Air-Water Systems

An alternative to the air-to-air systems described in Art. 13.31, air-water systems furnish chilled water from a remote chiller or central plant to the room terminal devices. These contain a cooling coil or a heating coil, or both. Room temperature is maintained by varying the flow of chilled water or heating fluid through the coils with valves that respond to the thermostat. Ventilation air is provided from a separate central plant directly to the room or the terminal device.
Two-pipe or four-pipe systems are used for distribution of chilled water and hot water to the room terminals from a central plant. In a two-pipe system, the supply pipe may carry either chilled water or hot water and the second pipe is used as a return. The four-pipe system provides two pipes for chilled-water supply and return and two pipes for hot-water supply and return. The installed cost of the two-pipe system is less than that of the four-pipe system, but the versatility is less. The major disadvantage of the two-pipe system is its inability to provide both heating and cooling with a common supply pipe on days for which both heating and cooling are desired. The four-pipe system has a major drawback in loss of temperature control whenever a changeover from cooling to heating is desired. To overcome this, thermostats are used that permit selection of either cooling or heating by a manual changeover at the thermostats.
Terminal devices for air-water systems are usually of the fan-coil or induction types.
Fan-Coil Terminal Units. A fan-coil terminal device consists of a fan or blower section, chilled-water coil, hot-water heating coil or electric-resistance heating elements, filter, return-air connection, and a housing for these components with an opening for ventilation air. The electric-resistance heating coil is often used with two-pipe systems to provide the performance of a four-pipe system without the cost of the two extra pipes for hot water, insulation, pumps, etc. Fan-coil units may be floor mounted, ceiling mounted-exposed or ceiling mounted-recessed, or ceiling mounted-recessed with supply- and return-air ductwork. When furnished with heating coils, the units are usually mounted on the outside wall or under a window, to neutralize the effects of perimeter heat losses.
Built-in centrifugal fans recirculate room air through the cooling coil. Chilled water circulating through the coil absorbs the room heat load. Ventilation air that is conditioned by another remote central plant is ducted throughout the building and supplied directly to the room or room terminal devices, such as a fan-coil unit.
A room thermostat varies the amount of cooling water passing through the cooling coil, thus varying the discharge temperature from the terminal unit and satisfying the room thermostat.
Induction Terminal Units. These units are frequently used in large office buildings.
The units are served by a remote air-handling unit that provides high-pressure conditioned air, which may be heated or cooled and is referred to as primary air.
It is distributed to individual induction units that are located on the outside walls of each room or zone. At the terminal induction unit, a flow of high-pressure primarily air through several nozzles induces a flow of room air through the heating or cooling coil in the unit. Room air mixes with the primary air to provide a mixedair temperature that satisfies the thermal requirements of the space. In most systems, the ratio of induced air to primary air is about 4 to 1.

The induction system is a large energy consumer because of the extra power required to maintain the high pressure necessary to deliver the primary air to the room induction nozzles and induce room air to flow through the unit coils. Also, the induction terminal unit operates simultaneously with heating and cooling, wasting energy as in a terminal-reheat type of operation.
Air-water systems generally have substantially lower installed and operating costs than all-air systems. They do not, however, provide as good control over room temperature, humidity, air quality, air movement, and noise. The best control of an air-water system is achieved with a fan-coil unit with supplemental ventilation air from a central, primary-air system that provides ventilation air.
(H. E. Bovay, Jr., Handbook of Mechanical and Electrical Systems for Buildings, and N. R. Grimm and R. C. Rosaler, Handbook of HVAC Design, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, New York.)

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