DX Unitary Systems - HVAC Systems
In a direct-expansion (DX) unitary system, the evaporator is in direct contact with the air stream, so the cooling
coil of the airside loop is also the evaporator of the refrigeration loop. The term “direct” refers to the position of the evaporator with
respect to the airside loop.
The term "expansion" refers to the method used to introduce the refrigerant into the cooling coil. The liquid refrigerant
passes through an expansion device (usually a valve) just before entering the cooling coil (the evaporator). This expansion device reduces
the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant to the point where it is colder than the air passing through the coil.
The components of the DX unitary system refrigeration loop (evaporator, compressor, condenser, expansion device and
even some unit controls) may be packaged together, which provides for factory assembly and testing of all components, including the electrical
wiring, the refrigerant piping, and the controls. This is called a Packaged DX system.
Alternatively, the components of the refrigeration loop may be split apart, allowing for increased flexibility in the
system design. This is called a Split DX system. Separating the elements has the advantage of providing the system design engineer
with complete flexibility to match components in order to achieve the desired performance.
One of the most common reasons for selecting a DX system, especially a packaged DX system, is that, in a smaller building,
it frequently has a lower installed cost than a chilled-water system because it requires less field labor and has fewer materials to install.
Packaged DX systems that use air-cooled condensers can be located on the roof of a building, in a small equipment room, or even within the
perimeter wall of the building.
Additionally, if the tenants are paying the utility bills, multiple packaged DX units may make it easier to track energy use,
as only the specific unit serving that tenant would be used to meet the individual cooling or heating requirements.
Factors affecting the decision to select DX Unitary or Chiller-Based Applied systems include:
- Installed Cost
- Energy consumption
- Space requirements
- Freeze prevention
- Building height, size, shape
- System cooling and heating capacity
- Centralized maintenance
- Stability of control
- Individual tenant billing
One of the services Trane offers is a comprehensive design and energy analysis to help you
consider all factors in selecting the correct type of system for your project.