What Part Do Heat Exchangers Play in Air Conditioning?

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Heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) systems are essentially the lungs of any building – be it home or office. But without a heat exchanger, these systems would be rendered almost useless.

So what is a heat exchanger and what makes it an essential part of any HVAC system?

How Does It Work?

Heat exchangers come in a few different forms, but for the purpose of this blog we will highlight the coil heat exchanger and the plate heat exchanger.

Both use similar principles to transfer heat between two mediums, with the end results being a warmer or colder environment for us to live in.

Coil heat exchangers see one gas/fluid flow through a number of tubes while a second gas/fluid is run over the top of these tubes. Using convection and conduction, the temperature of one is transferred into another as it passes through.

The HVAC system can then disperse the freshly tempered gas/fluid two through the home or office while the other flows from the tubes to return to its former temperature.

A similar process is observed in plate heat exchangers, except here fluid one and two flow through adjacent routes separated by a thin sheet of metal – generally aluminium, steel or titanium. The heat from one fluid is transferred into the plate and across to the second fluid to be dispersed once more.

Where Do These Gases/Fluids Come From?

When a HVAC system is used to cool an environment, air is taken from outside and cooled before entering the room.

This can be done using air, water, or an innovative material called refrigerant.
For this blog, we will use refrigerant as an example because it effectively represents the middle ground between air and water.

Refrigerant has been manufactured to absorb heat (through the methods described earlier) and evaporate into a gas when it reaches a certain temperature. Conversely, when cold air passes through a coil or plate heat exchanger, the refrigerant will cool and condense, leaving warm air to disperse.

Where Do They Go?

Once air or fluid has absorbed the unwanted heat, the HVAC system will release this outside. Alternatively, if using refrigerant, the heat exchanger will have it flow away from the site of exchange and allow it to return to its original gas or liquid form.

This means refrigerant can be used reliably in the same HVAC system for years without replacement, but is much harder to reuse once it’s reclaimed from the system.

Contact Masterflow Today

For more information on heat exchangers and their part in HVAC systems, contact Masterlow’s expert team.

From the design process to making your project happen, Masterflow offers full support. For help in ordering a heat exchanger or any of its components, or for any questions about the technology, visit the contact section of our website and get in touch by phone or email.