Air conditioning installation has been on the rise for the past years; it’s rare to find an office space without it and it’s understandable why. But have you heard of using air conditioning to warm the office over the winter rather than simply cool it down?
How air conditioning works
Let’s start with a quick overview of how air conditioning works. The first thing we need to understand is the ‘vapour compression refrigeration cycle’ – this refers to all types of air con systems from small home ones to massive industrial units. The process works because of a chemical refrigerant that carries heat from one part of the system to another before releasing it.
In this system, the chemical is compressed into a high-pressure gas that is very hot and pumped into a tube known as a coil. The most common one is called Freon and this flows through the coil, with the heat being extracted by a fan. Once cooled down, the gas returns to a liquid state and then passes through an expansion valve which lowers its pressure. Lastly, it is then pumped into an evaporator.
This is just another coil where the chemical is turned into a gas by pulling heat from the air. Gas absorbs the heat and cold air is produced, which is then pumped into the room. This is an efficient way of transferring heat from inside a building to the outside.
Heating with air conditioning
So that’s how air conditioning systems cool the air and the building but what about heating it? Essentially, the process is reversed with the addition of a reserving valve. This changes the flow of energy and makes an air cooling system into a warming one.
To do this, the flow of coolant shifts in direction. Where the coils would normally be cold, they become hot. This means rather than removing warm air and pumping out cold, the system will remove cold air and pump out hot.
Benefits of heating with air conditioning
There are two main reasons that people choose to heat with air conditioning as opposed to a traditional heater – economical and environmental. An air conditioner inverter [HW1] uses less electricity than a normal heater because conventional resistance heaters convert the electricity itself into the heat. This means air conditioners are using a natural process to create heat and the electricity used is only to power the components within the device, not to create the heat.
That leads into the environmental benefits – the less electricity we use and more energy efficient our businesses and homes are, the better this is for the environment. And by using one system for two processes, you use less equipment which means less production and associated costs. You only need one system which is cheaper to maintain and takes up less space within the property[JA2] .