Advantages of Air to Water Heat Exchangers
Air to water heat exchangers are air conditioning systems that use water as a thermal medium as opposed to pressurized refrigerant. There are many advantages of using this system, from greater thermal capacity to fewer maintenance tasks. While there are drawbacks to this distinguished technology, the benefits make it a preferable alternative to regular HVAC units.
Refrigerants by comparison are gases that have heavy enough molecules to absorb an impressive amount of thermal energy. It has been used for years because the thermal difference can be achieved with a simple motor. While refrigerants only require compact and relatively simple technology, handling refrigerant and replacing it is a dangerous and specialized job.
The major advantage of using an air to water heat exchangers is getting rid of troublesome refrigerants. Old units in particular tend to use CFCs, which are banned and becoming prohibitively expensive. Refrigerants must be replaced, and using water eliminates this expense all together. Air to water heat exchangers still need maintenance, and water must sometimes be added, but the service fee can be greatly reduced.
Water of course is absolutely harmless to the environment. Many refrigerants are artificial and potentially damaging to the environment. Recently patented refrigerants pose less risk than older CFCs, but are still artificial chemicals. Science might find something wrong with them at any time.
Air to water heat exchangers are not inefficient by any means. While water cannot be reduced to subfreezing temperatures easily, H2O has an incredibly high thermal capacity. This means it can hold a lot of heat compared to its weight. It can absorb heat from the environment when passed through small pipes and also deliver heat. Boilers have been used for over a century to deliver heat, and now water can be used to keep you cool.
Using water as a refrigerant means evaporating it through a vacuum. This is the reverse of a refrigerant, because liquid water cannot be compressed. In spite of this limitation, water makes an excellent refrigerant when coupled with the right vacuum. Advances in suction technology delivers the force needed without taking up too much space or power.