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Unlike chilled water systems, direct expansion air conditioning makes use of refrigerant-based cooling which uses a condensed refrigerant liquid to cool indoor air.
The term direct expansion comes from the mechanism of action of the air conditioning unit. Warm air enters the unit and comes into direct contact with the coil. The refrigerant expands to produce a cooling effect in the coil. The warm air is cooled and delivered to the space.
The direct expansion air conditioning unit, also known as the DX unit, is available in packaged, ducted systems, or split-system units and is most commonly used for small commercial buildings, residential buildings, and single-level complexes.
Furthermore, DX units are most suitable for providing cool air in single thermal zones. A thermal zone is a single space or numerous spaces within a building or complex where the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) requirements are similar. Temperature and humidity control are easy to monitor and maintain.