What's the Difference Between Air Conditioning and Climate Control?

Bradley Jando | Monday 9th August 2021 5:32pm

Pressing the air conditioning button inside a car

As temperatures rise this summer, keep your passengers cool with air-con… or climate control… or both. See, this is the issue – many people don’t know the difference between the two vehicle cooling systems. If you’re one of those people, then this blog is for you. In this post, we’ll give you the rundown on what both air-con and climate control are, how they work, and which is best for your vehicle.

Air Conditioning

What is it?

The concept of air conditioning inside cars was invented in 1939 by The Packard Motor Company. By the 1970s, almost half of all new cars came with air-con pre- installed. Amazingly, the fundamentals of air-con remain the same today with the same main 3 components: the compressor, the condenser, and the evaporator.

How Does it Work?

All three components push refrigerant through a closed-loop system, allowing it to change from a gas to a liquid and back again. This process occurs in the condenser driven by the compressor attached to the car engine for power.

The condenser dissipates heat and cools the high-pressure refrigerant gas into a liquid. From here, the liquid is stripped of water by the receiver-dryer before entering the thermal expansion valve via a pump.

Here, the liquid is allowed to expand and becomes a low-pressure liquid in order to enter the evaporator within the vehicle interior. The evaporator then turns the refrigerant into a gas which is blown by a fan into the vehicle.

If you’re worried about your air-con, book an air conditioning recharge and service with us.

Check out our blog post ‘Everything You Need to Know About Air Conditioning in Your Car’ for more information on the air conditioning process.

Climate Control

What is it?

Compared to air conditioning, climate control is far more sophisticated. Climate control systems allow drivers and passengers to manage the interior temperature of their vehicles with accuracy and precision.

Users can select the temperature they require and watch the system automatically alter the rate and amount of cool air entering the vehicle accordingly. Unlike air conditioning, the driver or passengers do not have to manually adjust the airflow every time they feel a change in temperature.

How Does it work?

In order for the system to continuously control the temperature inside the vehicle, a number of sensors are used to gauge how hot or cool the air is. The information from the sensors is then used to determine how much warm or cool air needs to be pumped into the vehicle to maintain the temperature desired by the users. The system is also able to adjust the fan speed and recirculation settings in order to control whether fresh or recirculated air is pumped into the vehicle.

More modern cars may have dual or multi-zone climate control. Multi-zone climate control allows for the temperature of multiple separate zones in the car to be controlled at once. The driver, for instance, could set their own temperature to 17 degrees, while the back seat and passenger area could be warmer at 24 degrees. This is great for particularly quarrelsome passengers, ending sibling feuds over cabin temperatures.

What Are the Differences Between Them?

Air conditioning is more primitive than climate control. While both systems can blow both warm and cool air into a vehicle, only climate control can automatically control a vehicle’s interior temperature. Air conditioning lacks the ability to consistently monitor and maintain air temperature independently of the user’s manual actions.

Climate control, on the other hand, is far more intuitive and easy to use since it requires virtually no manual effort from the user. In this respect, climate control is safer too, as the concentration wasted on fiddling around with air conditioning settings is redirected onto maintaining a safe position on the road.

How to Know Which is Right For You

Different vehicle models will come fitted with different cooling systems. Usually, more modern and expensive models have climate control already installed. If you live in a particularly hot location or spend a lot of time in your car, it might be worth looking into climate control - particularly if you often drive long distances.

The added convenience of not having to adjust the air conditioning can be a big help. What’s more, adding climate control to your car can make it more attractive when you come to sell it.

Air Con Not Working?

If your air con is giving you trouble - or at least not protecting you from the trouble of a boiling hot car, book your vehicle into your local Kwik Fit centre for an air con regas.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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