Central Air Conditioning

The technical term for central air conditioning is centralized air conditioning. It is also referred to as central air or AC, which is short for air conditioning. Although central air conditioning and air conditioning are indeed both methods to cool the air, the two systems are not really the same. When most people mention air conditioning or an air conditioner, they are referring to an air conditioning unit.


Air Conditioning vs. Central Air Conditioning

Air conditioning units may be purchased as freestanding units or units that are installed into the wall. Air conditioning units are mobile refrigerating devices typically equipped with a blower that provides a continuous flow of cold, filtered air.

Central air conditioning is a complex system, typically installed when a building is constructed, that provides heating, cooling, filtering and ventilation as needed. The system utilizes supply and return ducts throughout the structure to circulate air or pipes to distribute cool water to heat exchangers.

Central Air Conditioning System Design

Depending on the amount of space, number of occupants, type of structure, and the purpose of the space or building, a central air conditioning system can be designed in a number of ways.

A central air conditioning system for a building where smoking is prohibited may be different from a system designed for a factory where toxic chemicals and dangerous fumes are present. In one case, air can be re-circulated, in the other, air mixed with chemicals or fumes cannot be re-circulated. In places such as labs and factories, a constant supply of heated or cooled fresh air must be provided.

Types of Central Air Conditioning Systems

There are two types of central air conditioning systems:

  • Split-system
  • Packaged unit.

Split system central air conditioning consists of a metal cabinet, located outdoors, which contains the compressor and condenser. The evaporator is located in a cabinet indoors.

The split system is considered the most economical choice. With a package system, all of the components, which may also include heating coils or a furnace, are located in a single cabinet. The cabinet is located on the roof of the structure or on a concrete slab next to the structures foundation.

Benefits of Central Air Conditioning Systems

Unlike air conditioning units, which are plugged into an electrical outlet, a central air conditioning system is typically automated by computer technology. The computer technology used to automate central air conditioning systems helps to conserve energy. Central air conditioning systems are practically invisible, they are convenient to operate and unlike most wall units, they are whisper quiet.

For more information on air conditions see the following articles from HomeDoctor.net: Air Conditioning Systems, Portable Air Conditioners and Window Air Conditioners.