Q: How Does Climate Control Differ From Air Conditioning?

asked by on November 19, 2015

How does climate control differ from air conditioning?

Climate control and air conditioning are terms that are very often used interchangeably. These two systems are related, but they are not the same.

The climate control system is used to achieve and maintain a temperature inside a vehicle that is safe and pleasant for all the occupants.

There are several subsystems that comprise climate control system:

  1. The air conditioning system
  2. The cabin heater and defroster
  3. The ventilation system

Another name for the climate control system is HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning).

The air conditioning systems on vehicles over the past 60 years have used chemical refrigerants (R-12, R-134a, R-1234yf) to cool and dehumidify the air inside the passenger compartment. Methods of conditioning the air inside vehicles of the 1940’s were essentially just scaled down versions of evaporative coolers that were attached to the outside of the vehicle. Outside air was forced over water, which then was used to cool down the interior of the vehicle. These “swamp” coolers worked best in the Southwest United States because of the low humidity of the region.

Air conditioning systems prior to the mid-1980’s were mechanically controlled. In the 1980’s, electronic controls were introduced into air conditioning systems. Today, electronics are used for complete control of not only the air conditioner, but the defroster, rear window defogger, heater, and the ventilation system.

Diagnosing the electronic control portion of modern climate controls systems is fairly simple, but it’s not easy. It takes a skilled and trained technician to perform accurate diagnosis. Diagnosing the mechanical portion of climate control systems also requires a technician that is not only skilled and trained, but also certified to perform repairs where the refrigerant system is involved.

Repair of air conditioning systems requires special tools and equipment that your average do-it-yourselfer won’t have. You can’t even purchase refrigerant unless you have been adequately trained and have been issued a certification card that verifies completion of training.

A/C repairs can be costly. Repairs can be even more costly if they were accomplished by an untrained technician who botched the job and has to do it all over again. It’s best to have a technician that is adequately trained and certified for mobile A/C systems to do the job.

If you happen to run into any problems, have a certified mechanic diagnose and fix your air conditioning or climate control system. When you’re in the heat of the summer, let us help you “keep your cool.”

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