Monday, January 19, 2004

airco project update

The guys have started on the second half of the studio/office air-conditioning plant rebuild. The first step is to dismantle the old equipment. Here is the old chiller barrel and here is an old condenser coil assembly.

This is a cold water system. The airco plant is in an annex and makes cold water. The cold water is piped to the studio and office buildings and is used to cool them. It is sort of like the hot water heating system my parents' house in NJ had, except that is uses cold water to cool the rooms instead of hot water to heat them. The airco plant that we are rebuilding would be like the furnace and hot water tank in my parents' house. We basically are replacing the furnace part of the system. The local radiators in the studios and offices are still ok.

We don't really use radiators, of course. Some of the offices have what are called fan-coil units. The studios use a big centralized forced air system. There is a big heat exchanger and blower in the cleverly named "blower room" that sends cold air to all the studios through a big duct works. If the ducts are designed and sized well, cold air enters the studios, but noise doesn't. This is a good thing when one is using the rooms to record audio.

The airco plant that we are rebuilding has compressors to compress the Freon, and condenser coils and evaporator valves to cool it off. There are also lots of control circuits and pipes and valves etc. The cold Freon then goes through the chiller barrels. The water in the system goes through the chiller barrels too, by means of different pipes. The cold Freon in the chiller barrels cools the water, and the water then cools the buildings.

We basically have a mirror image pair of compressors, chiller barrels, and condensers. Either of them can handle our heat load. That way we still have cooling if one of the systems needs maintenance or repairs. The first system was rebuilt last fall. Now the guys are doing the second half of the plant.

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