Air conditioning systems can be classified based on their construction and operating characteristics. Here are the different types:

  1. Individual Room Air Conditioning Systems: These systems use self-contained units for individual rooms. They include room air conditioners (window-mounted) and packaged terminal air conditioners (installed in a sleeve through the outside wall). Each unit has components such as an evaporator fan, refrigerant coil, air filter, compressor, condenser, and temperature control system.

  2. Evaporative-Cooling Air Conditioning Systems: Evaporative-cooling systems utilize the evaporation of liquid water to cool the air. They can be factory-assembled packaged units or field-built systems. Components include an intake chamber, filters, supply fan, heat exchanger, exhaust fan, water sprays, recirculating water pump, and water sump. These systems are known for their low energy use compared to refrigeration cooling.

  3. Desiccant-Based Air Conditioning Systems: Desiccant-based systems combine desiccant dehumidification with evaporative cooling or refrigeration for both latent and sensible cooling. They reduce the reliance on vapor compression refrigeration by using inexpensive evaporative cooling. Components include desiccant dehumidifiers, heat exchangers, evaporative coolers, DX coils or water cooling coils, fans, pumps, filters, controls, ducts, and piping.

  4. Thermal Storage Air Conditioning Systems: Thermal storage systems use stored chilled water or ice in tanks to provide cooling during peak hours when electricity demand charges and rates are high. These systems operate refrigeration compressors during off-peak hours. Components include chilled-water or ice storage tanks, circulating pumps, controls, and air, water, and refrigeration systems.

  5. Clean-Room Air Conditioning Systems: Clean-room systems are used in spaces that require precise control of particulates, temperature, humidity, ventilation, noise, vibration, and pressurization. They consist of recirculating air units and makeup air units with dampers, filters, coils, fans, HEPA filters, ductwork, piping, pumps, refrigeration systems, and controls.

  6. Space Conditioning Air Conditioning Systems: Also known as space air conditioning systems, these systems use fan coils, water-source heat pumps, or other devices within or near the conditioned space for cooling, dehumidification, heating, and filtration. They typically have short supply ducts and no return ducts, except for large water-source heat pumps. Space air conditioning systems are often combined with dedicated outdoor ventilation air systems.

  7. Unitary Packaged Air Conditioning Systems: Unitary packaged systems use self-contained packaged units or split units. The packaged units contain fans, filters, DX coils, compressors, condensers, and accessories. Split units consist of indoor air handlers and outdoor condensing units. These systems can serve single or multiple rooms and may include ductwork for air distribution. Rooftop packaged systems are commonly used.

Each type of air conditioning system has its own characteristics and is suitable for different applications.