From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
|This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.|
HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) is the technology of indoor and automotive environmental comfort. HVAC system design is a major subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, based on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. Refrigeration is sometimes added to the field's abbreviation as HVAC&R or HVACR, or ventilating is dropped as in HACR (such as the designation of HACR-rated circuit breakers).
HVAC is important in the design of medium to large industrial and office buildings such as skyscrapers and in marine environments such as aquariums, where safe and healthy building conditions are regulated with respect to temperature and humidity, using fresh air from outdoors.
Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning is based on inventions and discoveries made by Nikolay Lvov, Michael Faraday, Willis Carrier, Reuben Trane, James Joule, William Rankine, Sadi Carnot, and many others.
The invention of the components of HVAC systems went hand-in-hand with the industrial revolution, and new methods of modernization, higher efficiency, and system control are constantly introduced by companies and inventors all over the world. The three central functions of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning are interrelated, especially with the need to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality within reasonable installation, operation, and maintenance costs. HVAC systems can provide ventilation, reduce air infiltration, and maintain pressure relationships between spaces. How air is delivered to, and removed from spaces is known as room air distribution.
The starting point in carrying out a heat estimate both for cooling and heating will depend on the ambient and inside conditions specified. However before taking up the heat load calculation, it is necessary to find fresh air requirements for each area in detail, as pressurization is an important consideration.
In modern buildings the design, installation, and control systems of these functions are integrated into one or more HVAC systems. For very small buildings, contractors normally "size" and select HVAC systems and equipment. For larger buildings, building services designers and engineers, such as mechanical, architectural, or building services engineers analyze, design, and specify the HVAC systems, and specialty mechanical contractors build and commission them. Building permits and code-compliance inspections of the installations are normally required for all sizes of buildings.
The HVAC industry is a worldwide enterprise, with roles including operation and maintenance, system design and construction, equipment manufacturing and sales, and in education and research. The HVAC industry was historically regulated by the manufacturers of HVAC equipment, but Regulating and Standards organizations such as HARDI, ASHRAE, SMACNA, ACCA, Uniform Mechanical Code, International Mechanical Code, and AMCA have been established to support the industry and encourage high standards and achievement.
There are many different types of heating systems. Central heating is often used in cold climates to heat private houses and public buildings. Such a system contains a boiler, furnace, or heat pump to heat water, steam, or air in a central location such as a furnace room in a home or a mechanical room in a large building. The use of water as the heat transfer medium is known as hydronics. These systems also contain either ductwork for forced air systems or piping to distribute a heated fluid and radiators to transfer this heat to the air. The term radiator in this context is misleading since most heat transfer from the heat exchanger is by convection, not radiation. The radiators may be mounted on walls or buried in the floor to give under-floor heat.
All but the simplest boiler-fed or radiant heating systems have a pump to circulate the water and ensure an equal supply of heat to all the radiators. The heated water can also be fed through another (secondary) heat exchanger inside a storage cylinder to provide hot running water.
Heat can also be provided electrically by resistive heating, in which conductive filaments are heated by the passage of electricity. This is used in baseboard heaters, portable heaters, and as backup or supplemental heating for heat pump (or reverse heating) systems.
The heat pump is a form of heating that gained popularity in the 1950’s. Heat pumps can extract heat from the air or suck heat from the ground. Heat pumps work well in moderate climates, where summers are long and winters are mild. However, they tend to be more expensive than conventional heating systems and although more energy efficient, a ground extraction system is more costly.
The heating elements (radiators or vents) should be located in the coldest part of the room, typically next to the windows, to minimize condensation and offset the convective air current formed in the room due to the air next to the window becoming negatively buoyant due to the cold glass. Devices that direct vents away from windows to prevent "wasted" heat defeat this design intent. Cold air drafts can contribute significantly to subjectively feeling colder than the average room temperature, and for this reason it is important to control air leaks from outside in addition to properly designing the heating system.
The use of furnaces, space heaters and boilers as means of indoor heating may result in incomplete combustion and the emission of carbon monoxide, NOx, formaldehyde, VOC’s and other combustion by-products. Incomplete combustion occurs when there is insufficient oxygen; the inputs are fuels containing various contaminants and the outputs are the harmful by-products, most dangerously carbon monoxide which is a tasteless and odorless gas that has serious adverse health effects when inhaled. 
Without proper ventilation, carbon monoxide can be extremely dangerous and can vary from a small, limited amount to a lethal amount. Carbon monoxide can be lethal at high concentration, usually less than 1000 ppmv. However, at several hundred ppmv, carbon monoxide exposure can induce headaches, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Carbon monoxide binds with hemoglobin in the blood, forming carboxyhemoglobin, reducing the blood’s ability to transport oxygen. The primary health concerns associated with carbon monoxide exposure are its cardiovascular and neurobehavioral effects. Carbon monoxide can cause atherosclerosis; the hardening of arteries, and can also trigger heart attacks. Neurologically, carbon monoxide exposure reduces hand to eye coordination, vigilance and continuous performance. It can also affect your time discrimination. 
Ventilation is the process of "changing" or replacing air in any space to control temperature or remove any combination of moisture, odors, smoke, heat, dust, airborne bacteria or carbon dioxide, and to replenish oxygen. Ventilation includes both the exchange of air with the outside as well as circulation of air within the building. It is one of the most important factors for maintaining acceptable indoor air quality in buildings. Methods for ventilating a building may be divided into mechanical/forced and natural types.
"Mechanical" or "forced" ventilation is provided by an air handler and used to control indoor air quality. Excess humidity, odors, and contaminants can often be controlled via dilution or replacement with outside air. However, in humid climates much energy is required to remove excess moisture from ventilation air.
Kitchens and bathrooms typically have mechanical exhausts to control odors and sometimes humidity. Factors in the design of such systems include the flow rate (which is a function of the fan speed and exhaust vent size) and noise level. Direct drive fans are available for many applications, and can reduce maintenance needs.
Ceiling fans and table/floor fans circulate air within a room for the purpose of reducing the perceived temperature by increasing evaporation of perspiration on the skin of the occupants. Because hot air rises, ceiling fans may be used to keep a room warmer in the winter by circulating the warm stratified air from the ceiling to the floor.
Natural ventilation is the ventilation of a building with outside air without the use of fans or other mechanical systems. It can be achieved with openable windows or trickle vents when the spaces to ventilate are small and the architecture permits. In more complex systems warm air in the building can be allowed to rise and flow out upper openings to the outside (stack effect) thus forcing cool outside air to be drawn into the building naturally through openings in the lower areas. These systems use very little energy but care must be taken to ensure the occupants' comfort. In warm or humid months in many climates maintaining thermal comfort solely via natural ventilation may not be possible so conventional air conditioning systems are used as backups. Air-side economizers perform the same function as natural ventilation, but use mechanical systems' fans, ducts, dampers, and control systems to introduce and distribute cool outdoor air when appropriate.
An important component of natural ventilation is the concept of air changes per hour. Air changes per hour is a rate used to describe the amount of ventilation moving through an area with respect to the size of the space. AC/hr is used to determine room pressure, whether it is positive or negative. Positive pressure occurs when there is more air being supplied than exhausted and conversely, negative pressure occurs when more air is being exhausted than supplied. When contaminants are being kept out, positive pressure is occurring and when things are being kept in, negative pressure is occurring. 
To establish AC/hr the room volume must be calculated first. Next, identify all supply and exhaust points in the room, these are where air enters and leaves the space. Determine the area and cross sectional velocity for each supply or exhaust grill in the room. Then, calculate the flow rate for each and sum the flows. Finally, use the calculation
–AC/hr= Q x60/volume 
Natural ventilation is a key factor in reducing the spread of airborne illnesses such as tuberculosis, the common cold, influenza and meningitis. Opening doors, windows and using ceiling fans are all ways to maximize natural ventilation and reduce the risk of airborne contagion. Natural ventilation requires no maintenance and is not costly. 
Air conditioning and refrigeration are provided through the removal of heat. Heat can be removed through radiation, convection, and by heat pump systems through a process called the refrigeration cycle. Refrigeration conduction media such as water, air, ice, and chemicals are referred to as refrigerants.
The refrigeration cycle uses four essential elements to create a cooling effect. The system refrigerant starts its cycle in a gaseous state. The compressor pumps the refrigerant gas up to a high pressure and temperature. From there it enters a heat exchanger (sometimes called a "condensing coil" or condenser) where it loses energy (heat) to the outside. In the process the refrigerant condenses into a liquid. The liquid refrigerant is returned indoors to another heat exchanger ("evaporating coil" or evaporator). A metering device allows the liquid to flow in at a low pressure at the proper rate. As the liquid refrigerant evaporates it absorbs energy (heat) from the inside air, returns to the compressor, and repeats the cycle. In the process heat is absorbed from indoors and transferred outdoors, resulting in cooling of the building.
In variable climates, the system may include a reversing valve that automatically switches from heating in winter to cooling in summer. By reversing the flow of refrigerant, the heat pump refrigeration cycle is changed from cooling to heating or vice versa. This allows a residence or facility to be heated and cooled by a single piece of equipment, by the same means, and with the same hardware.
Central, 'all-air' air conditioning systems (or package systems) with a combined outdoor condenser/evaporator unit are often installed in modern residences, offices, and public buildings, but are difficult to retrofit (install in a building that was not designed to receive it) because of the bulky air ducts required to carry the needed air to heat or cool an area. The duct system must be carefully maintained to prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as legionella in the ducts.
An alternative to central systems is the use of separate indoor and outdoor coils in split systems. These systems, although most often seen in residential applications, are gaining popularity in small commercial buildings. The evaporator coil is connected to a remote condenser unit using refrigerant piping between an indoor and outdoor unit instead of ducting air directly from the outdoor unit. Indoor units with directional vents mount onto walls, suspend from ceilings, or fit into the ceiling. Other indoor units mount inside the ceiling cavity, so that short lengths of duct handle air from the indoor unit to vents or diffusers around the room or rooms.
Dehumidification in an air conditioning system is provided by the evaporator. Since the evaporator operates at a temperature below dew point, moisture in the air condenses on the evaporator coil tubes. This moisture is collected at the bottom of the evaporator in a pan and removed by piping to a central drain or onto the ground outside. A dehumidifier is an air-conditioner-like device that controls the humidity of a room or building. It is often employed in basements which have a higher relative humidity because of their lower temperature (and propensity for damp floors and walls). In food retailing establishments, large open chiller cabinets are highly effective at dehumidifying the internal air. Conversely, a humidifier increases the humidity of a building.
Air-conditioned buildings often have sealed windows, because open windows would work against an HVAC system intended to maintain constant indoor air conditions.
All modern air conditioning systems, down to small "window" package units, are equipped with internal air filters. These are generally of a lightweight gauzy material, and must be replaced as conditions warrant (some models may be washable). For example, a building in a high-dust environment, or a home with furry pets, will need to have the filters changed more often than buildings without these dirt loads. Failure to replace these filters as needed will contribute to a lower heat-exchange rate, resulting in wasted energy, shortened equipment life, and higher energy bills; low air flow can result in "iced-up" or "iced-over" evaporator coils, which can completely stop air flow. Additionally, very dirty or plugged filters can cause overheating during a heating cycle, and can result in damage to the system or even fire.
It is important to keep in mind that because an air conditioner moves heat between the indoor coil and the outdoor coil, both must be kept just as clean. This means that, in addition to replacing the air filter at the evaporator coil, it is also necessary to regularly clean the condenser coil. Failure to keep the condenser clean will eventually result in harm to the compressor, because the condenser coil is responsible for discharging both the indoor heat (as picked up by the evaporator) and the heat generated by the electric motor driving the compressor.
Outside, "fresh" air is generally drawn into the system by a vent into the indoor heat exchanger section, creating positive air pressure. The percentage of return air made up of fresh air can usually be manipulated by adjusting the opening of this vent.
For the last 20 to 30 years, manufacturers of HVAC equipment have been making an effort to make the systems they manufacture more efficient. This was originally driven by rising energy costs, and has more recently been driven by increased awareness of environmental issues. In the USA, the EPA has also imposed tighter restrictions. There are several methods for making HVAC systems more efficient.
Water heating is more efficient for heating buildings and was the standard many years ago. Today forced air systems can double for air conditioning and are more popular.
Some benefits of forced air systems, which are now widely used in churches, schools and high-end residences, are
A drawback is the installation cost, which can be slightly higher than traditional HVAC systems'.
Energy efficiency can be improved even more in central heating systems by introducing zoned heating. This allows a more granular application of heat, similar to non-central heating systems. Zones are controlled by multiple thermostats. In water heating systems the thermostats control zone valves, and in forced air systems they control zone dampers inside the vents which selectively block the flow of air. In this case, the control system is very critical to maintaining a proper temperature.
Geothermal heat pumps are similar to ordinary heat pumps, but instead of using heat found in outside air, they rely on the stable, even heat of the earth to provide heating, air conditioning and, in most cases, hot water. The heat extracted through a geothermal heat pump can come from any source, despite the temperature. However, the warmer the source of heat, the more energy efficient it will be.  From Montana's −70 °F (−57 °C) temperature to the highest temperature ever recorded in the U.S.—134 °F (56.7 °C) in Death Valley, California, in 1913—many parts of the country experience seasonal temperature extremes. A few feet below the earth's surface, however, the ground remains at a relatively constant temperature. Although the temperatures vary according to latitude, at 6 feet (1.83 m) underground, temperatures only range from 45 to 75 °F (7.2 to 23.9 °C).
While they may be more costly to install than regular heat pumps, they can produce markedly lower energy bills—30 to 40 percent lower, according to estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Energy recovery systems sometimes utilize heat recovery ventilation or energy recovery ventilation systems that employ heat exchangers or enthalpy wheels to recover sensible or latent heat from exhausted air. This is done by transfer of energy to the incoming outside fresh air.
The performance of vapor compression refrigeration cycles is limited by thermodynamics. These air conditioning and heat pump devices move heat rather than convert it from one form to another, so thermal efficiencies do not appropriately describe the performance of these devices. The Coefficient-of-Performance (COP) measures performance, but this dimensionless measure has not been adopted, but rather the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). EER is the Energy Efficiency Ratio based on a 35 °C (95 °F) outdoor temperature. To more accurately describe the performance of air conditioning equipment over a typical cooling season a modified version of the EER is used, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), or in Europe the ESEER. SEER ratings are based on seasonal temperature averages instead of a constant 35 °C outdoor temperature. The current industry minimum SEER rating is 13 SEER.
Engineers have pointed out some areas where efficiency of the existing hardware could be improved. For example, the fan blades used to move the air are usually stamped from sheet metal, an economical method of manufacture, but as a result they are not aerodynamically efficient. A well-designed blade could reduce electrical power required to move the air by a third.
Air cleaning and filtration is an important factor of our indoor environment because cleaning the air filters out what the lungs cannot by removing particles, contaminants, vapors and gases from the air. The filtered and cleaned air then is used in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Air cleaning and filtration should be taken in account when protecting our building environments.
Clean air delivery rate is the amount of clean air an air cleaner provides to a room or space. When determining CADR, the amount of airflow in a space is taken into account. For example, an air cleaner with a flow rate of 100 cfm (cubic feet per minute) and an efficiency of 50% has a CADR of 50 cfm. Along with CADR, filtration performance is very important when it comes to the air in our indoor environment. Filter performance depends on the size of the particle or fiber, the filter packing density and depth and also the air flow rate.
ISO16813:2006 is one of the ISO building environment standards. It establishes the general principles of building environment design. It takes into account the need to provide a healthy indoor environment for the occupants as well as the need to protect the environment for future generations and promote collaboration among the various parties involved in building environmental design for sustainability. ISO16813 is applicable to new construction and the retrofit of existing buildings.
The building environmental design standard aims to:
In the United States, HVAC engineers generally are members of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), EPA Universal CFC certified, or locally engineer certified such as a Special to Chief Boilers License issued by the state or, in some jurisdictions, the city. ASHRAE is an international technical society for all individuals and organizations interested in HVAC. The Society, organized into regions, chapters, and student branches, allows exchange of HVAC knowledge and experiences for the benefit of the field's practitioners and the public. ASHRAE provides many opportunities to participate in the development of new knowledge via, for example, research and its many technical committees. These committees typically meet twice per year at the ASHRAE Annual and Winter Meetings. A popular product show, the AHR Expo, is held in conjunction with each winter meeting. The Society has approximately 50,000 members and has headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
The most recognized standards for HVAC design are based on ASHRAE data. The most general of four volumes of the ASHRAE Handbook is Fundamentals; it includes heating and cooling calculations. Each volume of the ASHRAE Handbook is updated every four years. The design professional must consult ASHRAE data for the standards of design and care as the typical building codes provide little to no information on HVAC design practices; codes such as the UMC and IMC do include much detail on installation requirements, however. Other useful reference materials include items from SMACNA, ACCA, and technical trade journals.
American design standards are legislated in the Uniform Mechanical Code or International Mechanical Code. In certain states, counties, or cities, either of these codes may be adopted and amended via various legislative processes. These codes are updated and published by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) or the International Code Council (ICC) respectively, on a 3-year code development cycle. Typically, local building permit departments are charged with enforcement of these standards on private and certain public properties.
In the United States, as well as throughout the world, HVAC contractors and companies are members of NADCA, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. NADCA was formed in 1989 as a non-profit association of companies engaged in the cleaning of HVAC systems. Its mission was to promote source removal as the only acceptable method of cleaning and to establish industry standards for the association. NADCA has expanded its mission to include the representation of qualified companies engaged in the assessment, cleaning, and restoration of HVAC systems, and to assist its members in providing high quality service to their customers. The goal of the association is to be the number one source for the HVAC cleaning and restoration services. NADCA has experienced large membership growth and has been extremely successful with the training and certification of air systems cleaning specialists, mold remediators, and HVAC inspectors. The association has also published important standards and guidelines, educational materials, and other useful information for the consumers and members of NADCA. Their headquarters are located in Washington, D.C.
The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers is a body that covers the essential Service (systems architecture) that allow buildings to operate. It includes the electrotechnical, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, refrigeration and plumbing industries. To train as a building services engineer, the academic requirements are GCSEs (A-C) / Standard Grades (1-3) in Maths and Science, which are important in measurements, planning and theory. Employers will often want a degree in a branch of engineering, such as building environment engineering, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. To become a full member of CIBSE, and so also to be registered by the Engineering Council UK as a chartered engineer, engineers must also attain an Honours Degree and a Masters Degree in a relevant engineering subject.
CIBSE publishes several guides to HVAC design relevant to the UK market, and also the Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. These guides include various recommended design criteria and standards, some of which are cited within the UK building regulations, and therefore form a legislative requirement for major building services works. The main guides are:
Within the construction sector, it is the job of the building services engineer to design and oversee the installation and maintenance of the essential services such as gas, electricity, water, heating and lighting, as well as many others. These all help to make buildings comfortable and healthy places to live and work in. Building Services is part of a sector that has over 51,000 businesses and employs represents 2%-3% of the GDP.
The Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association of Australia (AMCA), Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH), and CIBSE are responsible.
The Philippine Society of Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigerating Engineers (PSVARE) along with Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers (PSME) govern on the codes and standards for HVAC / MVAC in the Philippines.
The Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) was established to promote the HVAC industry in India. ISHRAE is an associate of ASHRAE. ISHRAE was started at Delhi in 1981 and a chapter was started in Bangalore in 1989. Between 1989 & 1993, ISHRAE chapters were formed in all major cities in India and also in the Middle East.