Blog series part 5 – Building a house – Cooling work

In this article, we will discuss the cooling work involved in a new construction of an apartment building or detached house.

After completing the tasks mentioned in the previous blog posts, we move on to the electromechanical installations of the building. I suggest starting with the cooling work first. The reason is that cooling systems have the least flexibility in terms of relocation, while electrical and plumbing systems are relatively more adaptable. To understand this easily, consider that you have planned to install an air conditioner at a specific spot in a room. It is much easier to modify the electrical lines that might pass through that spot than to change the location of the air conditioner.


1. What does cooling work include?

Cooling work involves installing appropriate cooling pipes, communication cables between indoor and outdoor units, and air conditioner drainage pipes that will accommodate the air conditioning units at the end of the project.

Image 1: Left pre-installation of indoor air conditioning unit.
Right pre-installation of outdoor unit from the floor.


2. Why install the pipes now and not at the end with the air conditioners?

The main reason is aesthetic. Surely, in your new home, you wouldn’t want visible air conditioning pipes inside. Additionally, you wouldn’t want to see cooling pipes outside. So, we do these tasks from the start to hide the pipes internally within the walls or floors and externally with insulation. You can read more details about pre-installation here.

Image 2: On the left, visible internal tubing. Right: hidden tubing

Image 3: Left visible outdoor unit piping. Right tubing hidden behind the unit


3. And if something gets into the pipes by the time the construction is finished, won’t that create a problem?

Definitely, yes. For this reason, the pipes are sealed and pressurized with nitrogen. At the end of the pipes, a manometer is placed to monitor the pressure and ensure that no pipe gets damaged along the way.

Image 4: Sealed refrigerant pipes with manometer


4. Does the brand of air conditioners I choose matter?

You should know the capacity of the air conditioners, e.g., 9.000 BTU or 18.000 BTU. It’s also good to know the brand from the beginning because even with the same capacity, models can have different cooling pipes.


5. Is there anything I can do about the water I have seen running on the balconies when the air conditioner is on cooling mode?

A crucial task to avoid water running on balconies is to also pre-install drainage. The cooling technician will leave drainage pipes that the plumber will connect to the house’s drainage system. This way, there will be no water anywhere during the operation of the air conditioners.


6.  What types of air conditioners are there?

Air conditioning units consist of two main parts: the outdoor unit and the indoor unit. The outdoor unit can be a simple split, multi-split, or VRV.

Indoor units can be the familiar wall-mounted or floor units, concealed ducted, ceiling, cassette, or cabinet types. Typically, in residential applications, we use the first three types: wall-mounted, floor units, or concealed ducted units.

All outdoor units can be combined with all indoor units, e.g., a simple split with a wall-mounted indoor unit or a multi-split with wall-mounted and ducted indoor units, or any other combination you prefer.

Image 5: (1) Single split air conditioner (2) Multi combined with various indoor units (3) VRV


7. What is the difference between simple split, multi-split, and VRV?

Simple split means one indoor unit (wall-mounted, floor, ducted) with one outdoor unit. It’s the most common system on the market and you surely have it in your home.

The next category is multi-split. Here, you can install 2 to 5 indoor units with only one outdoor unit. It’s used when we don’t want or don’t have space for multiple outdoor units, but the cost is higher compared to simple split systems despite having only one outdoor unit.

VRV category. The logic is similar to multi-split, but here you have the option for a significant distance between the indoor and outdoor units (e.g., placing the outdoor unit on a rooftop). It also allows for greater machine power if the multi-split doesn’t suffice.


8. What indoor units should I install?

As mentioned, typically in residential applications, wall-mounted, floor units, or concealed ducted units are installed.

Wall-mounted units are the most economical choice and offer the classic functionality of an air conditioner. They come in a wide variety of designs and colors to match your home’s decor.

Floor units are not as common and are used when there is no space high up on a wall, so we prefer floor installation. There is not much variety in designs and colors here.

Concealed ducted units usually hide the internal machine within drywall constructions. Air is distributed through ducts and vents, allowing the internal unit to be in a different space from the one being cooled. Aesthetically, it is one of the most pleasing options since you only see the vents and not the machine itself. Special attention must be given to the machine’s access for maintenance and the selection of ducts. It is one of the most expensive options because, in addition to the machines, you must also account for the ducts, increasing installation costs.

Image 6: Air conditioning duct when installed on the left and the final form with Titus type ducts


9. I’ve heard that cooling can also be done with Fan Coil units. Is that true?

Yes, it’s true, and it’s equally efficient as the categories we discussed. The main difference is that the cooling medium in the above categories is refrigerant, while in the case of Fan Coil units, it’s water. Therefore, the outdoor unit is a heat pump, and the indoor units follow the same types mentioned above: wall-mounted, floor, and concealed ducted. If we also use Fan Coil units for heating, then the combination of a heat pump and Fan Coil units is one of the most economical options.


Image 7: Heating Cooling System with Fan Coil and Heat Pump

The next stage involves plumbing work. Read the next blog here.

The above are not technical documents and are intended for the reader’s simple information. The MECHA Engineering team has experienced engineers who will certainly and scientifically guide you through your technical project needs.

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