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Title:
ELECTRIC APPLIANCE WITH AT LEAST ONE REFRIGERATED COMPARTMENT AND AN AIR TREATMENT UNIT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/069019
Kind Code:
A3
Abstract:
The present invention relates to an electric appliance (1), in particular adapted to be used in a household environment, comprising one or more internal compartments, adapted to be refrigerated, and an air treatment unit (20), adapted to treat the air in the environment wherein the electric appliance (1) is located. According to the present invention, the air treatment unit (20) is positioned above said one or more internal compartments of the electric appliance (1). The electric appliance (1) preferably comprises a fan (46) and, more preferably, also a conditioner and/or dehumidifÊer.

Inventors:
GRELLONI, Alessio (Via Giacomo Matteotti 38, Fiuminata, I-62025, IT)
GALKIN, Igor (pr-t Pobedy 7-32, 4 Lipetsk, 39802, RU)
BOMPREZZI, Lorenzo (Via Botticelli 19, Pescara, I-65124, IT)
Application Number:
IB2006/003545
Publication Date:
February 28, 2008
Filing Date:
December 11, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
INDESIT COMPANY S.P.A. (Viale Aristide Merloni No. 47, Fabriano, I-60044, IT)
GRELLONI, Alessio (Via Giacomo Matteotti 38, Fiuminata, I-62025, IT)
GALKIN, Igor (pr-t Pobedy 7-32, 4 Lipetsk, 39802, RU)
BOMPREZZI, Lorenzo (Via Botticelli 19, Pescara, I-65124, IT)
International Classes:
F25D23/12; F25B5/02; F25B6/04; F25B25/00
Foreign References:
US4821530A1989-04-18
US20040159239A12004-08-19
US2249772A1941-07-22
US6347526B12002-02-19
US2567915A1951-09-11
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DINI, Roberto (Via Sestriere 100, None, I-10060, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. Electric appliance (1), in particular adapted to be used in a household environment, comprising one or more internal compartments, adapted to be refrigerated, and an air treatment unit (20), adapted to treat the air in the environment wherein said electric appliance (1) is located, characterized in that said air treatment unit (20) is positioned above said one or more internal compartments.

2. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that said air treatment unit

(20) is located at a height between 140cm and 220cm, preferably between 150cm and 200cm, from the base of said appliance.

3. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 2, characterized in that said air treatment unit (20) is wholly or partially located in the topmost portion of said appliance.

4. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 1 or 2 or 3, characterized in that said air treatment unit (20) comprises:

- an air inlet section (21) adapted to admit air into said unit (20), and an air outlet section (22) adapted to emit treated air from said unit (20), wherein said air outlet section (22) is adapted to emit treated air in an adjustable direction.

5. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 4, characterized in that said air inlet section

(21) is adapted to admit air into said unit (20) from the front of said appliance in such a direction that the treated air emitted by said unit (20) cannot immediately re-enter said unit (20). 6. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 4 or 5, characterized in that said air inlet section (21) is located above said air outlet section (22).

7. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 4 or 5 or 6, characterized in that said air inlet section (21) is located behind said air outlet section (22), with reference to the front of said appliance. 8. Electric appliance (1) according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that said air treatment unit (20) is adapted to emit a treated air flow and comprises adjusting means (23) adapted to adjust the direction and/or flow rate and/or speed of said air flow. 9. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 8, characterized in that said adjusting means (23) comprise at least one deflector and/or at least one adjusting shutter, preferably associated with said air outlet section (22).

10. Electric appliance (1) according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that said air treatment unit (20) comprises a fan (46) adapted to make treated air circulate.

11. Electric appliance (1) according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that said air treatment unit (20) comprises a conditioner and/or dehumidifϊer. 12. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 11, characterized in that said electric appliance (1) comprises first heat removing means, in particular at least one first evaporator (33), adapted to cool said one or more internal compartments, and second heat removing means, in particular at least one second evaporator (43), adapted to subtract heat from the air in the environment wherein said electric appliance (1) is located. 13. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 12, characterized in that said electric appliance (1) comprises at least two distinct refrigeration circuits, the first of said refrigeration circuits (30) containing a first refrigerating fluid and comprising said first heat removing means, and the second of said refrigeration circuits (40) containing a second refrigerating fluid and comprising said second heat removing means. 14. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 13, characterized in that said first refrigerating fluid is of the same type as said second refrigerating fluid.

15. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 13, characterized in that said first refrigerating fluid is different from said second refrigerating fluid.

16. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 13 or 14 or 15, characterized in that said electric appliance (1) comprises two compressors, the first of said compressors (32) being associated with said first of said refrigeration circuits (30) and being adapted to compress said first refrigerating fluid, and the second of said compressors (42) being associated with said second of said refrigeration circuits (40) and being adapted to compress said second refrigerating fluid, in particular said first of said compressors (32) and said second of said compressors (42) being able to operate simultaneously.

17. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 13 or 14 or 15, characterized in that said electric appliance (1) comprises a single compressor (52), associated with said first of said refrigeration circuits (50) and adapted to compress said first refrigerating fluid, and thermal exchange means (9) between said refrigeration circuits, adapted to transfer heat from said second refrigerating fluid to said first refrigerating fluid.

18. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 12, characterized in that said electric

appliance (1) comprises a single refrigeration circuit (70), said refrigeration circuit (70) comprising a compressor (72), adapted to compress the refrigerating fluid contained in said refrigeration circuit (70), a first branch (701) and a second branch (702), said first branch (701) comprising said first heat removing means and said second branch (702) comprising said second heat removing means.

19. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 18, characterized in that said first branch (701) is arranged in parallel with said second branch (702) and said refrigeration circuit (70) comprises flow interceptor or conveyor means, in particular one or more solenoid valves (591; 592; 593), adapted to direct the refrigerating fluid contained in said refrigeration circuit (70) either in said first branch (701) or in said second branch (702), or else adapted to distribute the refrigerating fluid contained in said refrigeration circuit (70) between said first branch (701) and said second branch (702).

20. Electric appliance (1) according to any of claims 13 to 17, characterized in that said electric appliance (1) comprises a first condenser (3), adapted to condense said first refrigerating fluid, and possibly also a second condenser (4), adapted to condense said second refrigerating fluid or said first refrigerating fluid.

21. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 18 or 19, characterized in that said electric appliance (1) comprises a first condenser (3), adapted to condense said refrigerating fluid, and possibly also a second condenser (4), adapted to condense said refrigerating fluid, said second condenser (4) being associated with said second branch (702) of said refrigeration circuit (70).

22. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 20 or 21, characterized in that means are associated with said first condenser (3) and/or with said second condenser (4) for evacuating the heat generated by said first condenser (3) and/or by said second condenser (4) out of the environment wherein said electric appliance (1) is located.

23. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 20 or 21 or 22, characterized in that said first condenser (3) and/or said second condenser (4) are arranged behind said one or more internal compartments, at least one separator (101) being preferably interposed between said first condenser (3) and said second condenser (4). 24. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 23, characterized in that said first condenser (3) and/or said second condenser (4) are so shaped as to comprise at least one first exchange

surface (3A; 4A) and one second exchange surface (3B; 4B), said first exchange surface (3A; 4A) being in particular substantially parallel to said second exchange surface (3B; 4B).

25. Electric appliance (1) according to any of claims 12 to 24, characterized in that means are associated with said second heat removing means for collecting and/or containing the condensed water formed as a result of condensation, on said second heat removing means, of the moisture of the air in the environment wherein said electric appliance (1) is located.

26. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 25, characterized in that said condensed water collecting and/or containing means are totally or partially removable, so that they can be emptied. 27. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 25, characterized in that said water collecting and/or containing means are associated with a heat source, so as to allow said heat source to cause the condensed water to evaporate.

28. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 25, characterized in that said water collecting and/or containing means are associated with means for the connection to a water drain network, in particular to the household plumbing system, thus allowing the condensed water to be drained away.

29. Electric appliance (1) according to any of claims 1 to 28, characterized in that said electric appliance (1) is of the electronic control type and comprises first sensor means, adapted to detect the temperature inside said one or more internal compartments. 30. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 19 and according to claim 29, characterized in that the electronic control system of said electric appliance (1) can control said flow interceptor and/or conveyor means based on the temperature detected by said first sensor means. 31. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 22 and according to claim 29 or 24, characterized in that second sensor means are adapted to detect the temperature and/or moisture and/or speed of the air in the enviromnent wherein said electric appliance (1) is located, said second sensor means being comprised in said electric appliance (1) or else being located at a distance from said electric appliance (1) and being capable of communicating with the electronic control system of said electric appliance (1) via cable or radiofrequency. 32. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 31, characterized in that the electronic control system of said electric appliance (1) can control a conditioner and/or a dehumidifier

and/or air flow adjusting means (23) based on the air temperature and/or moisture and/or speed detected by said second sensor means.

33. Electric appliance (1) according to any of claims 25 to 32, characterized in that said electric appliance (1) comprises third sensor means, adapted to detect the condensed water level in said water collecting and/or containing means.

34. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 33, characterized in that the electronic control system of said electric appliance (1) can control said conditioner and/or dehumidifier based on the condensed water level detected by said third sensor means, and in particular can turn off said conditioner and/or dehumidifier when said condensed water level reaches a preset value.

35. Electric appliance (1) according to any of claims 1 to 34, characterized in that said air treatment unit (20) comprises an air purifier (91).

36. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 35, characterized in that said air purifier (20) comprises at least one ionizer. 37. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 35 or 36, characterized in that said air purifier (20) comprises a filtration system, said filtration system preferably comprising at least one activated charcoal filter or at least one electrostatic filter.

38. Electric appliance (1) according to claim 35 or 36 or 37, characterized in that said air purifier (20) comprises a sterilization system, said sterilization system being in particular of the photocatalytic-effect type or ultraviolet-ray type.

39. Electric appliance (1) according to any of claims 1 to 38, characterized in that said air treatment unit (20) comprises a fragrance and/or perfume diffuser (80).

Description:

ELECTRIC APPLIANCE WITH AT LEAST ONE REFRIGERATED COMPARTMENT AND AN AIR TREATMENT UNIT

DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to an electric appliance according to the preamble of claim 1. In order to improve the performance of electric appliances, to reduce their overall dimensions and possibly also to save energy, particular electric appliances are becoming increasingly widespread which can be defined as "multipurpose", in that they incorporate into a single appliance functions which are normally provided by two or more distinct electric appliances: some examples of such electric appliances are television sets comprising a videorecorder unit, cellular telephones incorporating digital photo and video functions, as well as washing/drying machines, which are combinations of laundry washing machines and clothes dryers. In the field of refrigeration appliances, some electric appliances are known from the patent literature which comprise, in the same cabinet, one or more internal compartments, which are adapted to be used as refrigerator compartments or freezer compartments since they are refrigerated by an associated refrigeration circuit, and an air treatment unit. Electric appliances of this kind can be included among the so-called "multipurpose" electric appliances, for they represent a combination of a refrigerator (or a freezer, or a refrigerator- freezer) and an air treatment unit, the latter being in particular adapted to treat the air in the environment wherein the electric appliance is located.

Patent US2249772 describes an electric appliance consisting of a combination of a refrigerator and an air conditioner, which however suffers from the drawback of including an extremely complex and bulky air-conditioning thermodynamic circuit that considerably reduces the volume available as a refrigerator compartment. Moreover, the conditioner is for the most part located on the rear of the appliance. Finally, the electric appliance described in patent US2249772 is only partially effective as an air conditioner, due to the inappropriate direction of the emitted air flow, which is substantially directed upwards. Patent US4821530 describes an electric appliance consisting of a combination of a refrigerator-freezer and an air conditioner, in this case the conditioning unit being obtained within the door allowing the user to gain access to the freezer compartment. Besides

involving a number of construction problems, mostly due to the necessity of laying the refrigeration circuit pipes through the hinges of the freezer compartment door, the electric appliance described in patent US4821530 also suffers from the drawback that the internal volume of the freezer compartment is reduced considerably. Patent FR2821665 describes a monobloc combined refrigerator-conditioner electric appliance utilizing a single compressor. Many features of said electric appliance are not sufficiently described in patent FR2821665 (for example, no accurate description is provided about the position of the air conditioning unit relative to the refrigerator compartment and about how the conditioned air is released): it can be deduced from the described features that said electric appliance is a small portable appliance, which therefore has the drawback of not providing the capacity normally required from refrigerator compartments. Patent application WO04/38313 describes an electric appliance consisting of a refrigerator- freezer comprising, on the moulding which divides the refrigerator compartment from the freezer compartment, an air ionization unit used for ionizing the air entering the two compartments when the respective access doors are opened and for purifying the air adjacent to the electric appliance. The electric appliance described in patent application WO04/38313 does not aim at ionizing the air in the environment wherein the appliance itself is located, nor it could anyway, because it does not diffuse the treated air evenly in the environment wherein said electric appliance is located, also due to the position of its ionization unit. It is the object of the present invention to provide an electric appliance comprising at least one compartment which can be used as a refrigerator compartment or as a freezer compartment, and capable of overcoming the inherent drawbacks of the above-described electric appliances. In particular, the present invention aims at providing an electric appliance comprising one or more internal compartments, refrigerated through a refrigeration circuit, and an air treatment unit, for treating the air in the environment wherein the electric appliance is located, which stands out from the electric appliances known in the art both because the air treatment unit does not limit the capacity of the refrigerated internal compartments and because the action of the air treatment unit is effective substantially in the whole environment wherein the electric appliance is located, not only within a limited volume around the electric appliance. The electric appliance adapted to attain said object has the features set out in the annexed

claims, which are intended as an integral part of the present description. The general idea at the basis of the present invention is to provide an electric appliance, in particular adapted for use in a household environment, comprising one or more internal compartments, adapted to be refrigerated, and an air treatment unit, adapted to treat the air in the environment wherein the electric appliance is located: according to the invention, the air treatment unit is positioned above said one or more internal compartments of the electric appliance. In fact, the Applicant has found that said positioning of the air treatment unit is optimal for ensuring an adequate diffusion of the treated air and for saving space. The air treatment unit according to the present invention may comprise a fan as well as a conditioner and/or dehumidifier: the function of the fan is to facilitate the inlet and/or outlet of air in/from the treatment unit, and possibly also to increase the circulation of air (and thus the speed thereof) in the environment wherein the electric appliance is located, whereas the function of the conditioner and/or dehumidifier is to cause a decrease in moisture, and possibly also a decrease in temperature, of the air in the environment wherein the electric appliance is located.

The electric appliance according to the present invention will become apparent, together with its further advantages, from the following detailed description and from the annexed drawings, which are supplied by way of non-limiting example, wherein: Fig.1 shows schematically an electric appliance according to the present invention; Fig.2 shows schematically a first possible embodiment of a refrigeration circuit adapted to be used in an electric appliance according to the present invention;

Fig.3 shows schematically a second possible embodiment of a refrigeration circuit adapted for use in an electric appliance according to the present invention; Fig.4 shows schematically a third possible embodiment of a refrigeration circuit adapted to be used in an electric appliance according to the present invention;

Fig.5 is a schematic top view of a possible embodiment of a detail of the electric appliance according to the present invention, and

Fig.6 is a schematic sectional view of a possible embodiment of an air treatment unit according to the present invention. Fig.l shows an electric appliance 1, in particular adapted to be used in a household environment, according to the present invention. It consists of a combination of a

refrigerator-freezer 10 and an air treatment unit 20, air treatment unit 20 being arranged on top of refrigerator-freezer 10. Refrigerator-freezer 10 is provided with two thermally insulated internal compartments having different temperatures, which allow to obtain at least two different preservation states of the foodstuffs contained therein. Both internal compartments, which are adapted to preserve fresh foodstuffs and frozen foodstuffs, respectively, are closed by two doors 11 and 12: in particular, door 11 is used for closing the compartment for fresh foodstuffs, while door 12 is used for closing the compartment for frozen foodstuffs. The internal compartments of refrigerator-freezer 10 may contain differently sized shelves and possibly drawers as well. The internal compartments are refrigerated through a dedicated refrigeration circuit (not shown in Fig.l) containing a refrigerating fluid which evolves according to a thermodynamic cycle wherein it subtracts heat from said internal compartments during its evaporation and releases its condensation heat outside refrigerator-freezer 10 during its condensation. Electric appliance 1 of Fig.l, which comprises a refrigerator-freezer, only represents one possible embodiment of the electric appliance according to the invention: in fact, refrigerator-freezer 10 of electric appliance 1 may be suitably replaced with a refrigerator, or a freezer, or any electric appliance comprising one or more internal compartments adapted to be refrigerated. Air treatment unit 20 is adapted to treat the air in the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located, and is positioned above the internal compartments of refrigerator-freezer 10 comprised in electric appliance 1; in particular, unit 20 is entirely or partially contained in a container arranged in the topmost portion of the appliance (as shown in Fig.l). It comprises an inlet section 21, to allow the air to be treated to enter treatment unit 20, and an outlet section 22, to allow the treated air to be released from treatment unit 20. Outlet section 22 of the appliance of Fig.l is adapted to emit a treated air flow having an adjustable direction; this is advantageous when, for example, it must be avoided that the treated air directly hits the people being present in the environment wherein the appliance is located. Inlet section 21 of the appliance of Fig.1 is adapted to admit (untreated) air into air treatment unit 20, taking it from such a direction that the treated air emitted by unit 20 cannot immediately re-enter unit 20; other features of the appliance of Fig.l which are useful for this purpose are the facts that inlet section 21 is positioned higher than outlet section 22 (this is particularly advantageous if unit 20 comprises a conditioner and/or a dehumidifier) and that inlet section 21 (as viewed in

front of the appliance) is positioned behind outlet section 22.

The air flow from inlet section 21 to outlet section 22, through air treatment unit 20, is obtained by means of a fan, which may also be used for suitably moving the air in the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located, by providing the treated air with kinetic energy. Adjusting means 23 are associated with outlet section 22, which are adapted to adjust the direction and/or flow rate and/or speed of the air flow exiting air treatment unit 20, and which comprise in particular at least one deflector and/or at least one adjusting shutter. Alternatively, adjusting means 23 may be associated with inlet section 21 instead of outlet section 22, or to both said sections. According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, air treatment unit 20 included in electric appliance 1 comprises a conditioner and/or a dehumidifier. In the present description and in the appended claims, the term "conditioner" refers to an electric appliance adapted to remove heat from the environment wherein the electric appliance is located or from a portion thereof (e.g. the area surrounding the installation place of the electric appliance), in particular through a refrigeration cycle, whereas the term "dehumidifier" refers to an electric appliance adapted to reduce the level of absolute and/or relative moisture in the environment wherein the electric appliance is located or in a portion thereof. In this case, electric appliance 1, according to the present invention, comprises first heat removing means, in particular at least one first evaporator, which are adapted to cool the internal compartment(s) of the refrigerator-freezer 10, and second heat removing means, in particular at least one second evaporator, which are adapted to cool and/or dehumidify the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located or to cool and/or dehumidify an air volume adjacent to treatment unit 20. With particular reference to electric appliance 1 shown in Fig.l, it comprises, as first heat removing means, a pair of evaporators, each being associated with the respective internal compartment of refrigerator-freezer 10, and, as second heat removing means, an evaporator (or a secondary-fluid heat exchanger) being so arranged as to cool and/or dehumidify the air flow within air treatment unit 20.

It is clear that electric appliance 1 is suitably set up for ensuring an adequate diffusion of treated air from air treatment unit 20: in fact, the air flow exiting outlet section 22 can reach a large portion of the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located. The configuration of electric appliance 1 shown by way of example and not by way of limitation in Fig.1 is mostly

suited to the case wherein air treatment unit 20 comprises a conditioner: in fact, thanks to the particular positioning of air treatment unit 20 in electric appliance 1, according to which it is placed at a considerable height from the floor, the people being present in the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located cannot be reached by the primary flow of cooled air directly generated by the internal fan of air treatment unit 20, but can be reached by the secondary air flow originating due to force of gravity, because of the smaller specific volume of treated air compared to that of untreated air (warmer and therefore less dense). This secondary air flow, being directed toward the floor from above, ensures that the aforementioned people can distinctly enjoy the relief brought about by the perception of cool, dry air, at the same time without being bothered by a strong flow of conditioned air. In this regard, the air treatment unit is preferably located at a height between 140cm and ; 220cm, more preferably between 150cm and 200cm, from the base of the electric appliance. If air treatment unit 20 comprises a conditioner and/or a dehurnidifier, there is preferably a dedicated refrigeration circuit for cooling and/or dehumidifying the air. Said dedicated refrigeration circuit may be provided in different ways, each of which may be associated with a particular implementation of the present invention. The dedicated refrigeration circuit of air treatment unit 20 may be distinct from and independent of the one of refrigerator-freezer 10, or else it may represent a portion (e.g. a branch) of the refrigeration circuit of refrigerator- freezer 10. In the former case, there are two refrigeration circuits each needing its own compressor, whereas in the latter case there may be a single compressor, suitably sized, which supplies an adequate flow of refrigerating fluid to both the evaporator of air treatment unit 20 and the evaporator(s) of refrigerator-freezer 10.

Figs.2-3-4 show, by way of example, some possible configurations of the refrigeration circuits which may be used in the electric appliance 1 according to the present invention. It should be stated first that, for simplicity's sake, the aforementioned drawings and the detailed description thereof take into account just a single evaporator associated with refrigerator- freezer 10, being in particular adapted to remove heat from one of the internal compartments of refrigerator-freezer 10. In the aforementioned drawings, no reference is therefore made to any additional evaporators adapted to refrigerate any additional internal compartments of electric appliance 1, because the arrangement of said possible additional evaporators in the refrigeration circuit of refrigerator-freezer 10 is well known to those skilled in the art of

household refrigeration systems. Nor any reference is made to the typology of refrigerator- freezer 10, which may comprise a static cooling system (i.e. providing a thermal exchange by natural convection between the evaporator and the refrigerated internal compartment), a ventilated cooling system (i.e. providing a thermal exchange by forced convection between the evaporator and the refrigerated internal compartment), or a "no-frost" cooling system (i.e. providing a thermal exchange by forced convection between the evaporator and the refrigerated internal compartment and comprising an automatic evaporator defrosting system, adapted to prevent frost from accumulating on the surface of said evaporator). Fig.2 shows a first example of a refrigeration circuit adapted for use in electric appliance 1. Said refrigeration circuit comprises at least two distinct refrigeration circuits 30 and 40, the first thereof containing a first refrigerating fluid and comprising the first heat removing means, and the second thereof containing a second refrigerating fluid and comprising the second heat removing means. The first heat removing means are those adapted to refrigerate the internal compartment(s) of refrigerator-freezer 10 and are generically represented in Fig.2 by first evaporator 31, while the second heat removing means are those adapted to cool and/or dehumidify the air to be treated through treatment unit 20 and are generically represented in Fig.2 by second evaporator 41.

According to the present invention, said first refrigerating fluid may be the same (i.e. of the same type) as said second refrigerating fluid, or else it may be different (i.e. of a different type) from said second refrigerating fluid. In particular, the first refrigerating fluid and/or the second refrigerating fluid may be a fluid chosen among the following: Rl 34a, R600a, R22, R410a or any other refrigerating fluid commonly used in refrigeration systems and/or air conditioning systems. Electric appliance 1, the refrigeration circuit of which is schematized in Fig.2, comprises two compressors 32 and 42. First compressor 32 is associated with first refrigeration circuit 30 and is adapted to compress the first refrigerating fluid, whereas second compressor 42 is associated with second refrigeration circuit 40 and is adapted to compress the second refrigerating fluid. Since the two refrigeration circuits 30 and 40 are distinct from and independent of each other, and since first compressor 32 and second compressor 42 can operate simultaneously, it follows that, according to the configuration of the refrigeration circuit comprised in electric appliance 1 as shown in Fig.2, it is possible at the same time to

refrigerate the internal compartment(s) of refrigerator-freezer 10 and to condition and/or dehumidify, through treatment unit 20, the air in the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located. Electric appliance 1 comprises at least one first condenser 33, adapted to condense the first refrigerating fluid, and one second condenser 43, adapted to condense the second refrigerating fluid.

First refrigeration circuit 30 comprises first compressor 32, adapted to compress the first refrigerating fluid. From the outlet of first compressor 32, the first refrigerating fluid reaches first condenser 33, located behind the cabinet of refrigerator-freezer 10. Fig.2 (and also the subsequent Figs.3-4) does not show the anti-condensate coil, typically located immediately downstream or immediately upstream of condenser 33. Said anti-condensate coil is adapted to avoid the formation of condensate on the cabinet of electric appliance 1, along the perimeter of door 12 of the internal compartment of electric appliance 1 used as a freezer. At the outlet of first condenser 33 there is a first dehydrating filter 34, used for trapping any impurities and/or moisture being present in first refrigeration circuit 30, followed by an expansion element, preferably a first capillary tube 35, used for expanding the first refrigerating fluid. Once the expansion pressure has been reached, the first refrigerating fluid exiting the expansion element evaporates in first evaporator 31, which is located inside electric appliance 1. Evaporator 31 is in thermal contact with the internal compartment from which it removes the heat necessary for the evaporation of the first refrigerating fluid, thus cooling said compartment.

Second refrigeration circuit 40 comprises second compressor 42, adapted to compress the second refrigerating fluid. From the outlet of second compressor 42, the second refrigerating fluid reaches second condenser 43, at the outlet of which there are a second dehydrating filter 44, used for trapping any impurities and/or moisture being present in second refrigeration circuit 40, and an expansion element, preferably a second capillary tube 45, used for expanding the second refrigerating fluid. At this point, the second refrigerating fluid evaporates in second evaporator 41 and, due to its evaporation, cools and/or dehumidifies the air to be treated in treatment unit 20. The configuration of second evaporator 41 is such that the thermal exchange between the second refrigerating fluid and the air to be treated is optimized: it therefore has a large thermal exchange surface, said surface being so arranged as to be lapped by the air flow generated by fan 46, thus maximizing the thermal exchange

and at the same time minimizing load losses. Means are associated with second evaporator 41 for collecting and/or containing the condensed water formed as a result of condensation, on second evaporator 41, of the moisture of the air in the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located. Said means are schematized in Fig.2 (and also in the subsequent Figs.3-4) through a trough 47 and a water drain system 48, located immediately underneath second evaporator 41. Water drain system 48 puts trough 47 in communication with a collection basin (not shown in the drawings annexed to the present description), typically located in the lower portion of electric appliance 1, so that the condensation dripped on trough 47 precipitates therein by gravity. The typology of the components being present in the above-described first and second refrigeration circuits does not limit the inherent inventive concepts of the configuration of the refrigeration circuit shown in Fig.2. Said refrigeration circuit provides optimal dimensioning and control of its single components: in particular, first refrigeration circuit 30 can be dimensioned and controlled like the refrigeration circuit of any household refrigerator- freezer, while second circuit 40 can be dimensioned and controlled like the refrigeration circuit of any air conditioner and/or dehumidifier.

Fig.3 shows a second example of a refrigeration circuit adapted for use in electric appliance 1. This second example is characterized by using a single-phase secondary fluid as a second refrigerating fluid for cooling and/or dehumidifying the air in treatment unit 20. In this case, the second refrigerating fluid employed may be any fluid which, at the operating temperatures of the second refrigerating circuit, remains in the liquid state (e.g. a mixture of water and glycol). Electric appliance 1 comprises a single compressor 52, associated with first refrigeration circuit 50 and adapted to compress the first refrigerating fluid, and thermal exchange means 9 between first refrigeration circuit 50 and second refrigeration circuit 60. Thermal exchange means 9 are, in particular, adapted to transfer heat from the second refrigerating fluid to the first refrigerating fluid. Electric appliance 1 comprises a first condenser (the condenser 53 in Fig.3), adapted to condense the first refrigerating fluid, and may possibly also comprise a second condenser (the auxiliary condenser 531 in Fig.3), also adapted to condense the first refrigerating fluid. From the outlet of compressor 52, the first refrigerating fluid reaches condenser 53, located behind refrigerator-freezer 10. At the outlet of condenser 53, there is a dehydrating filter 54,

used for trapping any impurities and/or moisture being present in first refrigeration circuit 50, and then there is a first branching point 581, used for dividing first refrigeration circuit 50 into two branches 501 and 502, first branch 501 being adapted to supply the first heat removing means (in particular, said first heat removing means comprising the evaporator 51), and second branch 502 being adapted to supply thermal exchange means 9.

First branch 501 comprises an expansion element, preferably a first capillary tube 55, used for expanding the first refrigerating fluid, and then evaporator 51 (and any other evaporators adapted to cool any other internal compartments of electric appliance 1), which is so arranged as to be in thermal contact with the internal compartment from which it removes the heat necessary for the evaporation of the first refrigerating fluid, thus cooling said compartment. In second branch 502, an auxiliary condenser 531 and an auxiliary dehydrating filter 5(41 may be arranged, which are not required if condenser 53 is so dimensioned as to be able to dissipate all the condensation heat of the first refrigerating fluid circulating in both 1 branches 501 and 502. Downstream of auxiliary condenser 531 and of auxiliary dehydrating filter 541, if present, there is a second expansion element, preferably a second capillary tube 551, used for expanding the first refrigerating fluid. Once the expansion pressure has been reached, the first refrigerating fluid exiting the expansion element evaporates in thermal exchange means 9, thus removing heat from the second refrigerating fluid and lowering its temperature. Said two branches 501 and 502 join again on the intake line of compressor 52, at the second branching point 582. The flow in both branches 501 and 502 is regulated through flow interceptor and/or conveyor means (e.g. one or more solenoid valves) shown by way of non- limiting example in Fig.3 as a plurality of solenoid valves 591, 592 and 593, which are adapted to direct the first refrigerating fluid contained in first refrigeration circuit 50 either to first branch 501 or to second branch 502, or else to distribute the first refrigerating fluid contained in refrigeration circuit 50 between first branch 501 and second branch 502. As an alternative to the aforementioned configuration of first refrigeration circuit 50, wherein first branch 501 and second branch 502 are arranged in parallel, it is also possible to take into account a configuration wherein first branch 501 and second branch 502 are arranged in series: in such a case, the first refrigeration circuit will not include any flow interceptor and/or conveyor means, and thermal exchange means 9 will be located immediately downstream of evaporator 51.

In the example shown in Fig.3, wherein the second refrigerating fluid is a liquid-state single- phase fluid, a pump 62 is included in second refrigerating circuit 60 for pumping the second refrigerating fluid, so that it can circulate in second refrigeration circuit 60, thus overcoming its load losses. Pump 62 takes the cooled second refrigerating fluid at the outlet of thermal exchange means 9 and delivers it to a heat exchanger 61, used for cooling and/or dehumidifying the air to be treated in treatment unit 20. The configuration of heat exchanger 61 is such that the thermal exchange between the second refrigerating fluid and the air to be treated is optimized: it therefore has a large thermal exchange surface, said surface being so arranged as to be lapped by the air flow generated by the 46, thus maximizing the thermal exchange and at the same time minimizing load losses. Means are associated with heat exchanger 61 for collecting and/or containing the condensed water formed as a result of condensation, on heat exchanger 61, of the moisture of the air in the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located. The typology of the components being present in the above-described first and second refrigeration circuits does not limit the inherent inventive concepts of the configuration of the refrigeration circuit shown in Fig.3: in particular, the function as thermal exchange means 9 may be provided by any liquid-gas heat exchanger known from the thermotechnics literature. The refrigeration circuit of Fig. 3 may be controlled in several ways, one of which is described below by way of non-limiting example. When heat must be removed from the internal compartment(s) of refrigerator-freezer 10 in order to lower its temperature (this need may be detected, for example, by an electromechanic thermostat being in thermal contact with the evaporator 51), solenoid valve 591 is opened and solenoid valve 592 is closed, so that the first refrigerating fluid can evaporate in evaporator 51 and then reach the intake of compressor 52 by flowing through solenoid valve 593, which may be a non-return valve, i.e. a valve that lets the first refrigerating fluid flow in one direction only. At the same time, the flow of the second refrigerating fluid is blocked in the second refrigeration circuit 60 by deactivating pump 63; the air flow in treatment unit 20 may be blocked as well by deactivating fan 46. Once the desired temperature has been reached inside refrigerator-freezer 10, compressor 52 can remain activated, solenoid valve 591 can be closed, and solenoid valve 592 can be opened: by doing so, the first refrigerating fluid is allowed to cool the second refrigerating fluid in thermal exchange means 9. At the same time, the flow of the second

refrigerating fluid in second refrigeration circuit 60 is restored by activating pump 62, and possibly also the air flow in treatment unit 20 may be restored by activating fan 46. Fig.4 shows a third example of a refrigeration circuit adapted for use in electric appliance 1. This third example is characterized by utilizing a single refrigeration circuit 70 both for cooling the internal compartment(s) comprised in refrigerator-freezer 10 and for conditioning and/or dehumidifying the air in treatment unit 20. Refrigeration circuit 70 comprises a compressor 72, adapted to compress the refrigerating fluid contained in refrigeration circuit 70, a first branch 701 and a second branch 702. First branch 701 comprises the first heat removing means, in particular at least one first evaporator 71, which are adapted to cool the internal compartment(s) of electric appliance 1, whereas the second branch comprises the second heat removing means, in particular at least one second evaporator 711, which are adapted to subtract heat from the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located. In the configuration of refrigeration circuit 70 shown in Fig.4, first branch 701 is arranged in parallel with second branch 702. Refrigeration circuit 70 therefore comprises flow interceptor or conveyor means, in particular one or more valves, adapted to direct the refrigerating fluid contained in refrigeration circuit 70 either to first branch 701 or to second branch 702, or else adapted to distribute the refrigerating fluid contained in refrigeration circuit 70 between first branch 701 and second branch 702. Furthermore, electric appliance 1 comprises a first condenser (condenser 73 in Fig.4), adapted to condense the refrigerating fluid, and possibly also a second condenser (the auxiliary condenser 731 in Fig.4), adapted to condense the refrigerating fluid and associated with second branch 702 of the refrigeration circuit 70. From the outlet of compressor 72, the refrigerating fluid reaches condenser 73, located behind refrigerator-freezer 10. At the outlet of condenser 73, there is a dehydrating filter 74, used for trapping any impurities and/or moisture being present in refrigeration circuit 70, and then there is a first branching point 781, used for dividing refrigeration circuit 70 into two branches 701 and 702, first branch 701 being adapted to supply the first heat removing means (in particular, said first heat removing means comprising first evaporator 71), and second branch 702 being adapted to supply the second heat removing means (in particular, said second heat removing means comprising second evaporator 711). First branch 701 comprises an expansion element, preferably a first capillary tube 75, used for expanding the refrigerating fluid, and then evaporator 71 (and any other evaporators

adapted to cool any other internal compartments of electric appliance 1), which is so arranged as to be in thermal contact with the internal compartment from which it removes the heat necessary for the evaporation of the refrigerating fluid, thus cooling said compartment. In second branch 702, an auxiliary condenser 731 and an auxiliary dehydrating filter 741 may be arranged, which are not required if condenser 73 is so dimensioned as to be able to dissipate all the condensation heat of the refrigerating fluid circulating in both branches 701 and 702. Downstream of auxiliary condenser 731 and of auxiliary dehydrating filter 741, if present, there is a second expansion element, preferably a second capillary tube 751, used for expanding the refrigerating fluid. Once the expansion pressure has been reached, the refrigerating fluid exiting the expansion element evaporates in second evaporator 711, thereby cooling and/or dehumidifying the air to be treated in treatment unit 20. The configuration of second evaporator 711 is such that the thermal exchange between the refrigerating fluid and the air to be treated is optimized: it therefore has a large thermal exchange surface, said surface being so arranged as to be lapped by the air flow generated by fan 46, thus maximizing the thermal exchange and at the same time minimizing load losses. Means are associated with second evaporator 711 for collecting and/or containing the condensed water formed as a result of condensation, on second evaporator 41, of the moisture of the air in the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located. Said two branches 701 and 702 join again on the intake line of compressor 72, at second branching point 782. The flow in both branches 701 and 702 is regulated through flow interceptor and/or conveyor means (e.g. one or more solenoid valves) shown by way of non- limiting example in Fig.4 as a plurality of solenoid valves 791, 792 and 793, which are adapted to direct the refrigerating fluid contained in refrigeration circuit 70 either to first branch 701 or to second branch 702, or else to distribute the refrigerating fluid contained in refrigeration circuit 70 between first branch 701 and second branch 702. As an alternative to the aforementioned configuration of refrigeration circuit 70, wherein the first branch 701 and second branch 702 are arranged in parallel, it is also possible to take into account a configuration wherein first branch 701 and second branch 702 are arranged in series: in such a case, the refrigeration circuit will not include any flow interceptor and/or conveyor means, and second evaporator 711 will be located immediately downstream of first evaporator 71.

The typology of the components being present in the refrigeration circuit shown in Fig.4 does

not limit the inherent inventive concepts of the configuration of the refrigeration circuit shown in Fig.4. The refrigeration circuit of Fig.4 may be controlled in several ways, one of which is described below by way of non-limiting example. When heat must be removed from the internal compartment(s) of refrigerator-freezer 10 in order to lower its temperature (this need may be detected, for example, by an electromechanic thermostat being in thermal contact with the first evaporator 71), solenoid valve 791 is opened and solenoid valve 792 is closed, so that the refrigerating fluid can evaporate in first evaporator 71 and then reach the intake of compressor 72 by flowing through solenoid valve 793, which may be a non-return valve, i.e. a valve that lets the refrigerating fluid flow in one direction only. At the same time, the air flow in treatment unit 20 may be blocked by deactivating fan 46. Once the desired temperature has been reached inside refrigerator-freezer 10, compressor 72 can remain activated, solenoid valve 791 can be closed, and solenoid valve 792 can be opened: by so doing, the refrigerating fluid is allowed to gain access to second evaporator 711 and to cool and/or dehumidify the air treated by treatment unit 20. At the same time, the air flow in treatment unit 20 is restored by activating fan 46.

Having identified, during the research activity connected to the present invention, a number of possible problems related to the application of any of the refrigeration circuit configurations shown in Figs.2-3-4 and described in the above detailed description, the Applicant has found some effective solutions to solve said possible problems. A first possible problem may arise when electric appliance 1 comprises two distinct and separate condensers, the first of which may be associated, like the first condenser 33 of Fig.2, with the first heat removing means (e.g. the first evaporator 31 of Fig.2), which are adapted to cool the internal compartment(s) of refrigerator-freezer 10, whereas the second of which may be associated, like the second condenser 43 of Fig.2, with the second heat removing means (e.g. second evaporator 41 of Fig.2), which are adapted to cool and/or dehumidify the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located, through the conditioner and/or dehumidifier comprised in treatment unit 20. In this case, the two condensers may interfere with each other in the thermal exchange and thus lose a considerable part of their capacity of condensing the respective refrigerating fluids. The Applicant has found a possible and advantageous arrangement according to which both condensers can operate without interfering with each other in the thermal exchange: for this

reason, said arrangement, which is shown schematically in Fig.5, maximizes the exchange effectiveness of both condensers. Fig.5 is a top view of a detail of electric appliance 1, more precisely of the rear portion of electric appliance 1.

In Fig.5, electric appliance 1 is positioned near a wall 100, from which it is suitably distanced by means of spacer elements (not shown in Fig.5). First condenser 3 and second condenser 4 are constrained to back 7 of electric appliance 1, so that they are located behind the internal compartment(s) of electric appliance 1. At least one separator 101 is secured to back 7, adapted to keep apart the zones housing first condenser 3 and second condenser 4, respectively. First condenser 3 may be first condenser 33 of Fig.2 or condenser 53 of Fig.3, or else condenser 73 of Fig.4, whereas second condenser 4 may be second condenser 43 of Fig.2 or the auxiliary condenser 531 of Fig.3, or else auxiliary condenser 731 of Fig.4. First condenser 3 and/or second condenser 4 are so shaped as to comprise at least one first exchange surface 3A; 4A and one second exchange surface 3B; 4B, first exchange surface 3A; 4A being in particular substantially parallel to second exchange surface 3B; 4B. Due to said shape, first condenser 3 and/or second condenser 4, when seen from above as in Fig.5, have a c profile, i.e. a profile having the outermost portions substantially parallel to each other and being considerably longer than the central portion (i.e. the curved portion of the first condenser 3 and/or of the second condenser 4 of Fig.5), which is used for connecting the two outermost portions of the profile. The condenser device characterized by the above-described shape is itself an invention; furthermore, it may advantageously be used not only in electric appliance 1, but also in any other household refrigeration appliance, because it provides high thermal exchange capacity compared with its external dimensions. According to an advantageous embodiment of the present invention, aimed at improving the dissipation of the heat generated by first condenser 3 and/or by second condenser 4 from the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located, means are associated with first condenser 3 and/or with second condenser 4 for evacuating said heat out of the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located. If treatment unit 20 of electric appliance 1 comprises a conditioner and/or a dehumidifier, the heat generated by first condenser 3 (and also by second condenser 4, if present) may in fact be dissipated at least partially by associating one or more fans with first condenser 3 and/or with second condenser 4, for conveying said heat

into a duct (or a chimney) ending outside the house wherein electric appliance 1 is located. A second possible problem related to the application of any of the refrigeration circuit configurations shown in Figs.2-3-4 to electric appliance 1 has been found in the elimination of the considerable quantity of condensed water which, especially on hot and damp summer days, is formed on the walls of the evaporator or of the heat exchanger of air treatment unit 20, and is then collected in the condensed water collecting and/or containing means. Said condensed water collecting and/or containing means comprise the collection basin, positioned underneath air treatment unit 20: it collects the condensed water formed as a result of condensation of the moisture of the air in the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located, which is conveyed therein by means of trough 47 (suitably inclined) and of water drain system 48.

The Applicant has found different solutions for eliminating the condensed water. According to a first solution, the condensed water collecting and/or containing means are totally or partially removable, so that they can be emptied (in particular, said collection basin may be removable): this first solution, according to which a portion of said collecting and/or containing means may be shaped like a can, on the one hand requires that said means are easily accessible, so as to allow the user of electric appliance 1 to easily remove them, while on the other hand is cheap and easy to implement. According to a second solution, the water collecting and/or containing means are associated with a heat source, so as to allow the heat source to cause the condensed water to evaporate. Said heat source may consist of the compressor(s) or of the condenser(s) of electric appliance 1 (this avoids any specific power consumption for evaporating the condensed water, but the quantity of water eliminated is rather limited), or of a dedicated electric resistance, e.g. placed in thermal contact with the aforementioned condensed water collection basin. On the one hand, this second solution offers the advantage of requiring no intervention by the user of electric appliance 1, while on the other hand it suffers from the drawback that the previously eliminated moisture is reintroduced in the air in the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located, unless said moisture is evacuated outdoors, together with the condensation heat generated by the condensers. According to a third solution, the water collecting and/or containing means are associated with means for the connection to a water drain network, in particular to the household

plumbing system, thus allowing the condensed water to be drained away. This is the most effective solution for eliminating the condensed water, but has the drawback of requiring specific and costly operations for connecting electric appliance 1 to the household plumbing system of the building during the installation of electric appliance 1. Interesting improvements of electric appliance 1 may be obtained if electric appliance 1 is of the electronic control type, with sensor means adapted to detect the temperature inside the internal compartment(s) of electric appliance 1. In particular, in this case, electric appliance 1 may comprise two separate electronic controllers, adapted to control refrigerator-freezer 10 and the conditioner and/or dehumidifier, respectively, or, preferably, a single electronic controller used for controlling both refrigerator-freezer 10 and the conditioner and/or dehumidifier.

If electric appliance 1 comprises a refrigeration circuit provided with flow interceptor and/or conveyor means (such as the solenoid valves of Figg.3-4), the electronic controller can control said means based on the signal received from the sensor means adapted to detect the internal temperature of refrigerator-freezer 10. In particular, when controlling the flow interceptor and/or conveyor means, the central controller assigns a higher priority to the refrigeration of the internal compartments of refrigerator-freezer 10 and a lower priority to the conditioning and/or dehumidification of the air through treatment unit 20. The presence of an electronic control system in electric appliance 1 also allows to provide the electric appliance with an interface device through which the user can turn on/off air treatment unit 20 or select the operating parameters of air treatment unit 20 (and possibly also of the refrigerator-freezer 10): for example, by using said interface device, the user can adjust the rotation speed of fan 46, or change the orientation of adjusting means 23 possibly associated with outlet section 22. In the place of an interface device secured to electric appliance 1 (e.g. an interface device applied to upper door 11), or in addition to said device, electric appliance 1 may also be fitted with a radiofrequency receiver connected to the electronic control system of electric appliance 1, in order to allow the user to turn on/off air treatment unit 20 or to select the operating parameters of air treatment unit 20 (and possibly also of refrigerator-freezer 10) through a suitable remote control. In the advantageous embodiment of the present invention according to which electric appliance 1 comprises means for evacuating outdoors the heat generated by the condenser(s)

included in electric appliance 1, it is possible to use sensor means adapted to detect the temperature and/or moisture and/or speed of the air of environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located. The electronic control system of electric appliance 1 can control the conditioner and/or the dehumidifier and/or adjusting means 23 of treatment unit 20 based on the signal received from said air temperature and/or moisture and/or speed sensor means; thus, for example, it can activate or deactivate the conditioner when a preset temperature is detected in the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located. Said sensor means may either be comprised in electric appliance 1 or be located at a distance from electric appliance 1 : in this latter case, they can communicate with the electronic control system of electric appliance 1 via cable or radiofrequency.

If electric appliance 1 is of the electronic control type, sensor means may be associated therewith for detecting the condensed water level in the water collecting and/or containing means. The electronic control system of electric appliance 1 can control the conditioner and/or dehumidifier of treatment unit 20 based on the condensed water level detected by said sensor means: in particular, it can turn off the conditioner and/or dehumidifier when the condensed water level reaches a preset value. If electric appliance 1 is of the electromechanic type, the aforementioned deactivation of the conditioner and/or dehumidifier when the condensate reaches a preset level in the water collecting and/or containing means takes place by means of a switch controlled by a float-type system housed in the means collecting and/or containing the condensation.

It is clear from the present description how the electric appliance according to the present invention overcomes the drawbacks of the above-mentioned prior art. In fact, it stands out from the electric appliances known in the art both because the air treatment unit does not limit the capacity of the refrigerated internal compartments and because the action of the air treatment unit is felt substantially in the whole environment wherein the electric appliance is located, not only within a limited volume around the electric appliance. From the above-mentioned prior art, it emerges that just a single type of environmental air treatment is available with electric appliances comprising, within the same cabinet, one or more internal compartments, which are adapted for use as refrigerator compartments or freezer compartments since they are refrigerated by an associated refrigeration circuit, and an air treatment unit. On the contrary, an advantageous variant of the present invention allows to

combine several air treatment systems within treatment unit 20 of electric appliance 1. Said advantageous variant is shown in Fig.6, wherein several air filtration and/or purification and/or treatment systems are included within treatment unit 20 (as seen from a sectional side view). These systems may all exist together or else be present in electric appliance 1 alone or combined in any way, and may comprise air purification systems and/or conditioning systems and/or dehumidifϊcation systems and/or systems for diffusing fragrances and/or perfumes. Fig.6 shows the air flow through treatment unit 20 of electric appliance 1, generated by the fan 46. The air enters treatment unit 20 through the inlet section 21, and then flows through a first filtering unit 90, which may comprise a mesh pre-filter, adapted to trap macroscopic impurities being present in the air (e.g. dust), and an activated charcoal filter, adapted to trap the smells being present in the environment wherein electric appliance 1 is located (typically a household kitchen). The air then laps the aforementioned second heat removing means 8, which may be second evaporator 41 of Fig.2, or heat exchanger 61 of Fig.3, or second evaporator 711 of Fig.4. During this stage, the air is cooled and/or dehumidified, and condensate is formed on the surface of second heat removing means 8, which then percolates in trough 47 being in communication with the collection basin through water drain system 48. The trough is inclined in order to provide an optimal discharge of the condensed water percolating therein. Typically an air purifier 91 is placed downstream of the fan, which may comprise a filtration system (preferably comprising at least one electrostatic filter) to filter any particles which have not been trapped in first filtering unit 90, and an ionizer to sterilize the air flow. As an alternative to the ionizer, it is possible to use a sterilization system, in particular a photocatalytic-effect or an ultraviolet-ray sterilization system. Finally, perfumes and/or fragrances may be added to the air, by means of diffuser 80, before it is released through outlet section 22 by treatment unit 20 of electric appliance 1. The arrangement, order and position of the components in Fig.6 are not binding, in that they merely represent a non-limiting example. Furthermore, the description of the various components of Fig.6 has been left intentionally general, because said components have already been described in detail in the technical literature of the air purification industry. The present invention has been described with particular reference to specific embodiment examples, but it is clear that many changes may be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope defined by the annexed claims.

Finally, it is worth pointing out that the (previously described) aspects relating to the conditioning and/or dehumidification system are not necessarily bound to the (previously described) aspects relating to the positioning of the air treatment unit and its components, in particular the inlet section, the outlet section and the adjusting means.