Today, the HVAC equipment market is represented by equipment from more than twenty-five companies: from the simplest air conditioners to expensive elite systems. The most popular split systems were Hitachi, LG, Panasonic, Sanyo, Samsung, Electra, General, Daikin and Elemash. Among the most purchased air conditioners, there are affordable LG, Samsung, Elemash, designed for the middle class Hitachi and General, and elite equipment from Daikin, Panasonic, Sanyo and Mitsubishi Electric..
According to experts, wall-mounted split systems are in the greatest demand among household air conditioners (50-70% of total sales), channel split systems make up 20-30%; window and other air conditioners – up to 10%. For offices, shops, restaurants, taking into account the specifics of their equipment, the main type of purchased air conditioners is ceiling and floor split systems. Split systems of wall type prevail in demand for air conditioners for apartments. When purchasing an air conditioner, it should be borne in mind that the main factor determining its service life is the resource of the compressor.
Despite the similarity of functions, it is difficult to imagine that an air conditioner can be compared to a refrigerator. But, according to experts, there is nothing wrong with such a comparison, because according to its design, the air conditioner is a refrigeration machine designed for thermal and humidity treatment of air supplied to the room.
If we are talking about the most common air conditioners that cool air, then it should be noted that their design is based on a compression refrigeration cycle, the main structural elements of which are a compressor, an evaporator, a condenser and a flow regulator (capillary tube), connected by pipelines and representing a closed system. in which the refrigerant (freon) is circulated by the compressor.
By design, the compressors used in refrigeration machines are divided into four groups: reciprocating, rotary, scroll Scroll and screw. In turn, reciprocating compressors are divided into hermetic, semi-hermetic and open. Rotary compressors suction and compress the gaseous refrigerant using the rotary-translational movement of the plates. The advantage of rotary, scroll and screw compressors is a significant reduction in pressure pulsations and starting currents due to the rotational movement of the working bodies. It should be borne in mind that such compressors do not have an oil sump, therefore, the possibility of oil ejection when starting the compressor is greatly reduced..
During the operation of the air conditioner, the following occurs: gaseous freon is supplied to the compressor inlet at low pressure of 3 – 5 atmospheres. The compressor compresses it to a pressure of 10 – 15 atmospheres, as a result, the refrigerant heats up, after which it enters the condenser. Due to the intensive blowing of the condenser, freon cools down and passes from gaseous form to liquid form with the release of additional heat. This heats up the air passing through the condenser. From the condenser, liquid freon enters the evaporator through a pressure reducing valve. In the evaporator, the refrigerant pressure decreases and the evaporation process begins, accompanied by the absorption of heat. Thus, the temperature of the evaporator is lowered, which in turn leads to a cooling of the air stream passing through the evaporator and entering the conditioned room. Then the gaseous freon returns to the compressor inlet and the whole cycle repeats.
An air conditioner can not only cool, but also heat the air if its refrigeration circuit is capable of operating both in cooling mode and in a “heat pump” mode. As a rule, household air conditioners can operate in the “heating” mode at an outside temperature of at least -5C. True, with the onset of real cold weather, problems cannot be avoided. The drainage system of the air conditioner usually goes outside, and if the water still has time to flow out with a slight frost, then at -10 it will inevitably freeze. The device begins to rumble, leaks inward. Subcooling of the refrigerant is also possible, leading to a sharp decrease in operating efficiency..
It should be remembered that the air conditioner is still used for cooling, space heating is an additional function. The device can warm up a little in the off-season, but will never replace a real heating system.
An air conditioner can also solve the problem of dehumidification. This feature is especially useful in summer, when it often hovers before the rain. Moreover, the air can not only be dried, but also cleaned. Some models have fine filters capable of capturing particles in a hundredth of a micron: fine dust, pollen, cigarette smoke. This is important for patients with bronchial asthma, people with allergies.
What the market offers?
One of the main factors affecting the purchase of air conditioners for an apartment or office is their cost. We can conditionally single out: the sector of inexpensive air conditioners, presented by South Korean firms Daewoo, LG, Samsung; the sector of middle class air conditioners (by value), produced by such firms as Delonghi, Electra, Fuji, Fujitsu, as well as the sector of air conditioners of a higher level both in quality and cost. These include air conditioners manufactured by Daikin, Mitsubishi Electric, Mitzubishi Daya, Toshiba.
Taking into account the rather limited financial possibilities of consumers, air conditioners from South Korean firms LG, Samsung are in the greatest demand. Thus, according to various estimates, the share of Samsung and LG products in the total sales of household air conditioners is more than 50%, and the rest falls on the products of Daikin, Delonghi, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Toshiba and others. Since in the last issue we talked about quite expensive models of the world’s leading manufacturers, today we will turn our attention to medium and “economy” class air conditioners.
The ratio of prices for the same type of household air conditioners, for example, from LG and Mitsubishi, is 1 to 1.5-2. Air conditioners from the Japanese company Daikin are very reliable, and this immediately affects their price, which is 2-3 times higher than the prices for models of other companies. The lowest prices are for air conditioners from LG, Samsung, higher – models from Panasonic, Electra, Tochiba, etc., further in terms of cost (upward) are similar products from such companies as Daikin, Mitsubishi, Sharp.
LG air conditioners (South Korea) have been produced since 1968. The range includes window air conditioners, split systems for wall, floor-ceiling, columnar, and since 1999 – cassette and duct types. 29 models are supplied to Russia. LG window air conditioners provide fresh air ventilation, are easy to operate and easy to install. Certain models of LG window air conditioners are equipped with a remote control and can work in the “heating” (“heat pump”) mode. Adjustable front louvers allow for both vertical and horizontal airflow.
In addition, some models of window air conditioners may have additional functions: “Auto restart” – resumption of work in case of power failure; “Hot start” – exclusion of cold air supply when starting in heating mode; automatic regulation in the “sleep” mode; auto mode.
Split systems LG provide cooling and heating of indoor air. They are equipped with a programmable timer, an air purification system, a preventive filter, and a remote control with a liquid crystal display. Some models are equipped with a plasma air ionizer. These air conditioners are quite economical, have a good quality-price ratio..
LG split systems allow you to get a natural breeze by changing the angle of inclination and speed of movement of the plates according to the “chlos” program. They are equipped with electrostatic and deodorizing air purification filters, which captures very small particles of a fraction of a micron, tobacco smoke, pollen, as well as removing unpleasant odors and tiny fungi suspended in the air.
Samsung air conditioners, as a rule, are equipped with the Bio air purification system, which reliably protects the serviced room from dust, odors, tobacco smoke and pollen..
Improved electronics have significantly increased the capabilities of air conditioners due to the emergence of new operating modes, such as, for example, “Power” – an increase in the volume of passed air and fan frequency to quickly and evenly drop the temperature in the room in case of very hot weather; “Silance” – reduction of the noise level by about 1.5 times with a slight decrease in performance under normal conditions; “Saving” – saving electricity consumed by the air conditioner when precise temperature maintenance is not required; “Nature” – ensuring precise maintenance of the set temperature. Samsung air conditioners have additional functions: “Turbo”, which provides quick cooling or heating within 30 minutes; “overload of installations”, which allows not to re-set all the settings of the air conditioner in the event of an accidental power outage (after the power supply resumes, the air conditioner will continue to operate in the same (previously set) mode. Separate wall-mounted Samsung split systems provide automatic air circulation due to the continuous movement of the ventilation flaps, thereby directing the treated air to different places in the room.
The Japanese company Sanyo manufactures a full range of residential, semi-industrial and industrial air conditioners, including refrigerators and VRF systems. It ranks second in the world in terms of output. The company has 12 factories in nine countries of the world, the largest of which are in Japan, Singapore and Italy (Argo-Sanyo-Clima). Delivers 30 models to Russia.
Until recently, the Panasonic company (Japan) specialized in window air conditioners and domestic split systems. However, in 1994, with the start of the production of semi-industrial split systems, and in 1997 – VRF systems, the range of products offered has significantly expanded. Factories are located in Japan, Malaysia and China. More than 50 models are supplied to Russia.
Household air conditioners Panasonic are considered high quality and reliable technical systems that provide cooling, heating, dehumidification, ventilation of premises. The Panasonic split-systems design includes devices that provide additional functions “Auto restart”, “Hot start”, automatic control of operating modes and fan speed. The built-in self-diagnostic system detects any malfunction and issues a message about it to the remote control, which significantly reduces the time for repairing the air conditioner.
Hyundai air conditioners have been produced since 1962. The company is a leader in South Korea in the production of air conditioners for cars, trains, office buildings, apartments, as well as semi-industrial and industrial air conditioners. Hyundai occupies 1/3 of South Korea’s air conditioning market.
Hitachi manufactures a full range of residential and semi-industrial air conditioners, as well as VRF class systems. Has a priority in the development of Scroll compressors, and also produces window air conditioners and split systems for the Electrolux company. It has factories in Japan, Spain, Brazil, China and Taiwan. Delivers more than 120 models to Russia, including inverter multisplit systems.
According to experts, ducted air conditioners of the Carrier transnational corporation are well suited for our climate, since they can operate in the “heating” mode at an outside air temperature of up to -15C, while air conditioners of other companies operate in this mode, as a rule, at a temperature outside air up to – 6 – 8C.
Channel air conditioners Carrier of the JS and JX series meet almost any consumer requirements for creating the required microclimate due to a wide selection of standard sizes of indoor and outdoor units. It should also be noted that the indoor units of air conditioners of both series are the same, and the outdoor units are different. The difference between them is that the JS series air conditioners have a higher cooling capacity than the JX series..
The advantage of the Carrier GKX series cassette split systems is the ability to mix fresh air into the treated air. Considering the high quality and cost of Carrier air conditioners, these systems are installed in conference rooms, large offices.
The Japanese company DeLonghi began its activity (we are talking about the production of air conditioners) with the production of mobile air conditioners. Today it ranks first in the world in this segment. Owns large stakes in Climaveneta and Clivet. Since 1998, with the commissioning of a new plant, production has been completely transferred to Italy. Delivers more than 50 models to Russia.
What determines the service life of the air conditioner
Choosing an air conditioner model is half the battle. It is impossible to truly appreciate its merits until it is installed. As you know, split systems are not “plug and play” products (plugged in and work). Therefore, it is necessary to perform a set of rather complex measures for the installation of equipment, requiring professional skills and special expensive tools..
Installing equipment is one of the most important procedures when buying an air conditioner. As practice shows, ninety percent of all malfunctions during the operation of a split system occur due to illiterate installation. Serious companies maintain several professional teams for the installation of equipment, equipped with special tools. And this, believe me, is an expensive pleasure.
But saving on installation is “more expensive”. For example, poor-quality soldering of pipelines will certainly lead to a freon leak. It is not dangerous for human health, but the air conditioner compressor (this is half of its cost) will burn out within a few months. Unfilling the system with freon can lead to approximately the same result, however, in this case the compressor will suffer longer, sometimes two or three years. A lot of problems arise from improper handling of drainage. If the slopes are incorrectly calculated, the liquid will flow not onto the street (or into the sewer), but onto the walls, ruining the interior for you and the neighbors below. That is why a qualified installation of an air conditioner cannot be cheap..
Any work on the installation of a split system begins with the departure of the master to the client’s apartment or office. In large companies, this service is provided to the client free of charge. On the spot, the specialist must assess the amount of work to be done: find out the area of the room, the thickness of the walls, the size of the windows, and listen to the wishes of the client. Then, before proceeding directly to the installation of the product, the workers must make a hole in the wall with a diameter of 30-45 mm, through which copper pipes will subsequently be pulled, connecting the outdoor and indoor units. It must be drilled at an angle. So that the steam droplets accumulated near the hole can flow out without hindrance. To carry out these works, the installation team, in addition to a reliable power tool, must have a set of different drills. Indeed, when working with brickwork, one drill is used, when working with a reinforced concrete wall, it is completely different. In addition, over time, a building material can change its properties. For example, a brick is compressed and, in terms of its characteristics, is equivalent to reinforced concrete.
Having made a technical hole in the wall, the installers align the line for fixing the split system, after which they connect the outdoor and indoor units using copper pipes. The processing of copper pipes is one of the most laborious installation processes, experts say, they are carefully trimmed and the edges are carefully processed. Such operations are within the power of a professional armed with modern tools. For example, special pipe cutters must be used to cut copper pipes. Desirable American, since this country is the birthplace of the first refrigeration machines.
It is important to know that no self-respecting installer will use a hacksaw for this operation. Since, using a hacksaw, he risks ruining the compressor of the system. If a copper pipe is cut with a hacksaw, small chips can get inside it, which, circulating through the closed system of the air conditioner, end up in the compressor. Having “swallowed” metal filings, it can simply burn out. Pipe cutters in this respect are much more reliable, they cut copper without shavings, however, for different diameters of copper products, you need to select your pipe cutter.
The process of joining copper pipes with the inlets of both blocks is considered to be no less laborious. To ensure complete sealing of the system, a copper pipe, through which freon gas will subsequently be released, is placed on the joints and secured with a nut. The complexity of the operation lies in the fact that before joining the copper pipe to the inlet, the workers must give its ends a tapered shape. To do this, use a rolling. It unbends the edge of the copper conductor outward, thereby increasing the diameter of the pipe at the ends. The processed product is pushed onto the inlets of the split system and tightened with a nut. This ensures maximum tightness at the joints..
As you know, the operation of the air conditioner takes place in a closed system: freon circulates from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit, which, with the help of a compressor, brings either warm or cold air into the room, therefore, the split system must be fully sealed. If the system is depressurized, freon will leak and the air conditioner will cease to perform its functions. That is, it will work, but it will not be hot or cold in the room, in the truest sense of the word.
The specialist is obliged to check the joints of the blocks with pipes before the completion of all work. There are two ways at once that will help to establish a gas leak. The first, so-called, “old-fashioned” method looks like this: the nodes are lubricated with soapy foam and wait for a bubble to form. An inflated soap bubble signals a freon leak. The second method is more modern, but it is often used in conjunction with the first. The specialist takes an electronic leak detector in his hands and brings it to the junction, if the gas escaped at this point, the level of leakage will be indicated on the instrument panel.
In the event that the leakage of freon was nevertheless allowed, experts, using the power of a manometer, determine the amount of gas inside the air conditioner, after which, using electronic scales for weighing the gas, the missing mass of freon is measured and introduced into the system. To do this, you have to open the air conditioner and air gets there. Therefore, after carrying out repair work, turn on a two-stage vacuum pump and pump out oxygen from the entire system..
And finally, before plugging the installed air conditioner into the outlet, a self-respecting specialist will check the voltage. Having clamped the electrical wiring with a special tester, like pliers, he will determine in a matter of seconds how many volts are now in the network. A simple operation will protect the equipment from sudden power surges. According to experts from the Association of Climate Industry Enterprises, in addition to unfair installation, there are two more reasons why climatic equipment fails prematurely. It will not be superfluous to tell about them. .
The first reason is errors in the design and selection of equipment. The power of the air conditioner is selected based on the conditions of a particular room and its purpose. Consideration should be given to the area and orientation of the windows, the number of people, the presence of heat-generating equipment such as household and office equipment, and the size and shape of the room itself. That is why the technician is obliged to visit the room in which the air conditioners will be installed and make the appropriate calculations.
In order to assess the complexity of a seemingly unpretentious event, we will give an example. So, we know that in order to choose a split-system air conditioner, it is necessary to calculate the total excess of heat for each room, which also includes the heat generated from solar radiation, lighting, people, office equipment, etc. As a result, such models of air conditioners are selected, which, in total, in terms of cooling capacity, give a slightly higher value.
When calculating, it should be borne in mind that for cooling 30 sq.m. the area of the room requires 1 kW of air conditioner power. In the event that the room does not have a door, then the area of the adjacent room must be added to its area.
Depending on which side of the world the windows of the room face, the following values are taken into account for 1 square meter of the window:
Power, for removing excess heat from all working electrical equipment, is taken, as a rule, equal to 300 W, from people – a maximum of 300 W.
Thus, the required power of the air conditioner will be: power taking into account the area of the room + power taking into account the area of the window and the side of the world + 300 W (0.3 kW) for electrical equipment + 100-300 W, depending on the number of people. Therefore, for such a room, an air conditioner with a capacity of 3 kW is suitable..
Another reason for rapid breakdowns of equipment is savings in service costs. An air conditioner, like a car, must be regularly inspected by certified firms. After all, this is not only a timely cleaning of filters, which you can do yourself. The complex of service works includes a mandatory check of the tightness of the refrigeration circuit, lubrication of the fan bearings, check of the electrical elements of the system If necessary, dry cleaning of the heat exchanger of the indoor unit and refueling of the system with freon are performed. And, finally, the most urgent procedure for Russia is cleaning the heat exchanger of the outdoor unit. It can be so clogged with poplar fluff that heat removal is seriously disturbed and an overheated compressor fails. According to service estimates, for this reason, one third of all premature failures occur..
Air conditioner owners fall into two categories. The first category is a private person, a buyer who has installed an air conditioner at home. If he has problems with the equipment, he just needs to dial the phone number of the service department with which he signed a contract, and the specialists will fix the problem. The same can be said about corporate clients, however, the latter are often contracted for monthly maintenance of air conditioners. In an office building, where there are several dozen air conditioners, as a rule, there is no one to monitor the health of the climatic equipment. There is simply no one to clean it.
Over time, the compressor in the outdoor unit becomes clogged with dust, soot, dirt and the air conditioner stops working. The service contract saves corporate clients from the headaches associated with equipment maintenance. Every month a specialist comes to the office of the company and cleans the systems, as well as eliminates all problems up to replacing the batteries in the control panel.
A careful attitude to the “health” of the air conditioner will pay off with the construction, since the “well-groomed” climatic equipment is able to work without a break for ten years in a row.