some thermostats are simple in that they only turn the AC or heating system on or off. Others are highly sensitive technologies that incrementally regulate temperature to strike a balance between actual and desired temperatures.
Humidifiers are necessary to increase the level of moisture in the air. These technologies will have varying capacities and have residential and commercial applications. It is possible in residential settings to humidify large areas or single rooms using stand alone products. Large HVAC systems in military settings, hospitals and institutions use humidifiers to make there inhabitants more comfortable and create an atmosphere in which objects, machinery, and items produced are better.
Dehumidifiers are designed to remove moisture from the air. They vary in size and application also. Dehumidifiers are necessary for comfort, but also for health reasons. The reduction of moisture in the atmosphere can result in a decrease of musty smells, mold, and other contaminants that require water to thrive. The reduction and extraction of humidity from the air is expressed as condensate and is discarded by draining or evaporation.
21st century living and manufacturing has produced a host of contaminants that dwell in our atmosphere. The body naturally filters out toxins and contaminants through various organs of the body such as the lungs, liver and epidermis. It is said that either one can use filters or be one.
A particulate filter is used in HVAC to remove solid particulates such as mold, dust, pet dander, and bacteria. They are also capable of removing volatile organic compounds that also impact our environment. Air filtration is used in the home but also in buildings where many people gather to reduce the spread of air borne disease.
Ventilation and Air Movement
Ventilation is about the process of moving and exchanging air in a space. Ventilation will remove smells and excessive moisture. It allows and provides a way for the influx of outside air to the conditioned space.
The accurate ventilation of a defined space does much to improve the indoor air quality of a space and help regulate the relative health of the inhabitants. There are natural and mechanical forms of ventilation that may be employed in the overall installation of an HVAC system in a home or commercial application.
All four of these factors must come together in a cohesive and seamless whole to produce a professional level of air quality and comfort.