Glossary of HVAC and Environmental Control Terms
General Terms (Used on this website)
This page highlights HVAC definitions for many of the terms found on our website.
Why it matters: Air Innovations creates Environmental Control Units (ECU) that solve problems in customers’ unique or demanding environments.
Why it matters: Most HVAC systems use air to cool systems. These systems are used when no source of water is available for condensing and are optimal for portable applications. We also offer water-cooled or chilled-water environmental control units.
Why it matters: Air Innovations products use a variety of techniques to purify the air. We use HEPA or ULPA filtration (based on the application) and activated carbon to eliminate foreign particles and gases from the air. Products such as Isolation Air (for quarantine and hospital contamination control) and Cleanroom Systems use these techniques.
In some environments, such as bedrooms of asthmatics, our products use filtration along with introducing pre-filtered outside air to both remove particles from the air, but also to dilute the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (see the HepAir X100 air cleaner).
Why it matters: This measurement lets you know how much airflow you’ll get from an ECU or other HVAC equipment. It helps you understand whether the ECU/HVAC system has enough capacity to cool the space you are trying to cool.
Why it matters: Laboratories with significant heat output and other similar environments that require a year-round supply of chilled water can use a chilled-water ECU to cool the designated space.
Why it matters: This is a basic principle of most air conditioning. Most equipment Air Innovations builds is self-contained with a condenser as part of the package. Remote air-cooled condensers are available depending on the application.
Why it matters: Cooling air below the dew point is how you dehumidify the air. Dew point control is critical in some applications such as tablet coating for pharmaceuticals, desiccant drying in cleanroom control for aerospace applications, and many others. Air Innovations designs systems controlling dew point/relative humidity, filtration, and other environmental control factors.
Why it matters: Air Innovations uses this method in its packaged/integrated and split systems. This is a basic principle of most air conditioning.
Why it matters: This is a basic principle of most air conditioning.
Why it matters: Many applications, such as semiconductor clean rooms, floral display cases, and mobile quarantine units require environmental control in a specific room or area. Air Innovations has standard freestanding ECU products in some common categories (floral cooling displays) and designs custom product freestanding ECUs for clean room HVAC and many other applications. See also Integrated ECU.
Why it matters: This is what Air Innovations does best – come up with solutions to challenges in HVAC!
Why it matters: Some of our users refer to this instead of HVAC, since it’s more inclusive. We work in this sphere as well.
Why it matters: Some equipment requires special temperature, humidity, pressure, or filtration internally to operate properly. Air Innovations has a long history of designing environmental control sub-systems with critical applications from medical equipment to oil & gas slurry processing. See also Freestanding ECU.
Why it matters: The presence of our on-site psychrometric facility allows us to test products under a variety of conditions, simulating most conditions under which our products will actually operate. For example, the room can achieve temperatures between 0°F and 120°F (-17°C and 48°C) at ±2.5% RH and can test products at 115V to 277V (1 phase) or 208V to 460V (3 phase).
Why it matters: Too much or too little humidity can cause equipment to malfunction or goods, like wine, to degrade faster than they should. Air Innovations can design humidity control into its systems. The company also has standard products with integrated humidity monitors and control. We also provide stand-alone wine cellar humidifiers.
Why it matters: Our focus in on innovative thinking for unique circumstances. Challenge us with your specialty air conditioning requirements today!
Why it matters: Users with constrained spaces they are cooling or those looking for a quieter system in the cooled space should consider using a split system. Air Innovations can provide air-cooled split systems.
Why it matters: People with limited space for ductwork or who are sensitive to noise in the area that needs temperature control, but who have access to a water source for cooling (reservoir, geothermal, etc.) can opt for this type of solution. Water-cooled environmental control units are seen as being more environmentally conscious. Air Innovations is the only major provider of water-cooled systems for wine cellars, etc. Tell us about your project today.
Application Specific Terms
Why it matters: Air Innovations works with customers in blister-packaging applications (and other pharmacological applications) to ensure precision process control for pharmaceuticals.
Why it matters: Air Innovations works with all Clean Room classifications (ISO 1 to ISO 9). Air Innovations has an entire brand dedicated to Clean Room Environmental Control and air conditioning.
Why it matters: Explosions can be caused by a variety of sources (arcing, heat generation, etc.). Equipment that generates significant amounts of heat requires a heat-exhaust method, while equipment subject to an environment with ignitable vapors, gases, dust, or other material requires absolute separation of sparking devices and volatile gases to prevent explosions. Air Innovations works within a wide range of environments to create an explosion-proof design for any customer working in similar environments.
Why it matters: Air Innovations makes environmental control equipment that can operate from -40°C to +54°C (-40°F to +130° F) and in environments with high salt or high dust content. Learn more in this sample project that existed in a harsh environment: Portable Air-Cooled ECU for an aerospace application.
Why it matters: Missile defense systems typically use lasers to track targets. These lasers must remain precisely calibrated to ensure accuracy and their calibration must be performed under highly controlled conditions. Air Innovations created a portable, self-contained HVAC system that provides cleanroom-level conditions for recalibration of the lasers. You don’t want your targeting lasers to fail when you’re shooting down incoming missiles!
Why it matters: One of the biggest challenges in using lithography in high-volume semiconductor fabrication is photomask defectivity (see this SPIE article). Air Innovations has created an environmental control unit (ECU) for a nanomachining mask repair tool system.
Why it matters: When designing niche environmental control units, it’s important to know the typical and extreme conditions the system will be operating in. Water forming inside a system can obviously cause a lot of problems – we work to prevent those problems from happening in your system.
Why it matters: Since a chemical’s properties can change with fluctuations in temperature, humidity, or other environmental factors, we generally discuss the environmental control of process chemicals on this website. Our customers are typically trying to maintain a specific environment for the chemical itself so they get the same results in their process each time, even in demanding situations. Check out how we helped one customer whose equipment operated 24/7 in a medical application that required strict humidity and temperature control in a small space with no defrost interruptions.
Why it matters: Some equipment – especially in mobile and military HVAC applications – are subject to unstable environments. At Air Innovations, we can design specialty HVAC systems that survive in harsh and rugged environments. When customers require this, we perform drop tests to ensure the ECU keeps working even after a drop occurs!