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AIR CONDITIONING & HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS
A/C - HEAT PUMP CONTROLS & SWITCHES
AIR CONDITIONER COMPONENT PARTS
AIR CONDITIONER TYPES, ENERGY SOURCES
AIR FILTER EFFICIENCY
AIR FILTERS, FIBERGLASS PARTICLES
AIR FLOW MEASUREMENT CFM
APPLIANCE DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
APPLIANCE EFFICIENCY RATINGS
BLOWER DOORS & AIR INFILTRATION
BLOWER FAN CONTINUOUS OPERATION
BLOWER FAN OPERATION & TESTING
BOOKSTORE - Air Conditioning "How To" Books
CAPACITORS for HARD STARTING MOTORS
CLEANING & Legionella BACTERIA
CHINESE DRYWALL HAZARDS
CONDENSATION or SWEATING PIPES, TANKS
DEFINITION of HEATING & COOLING TERMS
DEW POINT CALCULATION for WALLS
DEW POINT TABLE - CONDENSATION POINT GUIDE
DIAGNOSTIC GUIDES A/C / HEAT PUMP
DIAGNOSE & FIX HEATING PROBLEMS-BOILER
DIAGNOSE & FIX HEATING PROBLEMS-FURNACE
DUCTS - Asbestos
DUCT INSULATION, Asbestos Paper
DUCT INSULATION for SOUNDPROOFING
DUCT SYSTEM & DUCT DEFECTS
DUCT SYSTEM NOISES
DUCTS, Asbestos Transite Pipe
DUST, HVAC CONTAMINATION STUDY
ELECTRIC MOTOR OVERLOAD RESET SWITCH
EVAPORATIVE COOLING SYSTEMS
FAN LIMIT SWITCH
FAN NOISES, HVAC
GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC
GAS DETECTION INSTRUMENTS
HEAT LOSS (or GAIN) in buildings
HEAT LOSS (or GAIN) INDICATORS
HEAT LOSS R U & K VALUE CALCULATION
HEATING SMALL LOADS
INSPECTION CHECKLIST - OUTDOOR UNIT
INSPECTION LIMITATIONS, A/C SYSTEMS
LEED GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATION
LOST COOLING CAPACITY
LOW VOLTAGE TRANSFORMER TEST
MOTOR OVERLOAD RESET SWITCH
MOLD in AIR HANDLERS & DUCT WORK
OPERATING COST, AIR CONDITIONER
OPERATING DEFECTS, AIR CONDITIONING
REPAIR GUIDES A/C / HEAT PUMP
REPAIR & DIAGNOSTIC FAQs for A/C
THERMOSTATS, HEATING / COOLING
THERMOSTATIC EXPANSION VALVES
WATER COOLED AIR CONDITIONERS
WINDOW / WALL AIR CONDITIONERS
WINDOW / WALL A/C SUPPORTS
Wall convectors: this article describes wall convectors used for building air conditioning or heating. A wall convector is a wall-mounted unit that provides cool air or warm air to the building interior.
The wall convector may be a fully self-contained iindependent unit or it may be connected to a building central cooling (water, refrigerant) or heating (water, steam, electricity) source. Here we describe types of cooling and heating wall convectors and common troubleshooting steps.
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Wall convectors are often used for both heating and cooling in commercial installations and high-rise apartment buildings.
The unit shown has its own compressor mounted right in the cabinet, visible at lower center in
Wall-mounted heating and cooling convector installations may be designed with one central heater or cooling system which feeds multiple units with chilled or heated water or possibly refrigerant from a single remote heating and cooling heat pump. At above right is an enclosure for a Command Aire wall convector heating or cooling convector unit, ca 1980. You won't know just what's installed inside that cover without a bit of further investigation. We discuss this unit and its identification at DATA TAGS on AIR CONDITIONERS.
Our photo (left) illustrates dual squirrel cage blower fans typically found in the bottom of a fan/convector heating or cooling unit such as this one found in a New York City apartment.
If the convector fan motors run and the squirrel cage fans spin but not enough air is coming out of your convector unit, turn off power and take a closer look at the fan blades themselves - you may need a flashlight and a mirror to make this check without disassembling the unit further than shown here (we removed the convector unit cover).
Dirt on the fan blades can significantly reduce airflow through the unit.
Also check the cooling or heating coil fins for blockage by dust and debris - a more common source of air flow blockage at heating and cooling convector units like the one shown.
Our photo (left) illustrates a condensate handling problem in the cooling convector unit for the same apartment unit introduced above.
Air conditioning condensate was leaking inside of the convector unit due to a clogged condensate drain line.
The condensate leak exited the bottom of the convector, ran through a raised floor cavity, entered apartment building walls, and ran around the wall interiors in a metal stud-framed wall sill plate where it led to major toxic mold contamination over a wide area, floor damage, and the need for costly cleanup and repair work.
Also see CONDENSATE HANDLING, A/C for more about air conditioner or heat pump condensate drainage handling.
How Do Heating Wall Convectors Work?
Sketch of a wall convector (above left) courtesy of Carson Dunlop and our photo (above right) show a traditional wall-mounted heating convector unit.
Our photo was taken in a 1920's home in New York. A heating convector unit operates much like a radiator (page top photo) but instead of thick cast iron used to radiate heat, the convector is made of copper tubing covered with metal fins, or of cast iron with cast-in fins.
Our photo (left) shows a leaky heating convector that was recessed into the wall. While recessed heating convectors were popular for aesthetic reasons (no radiator projects into the room), often a high percentage of the heat is flowing through the exterior wall to outside.
We discuss this problem in more detail at RADIATOR BASEBOARD or CONVECTOR COVERS.
The heat source in a wall-convector may be forced hot water, gravity hot water, steam, or the unit may be heated by electricity. Electric-heated wall convectors and some other convector units may incorporate a blower fan to increase the heat output from the device. Our photographs of a wall-mounted heating convector (above) show a wall unit that is heated by steam.
Conventional wall-mounted heating convectors (units that do not include a fan or blower) rely on natural movement of warm-air upwards to draw cooler air in from the floor level. You'll notice that there is a very generous air intake space along the bottom of the convector - it is designed to move plenty of air across its heating coil.
As the convector gets hot, cool air is drawn up from floor level, is heated by the fins on the convector, and warm air is supplied out of the convector's front grille.
Below we provide articles that help in diagnosing and repairing no-heat problems with each of these types of heat delivery systems.
While wall convetors are widely used for cominatin heating and cooling systems, their energy sources vary and include chilled water as well as refrigerant for cooling, while the heat source in a wall-convector may be forced hot water, gravity hot water, steam, or the unit may be heated by electricity.
Many small wall convectors and some other convector units may incorporate a blower fan to increase the heat output from the device.
Electrically-heated, steam heated, or hot water heated fan convector heating units similar to what you see in our photos here but boosted by a fan that blows room air across the heater are discussed at FAN CONVECTOR HEATERS - HYDRONIC COILS.
Also see RADIANT HEAT.
While we're at it, we make certain that the heat exchanging fins on the heating convector are not dust-clogged (photo at left). If your building is occupied by pets who shed much hair this step can be very important.
Getting good air flow through the heat exchanging fins of all finned heat exchanging devices such as heating convectors or finned copper tubing heating baseboards can make a significant difference in liberating the heat output from the device.
Just gently vacuum off the convector using a brush attachment and your vacuum cleaner - take care not to bend the fins.
A heating service contractor can provide more aggressive cleaning using special products, but on residential heating equipment that has not been exposed to some unusual problem we usually don't find it necessary.
Continue reading at FAN CONVECTOR HEATERS - HYDRONIC COILS or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
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