Heat pipe heat exchangers or run-around coils perform a similar function when humidity control is required. Two heat exchanger are placed in the air stream, one upstream of the cooling coil and the other downstream of the cooling coil. These heat exchangers are connected together with piping. A heat transfer fluid, whether it be water or refrigerant, is either pumped or gravity fed from one heat exchanger to the other. The heat exchanger down stream of the cooling coil (re-heat coil) cools the liquid medium inside the heat exchanger and heats the air passing over the heat exchanger. The cold liquid inside the heat exchanger is moved to the heat exchanger upstream of the cooling coil (pre-cool coil) where it pre-cools the air passing over the heat exchanger and warms the liquid passing through the heat exchanger. The affect of a heat pipe or run-around coil is to reduce the sensible heat capacity of the AC system. The latent capacity of the AC system increases if direct-expansion equipment is used or remains relatively constant if chilled water equipment is used. Since the sensible capacity of the AC system has been reduced, the system must run longer to meet the thermostat set point thereby removing more moisture.
In the case of direct expansion equipment, the air passing over the indoor cooling coil heats the cold liquid refrigerant. Heating the refrigerant causes boiling and transforms the refrigerant from a cold liquid to a warm gas. This warm gas (or vapor) is pumped from the cooling coil to the compressor through a copper tube (suction line to the compressor) where the warm gas is compressed. In some cases, an accumulator is placed between the cooling coil and the compressor to capture unused liquid refrigerant and ensures that only vapor enters the compressor. The compression process increases the pressure of the refrigerant vapor and significantly increases the temperature of the vapor. The compressor pumps the vapor through another heat exchanger (outdoor condenser) where heat is rejected and the hot gas is condensed to a warm high pressure liquid. This warm high pressure liquid is pumped through a smaller copper tube (liquid line) to a filter (or filter/dryer) and then on to an expansion device where the high pressure liquid is reduced to a cold, low pressure liquid. The cold liquid enters the indoor cooling coil and the process repeats.
HVAC is an important part of residential structures such as single family homes, apartment buildings, hotels and senior living facilities, medium to large industrial and office buildings such as skyscrapers and hospitals, on ships and submarines, and in marine environments, where safe and healthy building conditions are regulated with respect to temperature and humidity, using fresh air from outdoors.