What is "climate control" and how it works


Climate control in the car

Climate control is one of the options for the comfort system, which is equipped with many modern cars. It allows you to create an optimal temperature regime in the cabin, both in winter and in summer.

What is the peculiarity of this system? What is the difference between the standard version and the multi-zone version and how does it differ from the air conditioner?

What is climate control?

What is "climate control" and how it works

This is a system that provides autonomous regulation of the microclimate in the car. It is equipped with manual adjustment and an “Auto” function. It can be used to provide heating (or cooling) of the entire space in the machine or a separate part of it.

For example, in the summer it is often hot in the car. Usually in this case the windows are slightly lowered. This makes the air flow difficult to control. As a result - a cold or otitis media. If you turn on the fan, it will drive hot air. The microclimate control system itself adjusts the operation of the air conditioner or heater, depending on the preset parameter.

Initially, a stove fan was used to supply cool air to the machine. In the mine, it goes past the heating radiator and is fed into the deflectors. If the air temperature outside is high, then there is practically no benefit from such a blowing.

What is "climate control" and how it works

After air conditioning began to be used in American offices in the early 1930s, automakers set out to equip cars with the same system. The first car with air conditioning installed appeared in 1939. Gradually, this equipment was improved and instead of devices with manual adjustment, automatic systems began to appear, which themselves cooled the air in summer and heated it in winter.

For information on whether the air conditioner can be used in winter, see this video:


How does climate control work?

This system cannot be called a separate equipment installed in a car. It is a combination of electronic and mechanical devices that maintain the microclimate in the car without the need for constant human monitoring. It consists of two nodes:

What is "climate control" and how it works
  • Mechanical part. It includes air duct dampers, a heating fan and an air conditioner. All these units are combined into a single system, so that the individual elements work synchronously, depending on the specified settings.
  • Electronic part. It is equipped with temperature sensors that monitor the climate in the cabin. Based on these parameters, the control unit either switches on cooling or activates heating.
What is "climate control" and how it works

Climate control can be used at any time of the year. The system works according to the following principle.

  1. The required temperature level is set on the control module (the corresponding indicator is selected on the screen).
  2. Sensors located in the cabin measure the air temperature.
  3. If the sensor readings and the system settings do not match, the air conditioner turns on (or off).
  4. While the air conditioner is on, the supply air fan blows fresh air through the ventilation shafts.
  5. With the help of deflectors located at the end of the air ducts, the flow of cool air can be directed not at a person, but to the side.
  6. In the event of a drop in temperature, the electronics activates the heater flap drive, and it opens. The air conditioner is off.
  7. Now the flow goes through the radiator of the heating system (you can read about its structure and purpose in another article). Due to the high temperature of the heat exchanger, the flow quickly heats up, and heating begins to work in the passenger compartment.

The advantages of such a system are that the driver does not need to be constantly distracted from driving by adjusting the climatic equipment. The electronics itself takes measurements and, depending on the initial setting, turns on or off the required system (heating / cooling).

The following video is devoted to the operation of the air conditioner in the "Auto" mode:

How climate control works in AUTO mode

Features of the climate control

This is not to say that this option in the car is a panacea for all the inconveniences associated with unpleasant weather conditions. Here are the common difficulties that can arise when using it.

1. Some motorists mistakenly believe that the presence of a climate control system will provide a quick warm-up of the passenger compartment in winter. Please remember that this function only depends on the engine coolant temperature.

What is "climate control" and how it works

At first, antifreeze circulates in a small circle so that the engine warms up to operating temperature (about what it should be, read here). After the thermostat is triggered, the liquid begins to move in a large circle. Only at this moment the stove radiator starts to heat up.

In order for the car interior to heat up faster than the engine cooling system itself, you need to purchase an autonomous heater.

2. If the car is equipped with this system, you need to be prepared for excessive fuel consumption. In the summer, this is due to the operation of additional attachments (air conditioning compressor), which are driven by the timing drive. To maintain the temperature in the passenger compartment, constant operation of the motor is necessary. Only in this case, the refrigerant will circulate through the heat exchanger of the air conditioner.

What is "climate control" and how it works

3. For the heating or air conditioning to work effectively, all windows in the car must be closed. In this case, all fresh air will enter the car through the cabin filter. This will significantly reduce the interval for its replacement. And if a passenger with symptoms of acute respiratory infections is present in the car, then the risk of infection increases for the rest.

What is "climate control" and how it works

4. Not all climate control systems in a vehicle function equally well. The expensive version will work softer and without harsh switching. A budget analogue changes the temperature in the car faster, which can affect the health of everyone in the cabin.

By default, this system is single-zone. That is, the flow goes through the deflectors installed in the front panel. In this case, the air in the passenger compartment will be distributed from the front to the rear. This option is practical for trips with one passenger. If more often there will be several people in the car, then when buying a new car, you should choose one of the following options:

  • two-zone;
  • three-zone;
  • four-zone.

Dual-zone climate control

What is "climate control" and how it works

This modification differs from the previous one in that the flow can be adjusted for the driver and separately for the next passenger. This option allows you to ensure a comfortable stay not only according to the needs of the car owner.

In two-zone versions, manufacturers set some restrictions on the difference in climate settings. This prevents uneven heating / cooling distribution.

Three-zone climate control

What is "climate control" and how it works

In the presence of this modification, in addition to the main regulator, one more regulator will be installed on the control unit - for the passenger (as in the previous modification). These are two zones. The third is the back row in the car. Another regulator is installed on the back of the armrest between the front seats.

Back row passengers can choose the optimal parameter for themselves. At the same time, the driver will not suffer from the preferences of those with whom he is traveling. It can optimize heating or cooling separately for the area around the steering wheel.

Four-zone climate control

What is "climate control" and how it works

The principle of operation of the four-zone climate control is identical to the first three modifications. Only the controls are distributed to the four sides of the cabin. In this case, the flow does not only come from the deflectors located on the back of the armrest between the front seats. Smooth airflow is also provided through the air ducts on the door pillars and on the ceiling.

Like the previous analogue, the zones can be controlled by the driver and passengers separately. This option is equipped with premium and luxury cars, and it is also present in some full-fledged SUVs.

What is the difference between climate control and air conditioning

How to determine if an air conditioner is installed in the car or is it also equipped with autonomous regulation? In this case, the panel will have a separate block with a small screen on which the temperature level will be displayed. This option is automatically equipped with an air conditioner (without it, the air in the car will not cool).

The usual system for blowing and heating the passenger compartment has an A / C button and two controls. One shows the fan speed levels (scale 1, 2, 3, etc.), the other shows a blue-red scale (cold / hot air). The second knob adjusts the position of the heater flap.

What is "climate control" and how it works

The presence of an air conditioner does not mean that the car has climate control. There are several differences between the two options.

1. Setting the temperature using the air conditioner is made "by feeling". The automatic system is infinitely variable. It has a screen that displays a customizable metric. Electronics creates a microclimate inside the car, regardless of the weather conditions outside.

2. A standard air conditioner either heats the passenger compartment due to the temperature in the engine cooling system, or supplies air from the street. The air conditioner is able to cool this flow depending on the position of the regulator. In the case of automatic installation, it is enough to turn it on and select the desired temperature. Thanks to the sensors, the electronics itself determines what is needed to maintain the microclimate - turn on the air conditioner or open the heater flap.

What is "climate control" and how it works

3. Separately, the air conditioner not only cools the air, but also removes excess moisture from it. This feature is especially useful when it is raining outside.

4. A car equipped with air conditioning is cheaper than a similar model with an automatic climate control option, especially if it has a "four-zone" prefix. The reason for this is the presence of additional sensors and a complex electronic control unit.

This video details the climate control and air conditioning system:

Climate control & air conditioning what's the difference?

Some vehicles are equipped with a pre-travel preparation function for climate control. It can include heating or cooling of the passenger compartment before the driver arrives. Check with your dealer for this feature. If it is present, the control unit will be equipped with one more regulator - timer setting.

So, the "climate control" system is an electronic device that automatically adjusts the heating or cooling of the air in the car. It cannot work without a standard ventilation and heating system, and also without an air conditioner.



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