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4 Types of Refrigeration Systems

Any provider of refrigeration equipment services understands that air conditioning equipment doesn’t actually produce cool air. Instead, it removes heat from the area it “cools”. This is how refrigeration works.


Here are the different types of refrigeration systems:

Evaporative Cooling

Evaporative cooling units are also referred to as swamp coolers. They work by blowing warm outdoor air over pads that are soaked in water. The water’s job is to absorb the heat from the air. The water then evaporates and cooler air enters your home while warm air stays out.

An evaporative cooling unit is capable of reducing the temperature in a home by about 15-40 degrees. If you’re in the southwestern U.S. where the climate is dry, evaporative coolers are for you. An evaporative cooling unit is easier to install and doesn’t cost half as much as a central air conditioner.

Mechanical-Compression Refrigeration Systems

Mechanical compression is used in commercial and industrial refrigeration, as well as air conditioning. Most HVAC companies install this type of cooling system.

By mechanically compressing refrigerant into a cold liquid with low pressure and expanding it into hot gas with high pressure, this type of system transfers heat. Refrigerants work when pressure is applied or removed. When they absorb heat, they boil and turn into gas, then turn back into liquid form when they release that heat. The refrigerant in a mechanical-compression system boils at 40 degrees, sucking the heat out of warm indoor air.


The process in absorption refrigeration is similar to how heat is transferred in mechanical compression. However, instead of using a mechanical compressor, absorption systems use refrigerants that attract and absorb other substances. In some systems, for example, ammonia acts as the refrigerant and water acts as the absorbent. Instead of relying on electric power, heat can come from water, natural gas, steam or other fuel sources.


These systems don’t need water or any type of refrigerant. They rely on a thermocouple and electric current. One end of the thermocouple is hot and the other end is cool when current is directed to it. The cold side of the thermocouple is placed in the area that needs cooled so it can attract heat and remove it from the air. Thermoelectric refrigeration isn’t usually used for large cooling loads, but it’s perfect for hard-to-access small cooling loads. A good example would be electronic systems.

If you have cooling and refrigeration needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Cafco Services. We install cooling systems and also offer HVAC filter products. Call us today at (513) 242-3400 or use our contact form.