US20150253020A1 - Air-conditioning apparatus - Google Patents

Air-conditioning apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
US20150253020A1
US20150253020A1 US14/417,870 US201214417870A US2015253020A1 US 20150253020 A1 US20150253020 A1 US 20150253020A1 US 201214417870 A US201214417870 A US 201214417870A US 2015253020 A1 US2015253020 A1 US 2015253020A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
heat medium
temperature
heat exchangers
air
refrigerant
Prior art date
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Abandoned
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US14/417,870
Inventor
Takayoshi Honda
Daisuke Shimamoto
Osamu Morimoto
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Mitsubishi Electric Corp
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Mitsubishi Electric Corp
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Publication date
Application filed by Mitsubishi Electric Corp filed Critical Mitsubishi Electric Corp
Priority to PCT/JP2012/076248 priority Critical patent/WO2014057550A1/en
Assigned to MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORPORATION reassignment MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORPORATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: MORIMOTO, OSAMU, SHIMAMOTO, DAISUKE, HONDA, TAKAYOSHI
Publication of US20150253020A1 publication Critical patent/US20150253020A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F5/00Air-conditioning systems or apparatus not covered by F24F1/00 or F24F3/00, e.g. using solar heat or combined with household units such as an oven or water heater
    • F24F5/0007Air-conditioning systems or apparatus not covered by F24F1/00 or F24F3/00, e.g. using solar heat or combined with household units such as an oven or water heater cooling apparatus specially adapted for use in air-conditioning
    • F24F5/001Compression cycle type
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24DDOMESTIC- OR SPACE-HEATING SYSTEMS, e.g. CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEMS; DOMESTIC HOT-WATER SUPPLY SYSTEMS; ELEMENTS OR COMPONENTS THEREFOR
    • F24D19/00Details
    • F24D19/10Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices
    • F24D19/1006Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices for water heating systems
    • F24D19/1009Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices for water heating systems for central heating
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24DDOMESTIC- OR SPACE-HEATING SYSTEMS, e.g. CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEMS; DOMESTIC HOT-WATER SUPPLY SYSTEMS; ELEMENTS OR COMPONENTS THEREFOR
    • F24D3/00Hot-water central heating systems
    • F24D3/18Hot-water central heating systems using heat pumps
    • F24F11/0012
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F3/00Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems
    • F24F3/06Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems characterised by the arrangements for the supply of heat-exchange fluid for the subsequent treatment of primary air in the room units
    • F24F3/065Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems characterised by the arrangements for the supply of heat-exchange fluid for the subsequent treatment of primary air in the room units with a plurality of evaporators or condensers
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B13/00Compression machines, plant or systems with reversible cycle
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B25/00Machines, plant, or systems, using a combination of modes of operation covered by two or more of the groups F25B1/00 - F25B23/00
    • F25B25/005Machines, plant, or systems, using a combination of modes of operation covered by two or more of the groups F25B1/00 - F25B23/00 using primary and secondary systems
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2313/00Compression machines, plant, or systems with reversible cycle not otherwise provided for
    • F25B2313/003Indoor unit with water as a heat sink or heat source
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2313/00Compression machines, plant, or systems with reversible cycle not otherwise provided for
    • F25B2313/023Compression machines, plant, or systems with reversible cycle not otherwise provided for using multiple indoor units
    • F25B2313/0231Compression machines, plant, or systems with reversible cycle not otherwise provided for using multiple indoor units with simultaneous cooling and heating
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2313/00Compression machines, plant, or systems with reversible cycle not otherwise provided for
    • F25B2313/031Sensor arrangements
    • F25B2313/0314Temperature sensors near the indoor heat exchanger
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2600/00Control issues
    • F25B2600/13Pump speed control
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02BCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
    • Y02B30/00Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC]
    • Y02B30/08Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC] relating to domestic heating, space heating, domestic hot water heating [DHW] or supply systems
    • Y02B30/12Hot water central heating systems using heat pumps
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02BCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
    • Y02B30/00Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC]
    • Y02B30/70Efficient control or regulation technologies
    • Y02B30/74Technologies based on motor control
    • Y02B30/745Speed regulation of pumps in flow control systems

Abstract

An air-conditioning apparatus includes a heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode in which when the temperature of a heat medium falls outside a predetermined temperature range while a compressor and a pump are kept stopped, the compressor and the pump are driven to cause an intermediate heat exchanger to exchange heat between a refrigerant and the heat medium so that the heat medium is heated or cooled to have a temperature that falls within the temperature range.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a U.S. national stage application of PCT/JP2012/076248 filed on Oct. 10, 2012, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present invention relates to an air-conditioning apparatus such as a multi-air-conditioning apparatus for buildings.
  • BACKGROUND
  • In a multi-air-conditioning apparatus for buildings, which is a typical air-conditioning apparatus, a refrigerant circulates between an outdoor unit serving as a heat source device disposed outdoors and an indoor unit disposed indoors so that cooling energy or heating energy is conveyed into a room. Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant is often used as a refrigerant, and the use of a natural refrigerant such as CO2 has also been proposed.
  • In a chiller which typifies the conventional air-conditioning apparatus as well, a heat source device located outdoors generates cooling energy or heating energy, and a heat exchanger disposed in an outdoor unit transmits the cooling energy or heating energy to a heat medium such as water or antifreeze (see, for example, Patent Literature 1). In such a chiller, cooling energy or heating energy transmitted to the heat medium is conveyed to, for example, a fan coil unit or a panel heater serving as an indoor unit to enable cooling or heating.
  • In the chiller, heat is exchanged between a refrigerant and water on the outside, and the water having undergone heat exchange is conveyed to the indoor unit. Thus, considerable power is necessary for conveying water, resulting in deterioration of energy saving performance.
  • In addition, in the chiller, when a pump in a water circuit is kept stopped for a long period of time, cooling energy of the refrigerant in the refrigerant circuit is continuously transmitted to the water near the heat exchanger, so the water is likely to freeze in the pipe.
  • In another proposed air-conditioning apparatus, a refrigerant circulation circuit is extended to a portion near the inside of the room. If such an air-conditioning apparatus employs HCF refrigerant, a refrigerant such as HFC is conveyed to the indoor unit. Thus, damage to a pipe in the indoor unit, for example, causes leakage of a refrigerant into the room, resulting in deterioration of the indoor environments.
  • In view of this, a proposed air-conditioning apparatus includes pipes configured to prevent a refrigerant such as HFC from circulating near an indoor unit in order to attain excellent energy saving performance, and prevent freezing of a heat medium (see, for example, Patent Literature 2).
  • The technique of Patent Literature 2 includes an anti-freezing operation mode for preventing freezing of water in a heat medium pipe. In the anti-freezing operation mode, when the temperature detected by a temperature sensor decreases to a set temperature or lower while a compressor or a pump is kept stopped, an outdoor unit starts in a heating mode. Then, in this operation mode, heat is exchanged between a high-temperature high-pressure refrigerant and the heat medium so as to prevent freezing of the heat medium in the heat medium pipe.
  • PATENT LITERATURE
  • Patent Literature 1: Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. 2003-343936 (see, for example, FIG. 1)
  • Patent Literature 2: WO2010/050003A1 (see, for example, claim 1 and FIG. 1)
  • In the technique of Patent Literature 2, suppose, for example, the temperature detected by the temperature sensor decreases to the set temperature or lower and the apparatus shifts to an anti-freezing operation mode while the compressor is kept stopped in a cooling mode. In this case, a heating mode is performed to heat the heat medium, thereby suppressing freezing of the heat medium.
  • In transition from the anti-freezing operation mode to the cooling mode again, if a heat medium temperature necessary for achieving a target indoor temperature is greatly different from a heat medium temperature at the start of the compressor in the cooling mode, air providing a feeling of draft (a feeling of excessive cold or heat) is disadvantageously supplied into the room, resulting in the possibility of impaired comfort of the user.
  • Since wind providing a feeling of draft is not supplied into the room, if an operation of reducing the amount of air blowing from an indoor unit is performed for a long period of time, the time taken for the room to reach a target temperature may increase.
  • SUMMARY
  • The present invention has been made in order to solve the above-mentioned problems, and has as its object to provide an air-conditioning apparatus that can supply air providing little feeling of draft (a feeling of cold or heat) to the room immediately after the start of operation and reduce an increase in time taken for the room to reach a target indoor temperature.
  • An air-conditioning apparatus according to the present invention includes a refrigeration cycle circuit including a compressor, a heat source side heat exchanger, at least one expansion valve, and an intermediate heat exchanger connected to one another via refrigerant pipes, the intermediate heat exchanger being configured to exchange heat between a refrigerant and a heat medium, and a heat medium circulation circuit including the intermediate heat exchanger, a pump configured to convey the heat medium, and a use side heat exchanger connected to one another via heat medium pipes. The apparatus includes a heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode in which when a temperature of the heat medium falls outside a predetermined temperature range while the compressor and the pump are kept stopped, the compressor and the pump are driven to cause the intermediate heat exchanger to exchange heat between the refrigerant and the heat medium so that the heat medium is heated or cooled to have a temperature that falls within the predetermined temperature range.
  • In the air-conditioning apparatus of the present invention, even when the operations of the compressor and the pump are temporarily stopped so that the temperature of the heat medium varies and falls outside the predetermined temperature range because of factors associated with, for example, outdoor air, the compressor and the pump are driven to allow the intermediate heat exchanger to exchange heat between the refrigerant and the heat medium so that the temperature of the heat medium falls within the predetermined temperature range.
  • With this arrangement, the air-conditioning apparatus of the present invention can supply wind with little feeling of draft immediately after the start of operation and reduce an increase in time taken for the room to reach a target indoor temperature.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an example of the overall structure of an air-conditioning apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates another example of the overall structure of the air-conditioning apparatus different from the example of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates an example of a circuit diagram for a refrigerant and a heat medium in the air-conditioning apparatus of the embodiment.
  • FIG. 4 is a circuit diagram illustrating flow of a refrigerant and a heat medium in a cooling only operation.
  • FIG. 5 is a circuit diagram illustrating flow of a refrigerant and a heat medium in a heating only operation.
  • FIG. 6 is a circuit diagram illustrating flow of a refrigerant and a heat medium in a cooling main operation.
  • FIG. 7 is a circuit diagram illustrating flow of a refrigerant and a heat medium in a heating main operation.
  • FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing operation in a heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode.
  • FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing operation in a heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode different from that shown in FIG. 8.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • An embodiment of an air-conditioning apparatus according to the present invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings. The following embodiment does not limit the present invention. In the attached drawings including FIG. 1, the size relationship among components may be different from those in an actual relationship.
  • The air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment can supply air providing little feeling of draft to an air-conditioned space (e.g., a room, a room of a building, or a warehouse) immediately after the start of operation, and has an operation mode (a heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode) for reducing an increase in time taken for the air-conditioned space to reach a target indoor temperature.
  • Configuration
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an example of the overall structure of an air-conditioning apparatus according to an embodiment.
  • The air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment includes a heat source device (an outdoor unit) 1, an indoor unit 2 provided in, for example, an indoor air conditioner, and a relay unit 3 separated from the outdoor unit 1 and located in, for example, a non-air-conditioned space 8.
  • The heat source device 1 is connected to the relay unit 3 by refrigerant pipes 4, and a refrigerant exhibiting a two-phase change or a refrigerant (a primary medium) in supercritical state circulates through them. The relay unit 3 is connected to the indoor unit 2 by heat medium pipes 5, and a heat medium (a secondary medium) such as water, brine, or antifreeze circulates through them. The relay unit 3 includes, for example, intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b to, for example, exchange heat between the refrigerant supplied from the heat source device 1 and the heat medium supplied from the indoor unit 2.
  • The heat source device 1 is generally disposed in an outdoor space 6 that is outside a construction 9 such as a building. The indoor unit 2 is disposed in an indoor space 7 such as a room inside the building construction 9 at a position at which the indoor unit 2 can convey heated or cooled air.
  • The relay unit 3 is encased in a housing different from housings accommodating the heat source device 1 and the indoor unit 2, and is connected to the heat source device 1 and the indoor unit 2 by the refrigerant pipes 4 and the heat medium pipes 5 so that the relay unit 3 can be located at a position different from the outdoor space 6 and the indoor space 7. Referring to FIG. 1, the relay unit 3 is disposed in the non-air-conditioned space 8, such as a space above a ceiling, which is a space located inside the construction 9 but different from the indoor space 7. The relay unit 3 can be disposed in, for example, a common area including, for example, an elevator.
  • The heat source device 1 and the relay unit 3 are connected to each other by two refrigerant pipes 4. The relay unit 3 and each indoor unit 2 are connected to each other by two heat medium pipes 5. Such connection using two pipes facilitates construction of the air-conditioning apparatus.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates another example of the overall structure of the air-conditioning apparatus different from the example of FIG. 1. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment may include a plurality of relay units 3. More specifically, the relay units 3 include a main-relay unit 3 a and two sub-relay units 3 b(1) and 3 b(2) branching from the main-relay unit 3 a. In this manner, the plurality of sub-relay units 3 b can be connected to the single main-relay unit 3 a. In this structure, three pipes are used to connect the main-relay unit 3 a and the sub-relay units 3 b.
  • Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the indoor unit 2 is of the ceiling cassette type as an example, but the present invention is not limited to this type. More specifically, the indoor unit 2 is not limited to the ceiling cassette type, and may adopt the ceiling concealed type or the ceiling suspension type as long as heated or cooled air can be blown to the indoor space 7 directly or via, for example, a duct.
  • In the above-described example, although the heat source device 1 is placed in the outdoor space 6 outside the construction 9, the present invention is not limited to this example. The heat source device 1 may be placed in an enclosed space such as a machinery room having, for example, a ventilation opening. The heat source device 1 may also be placed inside the construction 9 to release waste heat to the outside of the construction 9 through an exhaust duct, or may use a water-cooled heat source device as located in the construction 9.
  • The relay unit 3 can also be placed near the heat source device 1. In this case, however, if the distance from the relay unit 3 to the indoor unit 2 is too long, a large amount of power is needed to convey the heat medium, and thus the energy saving performance deteriorates. For this reason, when the relay unit 3 is located near the heat source device 1, the position of the heat source device 1 is preferably determined such that the distance from the relay unit 3 to the indoor unit 2 is not too long.
  • The structure of the air-conditioning apparatus illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 will be specifically described. FIG. 3 illustrates an example of a circuit diagram for a refrigerant and a heat medium in the air-conditioning apparatus of the embodiment. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the air-conditioning apparatus includes the heat source device 1, the indoor unit 2, and the relay unit 3 described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. In the following description, the relay unit 3 of the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment includes one main-relay unit 3 a and one sub-relay unit 3 b illustrated in FIG. 2.
  • The heat source device 1 includes a compressor 10 that compresses and discharges a refrigerant; a four-way valve 11 that switches the flow of the refrigerant; a heat source side heat exchanger 12 that serves as a condenser (a radiator) or an evaporator; check valves 13 a, 13 b, 13 c, and 13 d that can uniform the direction in which the refrigerant flows, irrespective of whether the operation mode is a cooling operation or a heating operation; and an accumulator 17 storing an excess refrigerant.
  • The indoor unit 2 includes use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d serving as evaporators or condensers.
  • The relay unit 3 includes the main-relay unit 3 a and the sub-relay unit 3 b. The main-relay unit 3 a includes a gas-liquid separator 14 that separates the refrigerant into gas and liquid refrigerants, and an expansion valve (e.g., an electronic expansion valve) 16 e.
  • The sub-relay unit 3 b includes the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b for exchanging heat between the refrigerant and a heat medium; expansion valves (e.g., electronic expansion valves) 16 a to 16 d for reducing the pressure of the refrigerant; pumps 21 a and 21 b for conveying the heat medium; and channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and channel switching valves 23 a to 23 d such as three-way valves for switching the flow of the heat medium.
  • In the sub-relay unit 3 b, stop valves 24 a to 24 d that can open and close channels are connected to the heat medium pipes 5 on the sides of the inlets of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, and flow control valves 25 a to 25 d that can adjust the flow rate of the heat medium are connected to the heat medium pipes 5 on the sides of the outlets of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d.
  • The sub-relay unit 3 b further includes bypasses 27 a to 27 d connecting the inlets and the outlets of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d. The bypasses 27 a to 27 d connect the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d to the heat medium pipes 5 provided between the channel switching valves 23 a to 23 d and the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d.
  • The channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and 23 a to 23 d are provided for the inlet and outlet channels to the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d. More specifically, the channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d switch the inlet channels of intermediate heat exchangers to select either intermediate heat exchanger to be connected, and the channel switching valves 23 a to 23 d switch the outlet channels of the intermediate heat exchangers to select either intermediate heat exchanger to be connected.
  • In the embodiment, the channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d switch the inlet channels of the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b to select either of the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b to be connected, and the channel switching valves 23 a to 23 d switch the outlet channels of the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b to select either of the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b to be connected.
  • The stop valves 24 a to 24 d are located at the inlets of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, and the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d are provided at the outlets of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d. The inlets and outlets of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d are connected to each other by the bypasses 27 a to 27 d through the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d.
  • The sub-relay unit 3 b includes first to seventh temperature sensors and pressure sensors, as will be described below.
  • The sub-relay unit 3 b includes temperature sensors (first temperature sensors) 31 a and 31 b for detecting the temperatures of the heat medium at the outlets of the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b; temperature sensors (second temperature sensors) 32 a and 32 b for detecting the temperatures of the heat medium at the inlets of the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b; temperature sensors (third temperature sensors) 33 a to 33 d for detecting the temperatures of the heat medium at the inlets of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d; and temperature sensors (fourth temperature sensors) 34 a to 34 d for detecting the temperatures of the heat medium at the outlets of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d.
  • The sub-relay unit 3 b includes a temperature sensor (a fifth temperature sensor) 35 for detecting the temperature of the refrigerant at the outlet of the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a; a temperature sensor (a sixth temperature sensor) 37 for detecting the temperature of the refrigerant at the inlet of the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b; and a temperature sensor (a seventh temperature sensor) 38 for detecting the temperature of the refrigerant at the outlet of the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b.
  • The sub-relay unit 3 b further includes a pressure sensor 36 for detecting the pressure of the refrigerant at the outlet of the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a; and an outdoor-air temperature sensor 39, located in the outdoor unit 1, for detecting an outdoor-air temperature.
  • These temperature sensors and pressure sensors are not specifically limited, and can be various types of thermometers, temperature sensors, pressure gauges, and pressure sensors.
  • The air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment includes a refrigeration cycle circuit including the compressor 10, the four-way valve 11, the heat source side heat exchanger 12, the check valves 13 a to 13 d, the gas-liquid separator 14, the expansion valves 16 a to 16 e, the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b, and the accumulator 17 connected to each other via the refrigerant pipes.
  • The air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment also includes a heat medium circulation circuit (to be also referred to as a first heat medium circulation circuit hereinafter) including the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a, the pump 21 a, the channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d, the stop valves 24 a to 24 d, the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d, and the channel switching valves 23 a to 23 d connected to each other via the heat medium pipes. The air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment also includes a heat medium circulation circuit (to be also referred to as a second heat medium circulation circuit hereinafter) including the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b, the pump 21 b, the channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d, the stop valves 24 a to 24 d, the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d, and the channel switching valves 23 a to 23 d connected to each other via the heat medium pipes.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 3, in the first heat medium circulation circuit, the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d are connected in parallel to the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a. In the second heat medium circulation circuit as well, the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d are also connected in parallel to the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b.
  • The heat source device 1 includes a control device 100 that controls components constituting the heat source device 1 to cause the heat source device 1 to operate as a so-called outdoor unit. The relay unit 3 includes a control device 300 that controls components constituting the relay unit 3 to cause the relay unit 3 to perform the following operations. The control devices 100 and 300 are implemented using, for example, microcomputers, and are connected to each other to be capable of communication with each other. The operation of the air-conditioning apparatus in each operation mode will now be described.
  • Cooling Only Operation
  • FIG. 4 is a circuit diagram illustrating flow of the refrigerant and the heat medium in a cooling only operation. In the cooling only operation, the refrigerant is compressed by the compressor 10, turns into a high-temperature high-pressure gas refrigerant, and enters the heat source side heat exchanger 12 through the four-way valve 11. The refrigerant is condensed and liquefied in the heat source side heat exchanger 12, flows out of the heat source device 1 through the check valve 13 a, and then flows into the relay unit 3 through the refrigerant pipes 4. In the relay unit 3, the refrigerant enters the gas-liquid separator 14 and is introduced into the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b through the expansion valves 16 e and 16 a. In this process, the refrigerant is expanded by the expansion valve 16 a and turns into a low-temperature low-pressure two-phase refrigerant, and the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b serves as an evaporator. In the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b, the refrigerant turns into a low-temperature low-pressure gas refrigerant, flows out of the relay unit 3 through the expansion valve 16 c, and flows into the heat source device 1 again through the refrigerant pipes 4. In the heat source device 1, the refrigerant passes through the check valve 13 d and is drawn by suction into the compressor 10 through the four-way valve 11 and the accumulator 17. At this time, the expansion valves 16 b and 16 d have opening degrees small enough to prevent flow of the refrigerant, and the expansion valve 16 c is fully opened so that no pressure loss occurs.
  • A motion of a secondary heat medium (e.g., water or antifreeze) will now be described. In the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b, cooling energy of a primary refrigerant is transmitted to a secondary heat medium, and the cooled heat medium is caused to flow through pipes on the secondary side by the pump 21 b. The heat medium having flowed out of the pump 21 b passes sequentially through the channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and the stop valves 24 a to 24 d, and flows into the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d and the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d. At this time, the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d operate such that only a part of the heat medium in an amount necessary for providing an air-conditioning load required in a room flows in the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, and the remaining part of the heat medium passes through the bypasses 27 a to 27 d and does not contribute to heat exchange. A heat medium stream having passed through the bypasses 27 a to 27 d merges with a heat medium stream having passed through the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, flows into the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b through the channel switching valves 23 a to 23 d, and is drawn by suction into the pump 21 b again.
  • The air-conditioning load required in the room can be provided by controlling the flow rate of the heat medium passing through the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d by the control device 300 so that the differences between the temperatures detected by the third temperature sensors 33 a to 33 d and those detected by the fourth temperature sensors 34 a to 34 d are kept at a predetermined target value. The same applies to a heating only operation, a cooling main operation, and a heating main operation.
  • Since no heat medium needs to be supplied to the use side heat exchangers (including thermo-off) having no thermal loads, the channels are closed by the stop valves 24 a to 24 d so that no heat medium flows into these use side heat exchangers. Referring to FIG. 4, since the use side heat exchangers 26 a and 26 b have thermal loads, the heat medium is supplied into them. On the other hand, the use side heat exchangers 26 c and 26 d have no thermal loads, and thus the corresponding stop valves 24 c and 24 d are closed.
  • Heating Only Operation
  • FIG. 5 is a circuit diagram illustrating flow of the refrigerant and the heat medium in a heating only operation. In the heating only operation, the refrigerant is compressed by the compressor 10, turns into a high-temperature high-pressure gas refrigerant, flows out of the heat source device 1 sequentially through the four-way valve 11 and the check valve 13 b, and then flows into the relay unit 3 through the refrigerant pipes 4. In the relay unit 3, the refrigerant is guided to the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a through the gas-liquid separator 14, condensed and liquefied in the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a, and flows out of the relay unit 3 through the expansion valves 16 d and 16 b. In this process, the refrigerant is expanded by the expansion valve 16 b, turns into a low-temperature low-pressure two-phase refrigerant, and flows again into the heat source device 1 through the refrigerant pipes 4. In the heat source device 1, the refrigerant passes through the check valve 13 c and is introduced into the heat source side heat exchanger 12, and the heat source side heat exchanger 12 serves as an evaporator. Then, the refrigerant turns into a low-temperature low-pressure gas refrigerant and is drawn by suction into the compressor 10 through the four-way valve 11 and the accumulator 17. At this time, the expansion valve 16 e and the expansion valve 16 a or 16 c have opening degrees small enough to prevent flow of the refrigerant.
  • A motion of a secondary heat medium (e.g., water or antifreeze) will now be described. In the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a, heating energy of a primary refrigerant is transmitted to a secondary heat medium, and the heated heat medium is caused to flow through pipes on the secondary side by the pump 21 a. The heat medium having flowed out of the pump 21 a passes sequentially through the channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and the stop valves 24 a to 24 d, and flows into the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d and the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d. At this time, the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d operate such that only a part of the heat medium in an amount necessary for providing an air-conditioning load required in a room flows in the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, and the remaining part of the heat medium passes through the bypasses 27 a to 27 d and does not contribute to heat exchange. A heat medium stream having passed through the bypasses 27 a to 27 d merges with a heat medium stream having passed through the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, flows into the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a through the channel switching valves 23 a to 23 d, and is drawn by suction into the pump 21 a again. The air-conditioning load required in the room can be provided by a control operation in which the differences between the temperatures detected by the third temperature sensors 33 a to 33 d and those detected by the fourth temperature sensors 34 a to 34 d are kept at a predetermined target value.
  • In this process, since no heat medium needs to be supplied to the use side heat exchangers (including thermo-off) having no thermal loads, the channels are closed by the stop valves 24 a to 24 d so that no heat medium flows into these use side heat exchangers. Referring to FIG. 5, since the use side heat exchangers 26 a and 26 b have thermal loads, the heat medium flows through them. On the other hand, the use side heat exchangers 26 c and 26 d have no thermal loads, and thus the corresponding stop valves 24 c and 24 d are closed.
  • Cooling Main Operation
  • FIG. 6 is a circuit diagram illustrating flow of the refrigerant and the heat medium in a cooling main operation. In the cooling main operation, the refrigerant is compressed by the compressor 10, turns into a high-temperature high-pressure gas refrigerant, and is introduced into the heat source side heat exchanger 12 through the four-way valve 11. Then, the gas refrigerant is condensed into a two-phase refrigerant, which flows out of the heat source side heat exchanger 12, flows out of the heat source device 1 through the check valve 13 a, and flows into the relay unit 3 through the refrigerant pipes 4. In the relay unit 3, the refrigerant enters the gas-liquid separator 14 where the two-phase refrigerant is separated into gas and liquid refrigerants. The gas refrigerant is introduced into the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a, and condensed and liquefied in the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a, and passes through the expansion valve 16 d. On the other hand, the liquid refrigerant separated by the gas-liquid separator 14 flows into the expansion valve 16 e, is condensed and liquefied in the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a, and merges with the liquid refrigerant having passed through the expansion valve 16 d. The refrigerant then passes through the expansion valve 16 a and is introduced into the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b. In this process, the refrigerant is expanded by the expansion valve 16 a and turns into a low-temperature low-pressure two-phase refrigerant, and the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b serves as an evaporator. The refrigerant turns into a low-temperature low-pressure gas refrigerant in the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b, flows out of the relay unit 3 through the expansion valve 16 c, and flows again into the heat source device 1 through the refrigerant pipes 4. In the heat source device 1, the refrigerant passes through the check valve 13 d and is drawn by suction into the compressor 10 through the four-way valve 11 and the accumulator 17. At this time, the expansion valve 16 b has an opening degree small enough to prevent flow of the refrigerant, and the expansion valve 16 c is fully opened so that no pressure loss occurs.
  • A motion of a secondary heat medium (e.g., water or antifreeze) will now be described. In the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a, heating energy of a primary refrigerant is transmitted to the secondary heat medium, and the heated heat medium is caused to flow through pipes on the secondary side by the pump 21 a. In the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b, cooling energy of the primary refrigerant is transmitted to the secondary heat medium, and the cooled heat medium is caused to flow through pipes on the secondary side by the pump 21 b. The heat medium streams having flowed out of the pumps 21 a and 21 b merge into one heat medium stream, which passes sequentially through the channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and the stop valves 24 a to 24 d and flows into the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d and the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d. At this time, the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d operate such that only a part of the heat medium in an amount necessary for providing an air-conditioning load required in a room flows in the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, and the remaining part of the heat medium passes through the bypasses 27 a to 27 d and does not contribute to heat exchange. A heat medium stream having passed through the bypasses 27 a to 27 d merges with a heat medium stream having passed through the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, and the heat medium passes through the channel switching valves 23 a to 23 d. Then, the hot heat medium flows into the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a and returns to the pump 21 a, while the cold heat medium flows into the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b and returns to the pump 21 b. In this process, upon the operation of the channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and 23 a to 23 d, the hot and cold heat media are not mixed and are individually introduced into the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d having heating loads and cooling loads. The air-conditioning load required in the room is provided by a control operation in which the differences between the temperatures detected by the third temperature sensors 33 a to 33 d and those detected by the fourth temperature sensors 34 a to 34 d are kept at a target value.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates a state in which a heating energy load is generated in the use side heat exchanger 26 a, and a cooling energy load is generated in the use side heat exchanger 26 b.
  • In this case, since it is unnecessary to supply a heat medium to the use side heat exchangers (including thermo-off) having no thermal loads, the channels are closed by the stop valves 24 a to 24 d so that no heat medium flows into these use side heat exchangers. Referring to FIG. 6, since the use side heat exchangers 26 a and 26 b have thermal loads, the heat medium flows through them. On the other hand, the use side heat exchangers 26 c and 26 d have no thermal loads, and thus the corresponding stop valves 24 c and 24 d are closed.
  • Heating Main Operation
  • FIG. 7 is a circuit diagram illustrating flow of a refrigerant and a heat medium in a heating main operation. In the heating main operation, the refrigerant is compressed by the compressor 10, turns into a high-temperature high-pressure gas refrigerant, flows out of the heat source device 1 through the four-way valve 11 and the check valve 13 b, and flows into the relay unit 3 through the refrigerant pipes 4. In the relay unit 3, the refrigerant is introduced into the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a through the gas-liquid separator 14, and is condensed and liquefied in the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a. Thereafter, the refrigerant having passed through the expansion valve 16 d is divided into a channel passing through the expansion valve 16 a and a channel passing through the expansion valve 16 b. The refrigerant having passed through the expansion valve 16 a is expanded by the expansion valve 16 a, turns into a low-temperature low-pressure two-phase refrigerant, and flows into the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b, and the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b serves as an evaporator. The refrigerant having flowed out of the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b evaporates into a gas refrigerant, and passes through the expansion valve 16 c. On the other hand, the refrigerant having passed through the expansion valve 16 b is expanded by the expansion valve 16 b, turns into a low-temperature low-pressure two-phase refrigerant, merges with the refrigerant having passed through the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b and the expansion valve 16 c, and turns into a low-temperature low-pressure refrigerant with a higher quality of vapor. The resulting refrigerant flows out of the relay unit 3 and flows again into the heat source device 1 through the refrigerant pipes 4. In the heat source device 1, the refrigerant is introduced into the heat source side heat exchanger 12 through the check valve 13 c, and the heat source side heat exchanger 12 serves as an evaporator. In the heat source side heat exchanger 12, therefore, the low-temperature low-pressure two-phase refrigerant is evaporated into a gas refrigerant and is drawn by suction into the compressor 10 through the four-way valve 11 and the accumulator 17. At this time, the expansion valve 16 e has an opening degree small enough to prevent flow of the refrigerant.
  • A motion of a secondary heat medium (e.g., water or antifreeze) will now be described. In the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a, heating energy of a primary refrigerant is transmitted to a secondary heat medium, and a heated heat medium is caused to flow through pipes on the secondary side by the pump 21 a. In the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b, cooling energy of a primary refrigerant is transmitted to the secondary heat medium, and the cooled heat medium is caused to flow through pipes on the secondary side by the pump 21 b. The heat medium streams having flowed out of the pumps 21 a and 21 b pass through the channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and the stop valves 24 a to 24 d, and flow into the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d and the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d. At this time, the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d operate such that only a part of the heat medium in an amount necessary for providing an air-conditioning load required in the room flows in the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, and the remaining part of the heat medium passes through the bypasses 27 a to 27 d and does not contribute to heat exchange. A heat medium stream having passed through the bypasses 27 a to 27 d merges with a heat medium stream having passed through the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, and the heat medium passes through the channel switching valves 23 a to 23 d. Then, the hot heat medium flows into the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a and returns to the pump 21 a, while the cold heat medium flows into the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b and returns to the pump 21 b. In this process, upon the operation of the channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and 23 a to 23 d, the hot and cold heat media are not mixed and individually introduced into the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d having heating loads and cooling loads. The air-conditioning load required in the room is provided by a control operation in which the differences between the temperatures detected by the third temperature sensors 33 a to 33 d and those detected by the fourth temperature sensors 34 a to 34 d are kept at a target value.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates a state in which a heating energy load is generated in the use side heat exchanger 26 a, and a cooling energy load is generated in the use side heat exchanger 26 b.
  • In this case, since it is unnecessary to supply a heat medium to the use side heat exchangers (including thermo-off) having no thermal loads, the channels are closed by the stop valves 24 a to 24 d so that no heat medium flows to these use side heat exchangers. Referring to FIG. 7, since the use side heat exchangers 26 a and 26 b have thermal loads, the heat medium flows through them. On the other hand, the use side heat exchangers 26 c and 26 d have no thermal loads, and thus the corresponding stop valves 24 c and 24 d are closed.
  • As described above, when heating loads are generated in the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, the corresponding channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and 23 a to 23 d are switched to channels connected to the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a for heating. When cooling loads are generated in the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, the corresponding channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and 23 a to 23 d are switched to channels connected to the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b for cooling. With this operation, the indoor unit 2 can freely perform a heating operation and a cooling operation.
  • The channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and 23 a to 23 d may adopt any type such as three-way valves that can switch three-way channels or a combination of, for example, two types of shut-off valves that open and close two-way channels, for example, as long as the channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and 23 a to 23 d can switch the channels. The channel switching valve may also be implemented using a valve such as a mixing valve of the stepping-motor drive type that can change the flow rate of a three-way channel or a combination of two valves such as electronic expansion valves that can change the flow rate of two-way channels. In this case, it is possible to prevent a water hammer produced upon sudden opening or closing of a channel.
  • The thermal load in each of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d is expressed as Equation (1), and obtained by multiplying the flow rate, density, and specific heat at constant pressure of a heat medium and the difference between the temperatures of the heat medium at the inlet and outlet of each of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d. In Equation (1), Vw is the flow rate of the heat medium, ρw is the density of the heat medium, Cpw is the specific heat at constant pressure of the heat medium, Tw is the temperature of the heat medium, a suffix “in” symbolizes a value for the heat medium at the inlet of each of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, and a suffix “out” symbolizes a value for the heat medium at the outlet of each of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d.

  • Q=V w·(ρwin ·Cp win ·T win−ρwout ·Cp wout ·T wout)≈V w·ρw ·Cp w(T win −T wout)  [Math. 1]
  • When the flow rate of the heat medium flowing into the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d remains constant, the differences between the temperatures of the heat medium at the inlets and outlets of the heat medium vary depending on a change in thermal load experienced by the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d. Thus, the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d are controlled such that the differences between the temperatures of the heat medium at the inlets and outlets of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d approach a predetermined target value. With this operation, an excess heat medium can be supplied into the bypasses 27 a to 27 d to control the flow rate of the heat medium flowing into the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d. The target value of the differences between the temperatures of the heat medium at the inlets and outlets of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d is set at, for example, 5 degrees C.
  • FIGS. 3 to 7 assume that the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d are implemented using mixing valves located downstream of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d. Alternatively, the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d may be implemented using three-way valves located upstream of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d.
  • Conventional Air-Conditioning Apparatus
  • In the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment, an air-conditioning operation instruction issued from a terminal such as a remote controller is transmitted to at least one of units constituting the system, and an operation corresponding to this instruction is performed. That is, when all instructions output from the terminal such as the remote controller are associated with a heating operation, the four-way valve 11, for example, is controlled such that the control devices 100 and 300 perform a heating only operation.
  • While a heating only operation, a cooling only operation, a heating main operation, or a cooling main operation is performed, a refrigerant and a heat medium on the refrigerant secondary side exchange heat through the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b, and thus the temperature of the heat medium is kept constant.
  • However, when a suspension mode is set, the heat medium in the heat medium pipes 5 exchanges heat with, for example, air around the heat medium pipes 5. That is, the heat medium temperature is affected by an ambient air temperature (e.g., outdoor air or indoor temperature). In this situation, the temperature of the heat medium becomes unsuitable for a cooling or heating operation especially in summer and winter. The suspension mode refers to a mode in which the power supply of the air-conditioning apparatus is on, but an air-conditioning operation is temporarily stopped because, for example, an indoor space has reached a target temperature. In this suspension mode, the stop of the air-conditioning operation refers to a mode in which operation of fans (not shown) provided to the compressor 10, the pumps 21 a and 21 b, and the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d are kept stopped. In the suspension mode, although the heat source device 1 is kept stopped, the indoor unit 2 performs an air supply operation in some cases.
  • In the case of transition from the suspension mode to a cooling or heating operation, (1) air providing a feeling of draft is supplied into the room; or (2) operation is performed with a reduced amount of air blowing from the indoor unit for a long period of time in order to reduce a feeling of draft.
  • More specifically, (1) in summer, the temperature of a heat medium increases in the suspension mode. Thus, when the suspension mode shifts to a cooling operation, the heat medium having an increased temperature is supplied to the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d. Accordingly, the temperature of air supplied into the room through fans increases, providing a feeling of draft (a feeling of excessive heat) to the user.
  • In winter, the temperature of a heat medium decreases in a suspension mode. Thus, when the suspension mode shifts to a heating operation, a heat medium having a reduced temperature is supplied to the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d. Accordingly, the temperature of air supplied into the room through fans decreases, providing a feeling of draft (a feeling of excessive cold) to the user.
  • In addition, (2) the feeling of draft for (1) mentioned above can be reduced by operation with a reduced volume of air from fans until the temperature of the heat medium decreases (in the case of summer) or the temperature of the heat medium increases (in the case of winter). In these cases, however, the time required by the room temperature to reach a target temperature increases.
  • In view of this, in the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment, operation shown in the flowcharts of FIGS. 8 and 9 are performed so that problems posed in (1) and (2) can be solved.
  • Heat Medium Temperature Adjustment Operation Mode
  • In the heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode, when the pumps 21 a and 21 b are stopped after an operation of preventing a heat medium from freezing, the temperature of the heat medium that varies upon heating or cooling the heat medium through, for example, outdoor air is set to fall within a predetermined temperature range. More specifically, the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment is configured to perform two heat medium temperature adjustment operation modes.
  • (A) One of the two modes is enabled when the outdoor-air temperature sensor 39 is not used. More specifically, in this mode, although the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment includes the outdoor-air temperature sensor 39, even if the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment does not include the outdoor-air temperature sensor 39, the heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode can be performed.
  • (B) The other mode is used to perform a control operation using the outdoor-air temperature sensor 39 in addition to the above-mentioned control operation (A). More specifically, in this mode the season is predicted based on a detection result obtained by the outdoor-air temperature sensor 39 and a predetermined temperature range, which is constant in control operation (A), is changed.
  • As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment includes a system capable of simultaneous cooling and heating operations. Thus, the heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode of the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment can be used for either of cooling and heating modes.
  • FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing operation in the heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode. The heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode in the above-mentioned control operation (A) will be described first. The control devices 100 and 500 will be collectively referred to as a “control device” hereinafter.
  • (Step 1)
  • The control device determines whether the compressor 10 and the pumps 21 a and 21 b have been kept stopped for a predetermined time (e.g., one hour).
  • If the predetermined time has elapsed, the process proceeds to step 2.
  • If the predetermined time has not elapsed, step 1 is repeated.
  • (Step 2)
  • The control device drives the pumps 21 a and 21 b for a predetermined time.
  • After driving the pumps 21 a and 21 b for the predetermined time, the control device stops the pumps 21 a and 21 b again, and the process proceeds to step 3.
  • Step 2 is a step for preventing the temperature around a sensor from deviating from the average temperature of the heat medium, and in step 2, the pumps 21 a and 21 b are driven for a limited time.
  • (Step 3)
  • The control device determines whether the detection result of the heat medium temperature Tw is equal to or greater than a preset lower limit TL and equal to or less than a preset upper limit TH. For example, supposing that the temperature as a reference is 20 degrees C., it is determined whether the heat medium temperature Tw falls within the range of ±5 degrees C. (TL=15 degrees C., TH=25 degrees C.).
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw falls within the range, the process returns to step 1.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw does not fall within the range, the process proceeds to step 4.
  • (Step 4)
  • The control device determines whether the detection result of the heat medium temperature Tw is higher than a preset upper limit TH (e.g., TH=25 degrees C.). More specifically, in step 4, it is determined whether the water temperature exceeds the upper limit of the temperature range serving as a reference.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw is higher than TH, the process proceeds to step 9.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw is not higher than TH, that is, lower than TL, the process proceeds to step 5.
  • (Step 5)
  • The control device controls various components so as to perform a heating operation.
  • In step 5, to return an excessively reduced heat medium temperature, which is lower than TL, to TL or more, operation is performed in a heating mode.
  • Thus, to obtain flow of a refrigerant and a heat medium in the heating only operation mode, the control device starts the compressor 10, switches the four-way valve 11 to a heating mode, starts the pump 21 b, opens the expansion valves 16 a, 16 c, and 16 e, and closes the expansion valves 16 b and 16 d. The heat medium may be heated by supplying the refrigerant and the heat medium similarly to those in the heating main operation mode.
  • When fans provided to the indoor units 2 a to 2 d are in operation, unnecessary wind is supplied into the room. Thus, the amount of air blown by the indoor units 2 a to 2 d is set to provide a breeze with no or little feeling of draft.
  • (Step 6)
  • The control device determines whether a predetermined time has elapsed after execution of the heating operation of step 5. The predetermined time is preferably determined in accordance with, for example, the length and size of refrigerant pipes and branch pipes.
  • If the predetermined time has elapsed, the process proceeds to step 7.
  • If the predetermined time has not elapsed, step 6 is repeated.
  • (Step 7)
  • The control device determines whether the detection result of the heat medium temperature Tw is higher than a preset lower limit TL+C (where C is an antihunting constant). That is, in step 7, it is determined whether the heat medium temperature Tw falls within a range higher than TL+C.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw exceeds TL+C, the process proceeds to step 8.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw does not exceed TL+C, step 7 is repeated. That is, since the heat medium temperature Tw does not exceed TL+C, the heating operation continues until the heat medium temperature Tw exceeds TL+C.
  • (Step 8)
  • The control device stops the heating operation. More specifically, the control device stops the compressor 10 and the pumps 21 a and 21 b. After step 8, the control device returns to step 1, that is, to a standby state.
  • (Step 9)
  • The control device controls various components so as to perform a cooling operation.
  • In step 9, the heat medium temperature Tw is higher than TH, and in order to return this excessively high heat medium temperature to TH or less, operation is performed in a cooling mode.
  • Thus, to obtain flow of a refrigerant and a heat medium in the cooling only operation mode, the control device starts the compressor 10, switches the four-way valve 11 to a cooling mode, starts the pump 21 a, opens the expansion valves 16 b and 16 d, and closes the expansion valves 16 a, 16 c, and 16 e. The heat medium may be cooled by supplying the refrigerant and the heat medium similarly to those in the cooling main operation mode.
  • When fans provided to the indoor units 2 a to 2 d are in operation, unnecessary wind is supplied into the room. Thus, the amount of air blown by the indoor units 2 a to 2 d is set to provide a breeze with no or little feeling of draft.
  • (Step 10)
  • The control device determines whether a predetermined time has elapsed after execution of the cooling operation of step 5. The predetermined time is preferably determined in accordance with, for example, the length and size of refrigerant pipes and branch pipes.
  • If the predetermined time has elapsed, the process proceeds to step 11.
  • If the predetermined time has not elapsed, step 10 is repeated.
  • (Step 11)
  • The control device determines whether the detection result of the heat medium temperature Tw is lower than a preset upper limit TH−C (where C is an antihunting constant). That is, in step 11, it is determined whether the heat medium temperature falls within a range lower than TH−C.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw is lower than TH−C, the process proceeds to step 12.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw is not lower than TH−C, step 11 is repeated. That is, since the heat medium temperature Tw is not lower than TH−C, the cooling operation continues until the heat medium temperature Tw falls below TH−C.
  • (Step 12)
  • The control device stops the cooling operation. More specifically, the control device stops the compressor 10 and the pumps 21 a and 21 b. After step 12, the control device returns to step 1, that is, to a standby state.
  • Frequent start of the outdoor unit 1 (the compressor 10 and the four-way valve 11) impairs energy saving performance, although this is done for prevention of a feeling of draft. Thus, in steps 7 and 11, it is determined whether the heat medium temperature falls within the range of TL to TH including the antihunting constant C in order to prevent the outdoor unit 1 (the compressor 10 and the four-way valve 11) from repeating on-off more frequently than needed because of hunting of the heat medium temperature Tw.
  • FIG. 8 shows an example of determination as to whether the heat medium temperature Tw falls within the range of ±5 degrees C. (TL=15 degrees C., TH=25 degrees C.) when the reference temperature is 20 degrees C. However, the present invention is not limited to this example, and the reference temperature may be arbitrarily selected.
  • It should be noted that when the reference temperature is set to be close to an outdoor-air temperature of the intermediate periods, the number of start operations of the outdoor unit 1 (the compressor 10 and the four-way valve 11) decreases, and thereby, a higher energy saving performance can be obtained.
  • That is, in the suspension mode of the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment, the compressor 10 and the pumps 21 a and 21 b are also driven such that the heat medium temperature is kept within the predetermined range so as not to provide a feeling of draft. Consequently, energy is consumed accordingly. However, in this embodiment, the reference temperature is set at, for example, a temperature close to an outdoor-air temperature of an intermediate period, and thus energy consumption is reduced so that the energy saving performance of the air-conditioning apparatus can be enhanced.
  • In the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment, before the control device drives the pumps 21 a and 21 b or at the same time (including almost the same time) when the control device drives the pumps 21 a and 21 b, the channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and 23 a to 23 d are switched so as to ensure the circulation channels of the heat medium. With this operation, the heat medium in the heat medium circulation circuit that has been heated or cooled in the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b is conveyed from the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b to the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d. Accordingly, temperature variations of the heat medium can be reduced.
  • FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing the operation of the heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode different from that shown in FIG. 8.
  • In the operation shown in FIG. 8 above, the heat medium temperature in the cooling operation or the heating operation is kept within the predetermined temperature range, and even when the cooling operation or the heating operation starts again, the heat medium temperature can be rapidly cooled or heated to the target temperature. That is, in the operation of FIG. 8, even while any one of the cooling operation or the heating operation is performed, the heat medium temperature can rapidly reach the target temperature.
  • A heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode shown in FIG. 9 is different from that of FIG. 8 in that the predetermined temperature range is changed in accordance with the outdoor-air temperature. More specifically, in the heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode of FIG. 9, the upper and lower limits of the predetermined temperature range shown in FIG. 8 is changed in three patterns of summer, intermediate periods (spring and autumn), and winter, in accordance with the average of the outdoor-air temperature sampled in advance.
  • (Step 21)
  • The control device continuously samples the average outdoor-air temperature and the heat medium temperature.
  • In this embodiment, the control device continuously samples average outdoor-air temperatures and heat medium temperatures for about one day or several days. Data sampled in step 21 is used to determine a heat medium temperature serving as a reference in steps 24-1 to 24-3, which will be described later.
  • (Step 22)
  • The control device determines whether a predetermined time (e.g., one hour) has elapsed after the stop of the compressor 10 and the pumps 21 a and 21 b.
  • If the predetermined time has elapsed, the process proceeds to step 23.
  • If the predetermined time has not elapsed, step 22 is repeated.
  • (Step 23-1)
  • The control device determines whether the average outdoor-air temperature is lower than 10 degrees C.
  • If the average outdoor-air temperature is lower than 10 degrees C., the process proceeds to step 24-1.
  • The average outdoor-air temperature is not lower than 10 degrees C., the process proceeds to step 23-2.
  • (Step 23-2)
  • The control device determines whether the average outdoor-air temperature is equal to or greater than 10 degrees C. and falls within a range lower than 20 degrees C.
  • If the average outdoor-air temperature falls within the range, the process proceeds to step 24-2.
  • If the average outdoor-air temperature does not fall within the range, the process proceeds to step 24-3.
  • Although thresholds of 10 degrees C. and 20 degrees C. are set in steps 3-1 and 3-2, they may be changed for, for example, each region where the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment is located, or each user demand.
  • (Step 24-1)
  • The control device sets the heat medium temperature as a reference at 30 degrees C. Since the reference heat medium temperature Twm is set at 30 degrees C., if the temperature width of the heat medium is set at, for example, ±5 degrees C., then the preset lower limit TLm is 25 degrees C., and the preset upper limit THm is 35 degrees C.
  • Since the outdoor-air temperature is low in step 23-1, the temperature is set assuming winter in step 24-1. That is, the next operation mode is expected to be a heating mode, and the medium temperature is set to be as relatively high as 30 degrees C.
  • (Step 24-2)
  • The control device sets the heat medium temperature Twm as a reference at 20 degrees C. Since the reference heat medium temperature Twm is set at 20 degrees C., if the temperature width of the heat medium is set at, for example, ±5 degrees C., then the preset lower limit TLm is 15 degrees C. and the preset upper limit THm is 25 degrees C.
  • Since the outdoor-air temperature is equal to or higher than 10 degrees C. and lower than 20 degrees C. in step 23-2, the temperature is set assuming an intermediate season (spring or autumn) in the step 24-2. That is, since the next operation mode is assumed to be both a heating mode and a cooling mode, the reference temperature is set at 20 degrees C. so that the apparatus can cope with both cooling and heating operations.
  • (Step 24-3)
  • The control device sets the heat medium temperature Twm as a reference at 10 degrees C. Since the reference heat medium temperature Twm is set at 10 degrees C., if the temperature width of the heat medium is set at, for example, ±5 degrees C., then the preset lower limit TLm is 5 degrees C. and the preset upper limit THm is 15 degrees C.
  • Since the outdoor-air temperature is as high as 20 degrees C. or more in step 23-2, the temperature is set assuming summer in step 24-3. That is, since the next operation mode is expected to be a cooling mode, the reference temperature is set to be as relatively low as 10 degrees C.
  • In steps 24-1 to 24-3, the reference heat medium temperatures Twm are set to 30 degrees C., 20 degrees C., and 10 degrees C. These temperatures Twm may be changed for, for example, each region where the air-conditioning apparatus is located, or each user demand. For example, by setting the reference heat medium temperature Twm to be close to an average outdoor-air temperature in each season, energy saving performance can further be enhanced.
  • In steps 25 to 35 below, control operations corresponding to steps 2 to 12 in FIG. 8 are performed.
  • (Step 25)
  • The control device drives the pumps 21 a and 21 b only for a predetermined time.
  • After driving the pumps 21 a and 21 b for the predetermined time, the control device stops the pumps 21 a and 21 b again, and the process proceeds to step 26.
  • Similarly to step 2 in FIG. 8, step 25 is a step of preventing an ambient temperature of sensors from deviating from the average temperature of the heat medium due to a temperature variation of the heat medium. In step 25, the pumps 21 a and 21 b are driven for a limited time.
  • (Step 26)
  • The control device determines whether the detection result of the heat medium temperature Tw is equal to or greater than the preset lower limit TLm and equal to or less than the preset upper limit THm. For example, when the process has reached step 26 by way of step 24-2, the reference temperature is 20 degrees C., and it is determined whether the heat medium temperature Tw falls within the range of ±5 degrees C. (TLm=15 degrees C. and THm=25 degrees C.).
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw falls within the range, the process returns to step 21.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw does not fall within the range, the process proceeds to step 27.
  • (Step 27)
  • The control device determines whether the detection result of the heat medium temperature Tw is higher than the preset upper limit THm (e.g., THm=25 degrees C.). That is, in step 27, it is determined whether the heat medium temperature Tw exceeds the upper limit of the reference temperature range.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw is higher than THm, the process proceeds to step 32.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw is higher than THm, that is, lower than TLm, the process proceeds to step 28.
  • (Step 28)
  • The control device controls various components so as to perform a heating operation.
  • In step 28, to return an excessively reduced heat medium temperature, which is lower than TLm, to TLm or more, operation is performed in a heating mode.
  • Thus, to obtain flow of a refrigerant and a heat medium in the heating only operation mode, the control device starts the compressor 10, switches the four-way valve 11 to a heating mode, starts the pump 21 b, opens the expansion valves 16 a, 16 c, and 16 e, and closes the expansion valves 16 b and 16 d. The heat medium may be heated by supplying the refrigerant and the heat medium similarly to those in the heating main operation mode.
  • When fans provided to the indoor units 2 a to 2 d are in operation, unnecessary wind is supplied into the room. Thus, the amount of air blown by the indoor units 2 a to 2 d is set to provide a breeze with no or little feeling of draft.
  • (Step 29)
  • The control device determines whether a predetermined time has elapsed after execution of the heating operation of step 29. The predetermined time is preferably determined in accordance with, for example, the length and size of refrigerant pipes and branch pipes.
  • If the predetermined time has elapsed, the process proceeds to step 30.
  • If the predetermined time has not elapsed, step 29 is repeated.
  • (Step 30)
  • The control device determines whether the detection result of the heat medium temperature Tw is higher than a preset lower limit TLm+C (where C is an antihunting constant). That is, in step 30, it is determined whether the heat medium temperature falls within a range higher than TLm+C.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw exceeds TLm+C, the process exceeds to step 31.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw does not exceed TLm+C, step 30 is repeated. That is, since the heat medium temperature Tw does not exceed TLm+C, the heating operation continues until the heat medium temperature Tw exceeds TLm+C.
  • (Step 31)
  • The control device stops the heating operation. More specifically, the control device stops the compressor 10 and the pumps 21 a and 21 b. After step 31, the control device returns to step 21, that is, to a standby state.
  • (Step 32)
  • The control device controls various components so as to perform a cooling operation.
  • In step 32, to return an excessively high heat medium temperature, which is higher than THm, to THm or less, operation is performed in a cooling mode.
  • Thus, to obtain flow of a refrigerant and a heat medium in the cooling only operation mode, the control device starts the compressor 10, switches the four-way valve 11 to a cooling mode, starts the pump 21 a, opens the expansion valves 16 b and 16 d, and closes the expansion valves 16 a, 16 c, and 16 e. The heat medium may be cooled by supplying the refrigerant and the heat medium similarly to those in the cooling main operation mode.
  • When fans provided to the indoor units 2 a to 2 d are in operation, unnecessary wind is supplied into the room. Thus, the amount of air blown by the indoor units 2 a to 2 d is set to provide a breeze with no or little feeling of draft.
  • (Step 33)
  • The control device determines whether a predetermined time has elapsed after execution of cooling operation of step 33. The predetermined time is preferably determined in accordance with, for example, the length and size of refrigerant pipes and branch pipes.
  • If the predetermined time has elapsed, the process proceeds to step 34.
  • If the predetermined time has not elapsed, step 33 is repeated.
  • (Step 34)
  • The control device determines whether the detection result of the heat medium temperature Tw is lower than a preset upper limit THm−C (where C is an antihunting constant). That is, in step 34, it is determined whether the heat medium temperature falls within a range lower than THm−C.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw is lower than THm−C, the process proceeds to step 35.
  • If the heat medium temperature Tw is not lower than THm−C, step 34 is repeated. That is, since the heat medium temperature Tw is not lower than THm−C, the cooling operation continues until the heat medium temperature Tw falls below THm−C.
  • (Step 35)
  • The control device stops the cooling operation. More specifically, the control device stops the compressor 10 and the pumps 21 a and 21 b. After step 35, the control device returns to step 21, that is, to a standby state.
  • As described earlier with reference to FIG. 9, the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment expects the season on the basis of the average outdoor-air temperature and determines a target heat medium temperature. However, the present invention is not limited to this example. Since the last operation mode is expected to be performed again next, the control device may have the function of recording the last operation mode. That is, when the suspension mode is performed, the control device refers to the record of the operation modes performed so far, and the next operation is performed in the last operation mode performed by the control device among the recorded operation modes.
  • Examples of the refrigerant include single-substance refrigerants such as R-22 and R-134a, near-azeotropic refrigerant mixtures such as R-410A and R-404A, zeotropic refrigerant mixtures such as R-407C, refrigerants each including a double bond and having a relatively low global warming potential such as CF3CF═CH2, and mixtures of these refrigerants, and natural refrigerants such as CO2 and propane.
  • In this embodiment, the refrigerant circuit includes the accumulator, but may include no accumulator. The check valves 13 a to 13 d are not necessary components, and similar operations and advantages can be achieved with a circuit including no check valves 13 a to 13 d.
  • The heat source side heat exchanger 12 and the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d are preferably provided with air-sending devices so that condensation or evaporation can be promoted by air supply. However, the present invention is not limited to this structure, and the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d can be implemented using, for example, a radiation panel heater. The heat source side heat exchanger 12 can be implemented using a water-cooled heat exchanger that transfers heat by means of water or antifreeze, and can adopt any type as long as it can radiate or absorb heat.
  • In the above-described example, the four use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d are employed. However, the number of use side heat exchangers is not limited.
  • The channel switching valves 22 a to 22 d and 23 a to 23 d, the stop valves 24 a to 24 d, and the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d are connected to the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d in a one-to-one correspondence. However, the present invention is not limited to this example, and pluralities of channel switching valves, stop valves, and flow control valves may be connected to each use side heat exchanger. In this case, the channel switching valves, the stop valves, and the flow control valves connected to the same use side heat exchanger need only be operated in the same manner.
  • In the above Embodiment, the intermediate heat exchanger 15 a for heating and the intermediate heat exchanger 15 b for cooling are provided. However, the present invention is not limited to this structure. Simply performing either heating or cooling requires only one intermediate heat exchanger. In this case, the heat medium need not flow through another intermediate heat exchanger in the heat medium temperature adjustment operation, and thus channels for this flow are simplified. One or more sets of the heating intermediate heat exchanger 15 a and the cooling intermediate heat exchanger 15 b may be provided.
  • Instead of the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d of the three-way channel type illustrated in, for example, FIG. 3, flow control valves of the two-way channel type that can continuously change the opening area using, for example, a stepping motor can be used. Control in this case is similar to that when three-way channel regulating valves are used, and the opening degrees of the two-way channel regulating valves are adjusted to control the flow rates of the heat medium into the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d so that the differences between the temperatures of the heat medium at the inlets an outlets of the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d reach a target value of, for example, 5 degrees C. Upon this operation, the rotation speeds of the pumps 21 a and 21 b need only be controlled such that the temperatures at the inlets or outlets of the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b take a predetermined target value. The use of two-way channel regulating valves as the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d advantageously eliminates the necessity of the stop valves 24 a to 24 d and reduces cost for constructing the system.
  • In the foregoing description, the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d, the third temperature sensors 33 a to 33 d, and the fourth temperature sensors 34 a to 34 d are placed inside the relay unit 3. However, the present invention is not limited to this example, and the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d, the third temperature sensors 33 a to 33 d, and the fourth temperature sensors 34 a to 34 d can also be placed near the use side heat exchangers 26 a to 26 d, that is, inside or near the indoor unit 2. In this case, no substantial problems occur in function, and similar operations and advantages can be obtained. In the case of using two-way channel regulating valves as the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d, the third temperature sensors 33 a to 33 d and the fourth temperature sensors 34 a to 34 d are placed inside or near the relay unit 3 and the flow control valves 25 a to 25 d are placed inside or near the indoor unit 2.
  • In the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment having the foregoing structure, when the temperature of the heat medium falls outside a set temperature range, operations for adjusting the heat medium temperature, such as operating the pumps, circulating the heat medium, and intermittently starting the outdoor unit. Then, wind providing little feeling of draft can be supplied into the room, and the indoor temperature can reach a desired indoor temperature in a relatively short time.
  • Advantages of Air-conditioning Apparatus of Embodiment
  • When the mode shifts to a suspension mode (the air-conditioning operation temporarily stops) so that operations of the compressor and the pumps temporarily stop, the temperature of the heat medium varies due to factors associated with, for example, outdoor air, and falls outside a predetermined temperature range in some cases. In the air-conditioning apparatus of this embodiment, however, when the temperature of the heat medium falls outside the predetermined temperature range, the compressor 10 and the pumps 21 a and 21 b are driven so that the intermediate heat exchangers 15 a and 15 b exchange heat between the refrigerant and the heat medium and, thereby the temperature of the heat medium falls within the predetermined temperature range. With this operation, wind providing little feeling of draft can be supplied into the room immediately after the start of operation, and an increase in time taken for the temperature of the heat medium to reach the target indoor temperature can be reduced.

Claims (7)

1. An air-conditioning apparatus including
a refrigeration cycle circuit including a compressor, a heat source side heat exchanger, at least one expansion valve, and a plurality of intermediate heat exchangers connected to one another via refrigerant pipes, the intermediate heat exchangers being configured to exchange heat between a refrigerant and a heat medium, and
a heat medium circulation circuit including the intermediate heat exchangers, a pump configured to convey the heat medium, and a plurality of use side heat exchangers, each use side heat exchanger being connected to the intermediate heat exchangers and the pump via heat medium pipes to form the heat medium circulation circuit in which the plurality of use side heat exchangers are parallel to each other,
wherein the apparatus is provided with
a heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode in which when a temperature of the heat medium falls outside a predetermined temperature range while the compressor and the pump are kept stopped, the compressor and the pump are driven to cause the intermediate heat exchangers to exchange heat between the refrigerant and the heat medium so that the heat medium is heated or cooled to have a temperature that falls within the predetermined temperature range;
the apparatus comprising:
a temperature sensor configured to detect the temperature of the heat medium;
a control device configured to control the compressor and the pump based on at least a detection result obtained by the temperature sensor to perform the heat medium temperature adjustment operation mode; and
a plurality of channel switching valves located in portions of the heat medium circulation circuit corresponding to an inlet and an outlet of the heat medium in each of the plurality of the use side heat exchangers, and configured to switch a passage of the heat medium having passed through the plurality of intermediate heat exchangers to one of the plurality of use side heat exchangers,
wherein the control device controls the channel switching valve such that the heat medium is supplied from at least two of the plurality of intermediate heat exchangers to the corresponding ones of the plurality of use side heat exchangers, and mixes, through the channel switching valve, a stream of the heat medium supplied from one of the plurality of intermediate heat exchangers to the corresponding one of the plurality of use side heat exchangers with a stream of the heat medium supplied from another one of the plurality of intermediate heat exchangers to the corresponding one of the plurality of use side heat exchangers, and
the control device performs at least one of
a control operation in which when the detection result obtained by the temperature sensor is higher than the temperature range, the control device causes a corresponding one of the plurality of intermediate heat exchangers to function as an evaporator and cools the heat medium passing through a corresponding one of the plurality of intermediate heat exchangers, and
a control operation in which when the detection result obtained by the temperature sensor is lower than the temperature range, the control device causes a corresponding one of the plurality of intermediate heat exchangers to function as a radiator and heats the heat medium passing through a corresponding one of the plurality of intermediate heat exchangers.
2-3. (canceled)
4. The air-conditioning apparatus of claim 1, wherein
when the detection result obtained by the temperature sensor a predetermined time after driving of the compressor and the pump is higher than a temperature obtained by adding an antihunting constant to a lower limit of the temperature range and is not higher than an upper limit of the temperature range, the control device stops the compressor and the pump.
5. (canceled)
6. The air-conditioning apparatus of claim 1, wherein
when the detection result obtained by the temperature sensor a predetermined time after driving of the compressor and the pump is lower than a temperature obtained by subtracting an antihunting constant from an upper limit of the temperature range and is not lower than a lower limit of the temperature range, the control device stops the compressor and the pump.
7. The air-conditioning apparatus of claim 1, wherein
the control device
opens the channel switching valve to ensure a circulation channel of the heat medium before or concurrently with driving of the pump, and
causes the heat medium to circulate between at least one of the plurality of intermediate heat exchangers and a corresponding one of the plurality of use side heat exchangers.
8. The air-conditioning apparatus of claim 1, further comprising:
an outdoor-air temperature sensor configured to detect an outdoor-air temperature, wherein
the control device
calculates an average temperature of outdoor air in a predetermined period of time based on a detection result obtained by the outdoor-air temperature sensor, and
determines an upper limit and a lower limit of the temperature range based on the calculated average temperature.
US14/417,870 2012-10-10 2012-10-10 Air-conditioning apparatus Abandoned US20150253020A1 (en)

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JPWO2014057550A1 (en) 2016-08-25
CN104704300A (en) 2015-06-10
CN104704300B (en) 2016-10-05
WO2014057550A1 (en) 2014-04-17
JP5911590B2 (en) 2016-04-27
EP2908070A4 (en) 2016-05-11

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