Refrigerated Foundationsby John P. Zarling, P.E., Ph.D.,
Refrigeration systems used to cool foundations on frozen ground can be classified as either active or passive, depending on whether external energy is used to power the systems. If pumps, blowers, or any other mechanical device are used to assist with moving heat, then the system is deemed active. When the systems operate using natural convection, that is with natural temperature differentials, and no external power is used for operation, the refrigeration system is deemed passive. Typically, active systems require periodic maintenance and may require a trained operator, depending upon their complexity. Passive systems are typically designed not to require periodic maintenance; however, they should still be checked for operation on a regular basis.
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