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What You Need to Know About Split System Air Conditioner Systems
Your cooling system needs are important. When it comes to whether to choose a heat pump, split system air conditioner, or another option for your comfort, you want to have all the information required. Everything from energy efficiency to ductwork can affect price, layout, and other issues. You may be looking for a particular brand, a type of split AC unit or you want something that includes a dehumidifier.
Also, consider that a ductless air conditioner can be less costly than a split central air conditioner, but might not be the right choice depending on your target efficiency and whether you have a large or multi-level home. The energy savings you get might not compensate if you need a fuller cooling experience. But with all the available options on the market today, there are many good choices for a split AC system.
Whether you have purchased them before or buying a new unit for the first time, it is common to have questions about any HVAC system, including a split AC unit. Answering those questions is the first step toward making the right choice from the available air conditioning systems. Then you can have a comfortable home in the summer months, along with peace of mind and energy-efficient cooling.
What is a split AC unit in air conditioning?
In air conditioning, a split AC system is what most people typically think of as a whole-house system. These systems have both indoor units and outdoor units, which are connected by copper tubing. There are many types of split systems. You will have an air conditioner or a heat pump outside your home and a coil and blower or gas furnace inside.
You will also need to decide between a ductless and a ducted system. A ductless mini split air conditioner is a popular choice for smaller homes or individual rooms, while a whole house, ducted system is more popular for larger spaces that require central air.
A ductless mini-split system can typically be operated with a remote control. It is wall-mounted and uses refrigerant to cool a single room or a slightly larger space if you have a home with an open floorplan. Installing an AC unit of any kind, other than a small window air conditioning unit, is not a DIY experience. Hiring a professional HVAC contractor to discuss your AC needs is safe and effective.
What does a split central air conditioner unit consist of?
In a split central air conditioner, a compressor and heat exchanger are located outside with a heat pump, and a fan and air handler are located inside. With an air conditioner, you still have the compressor outdoors along with a condenser coil, and the filters, air handler, furnace, and evaporator are all inside. In other words, you will not have everything in one location.
If you need to work on your AC system and are focusing on a home improvement project that can make your space more comfortable, you will need to determine what is wrong with the system first. That gives you the information you need so that you can focus on the proper unit. The best choice, though, is to hire HVAC contractors to handle the work for you. They can quickly diagnose the issue and correct the problem no matter which unit is the cause.
The majority of AC systems contain the same kinds of components. Understanding where those components are located matters for working on the units and also for knowledge about which option to choose. The difference between a heat pump and a split central air conditioner may seem minimal, but if you are trying to find a new outside unit to work with the inside unit you already have, product knowledge is important.
How much is a split AC unit or split system air conditioner?
The cost of a split AC system varies greatly, depending on the size, brand, and number of BTUs it produces. A 12,000 BTU unit, for example, would be more expensive than a 6,000 BTU unit, all other factors being equal. When you have a split AC system you also want to choose a SEER rating that meets your needs.
The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) measures how much energy a split system air conditioner uses to cool your home. It is not about the quality of the cooling experience or the level of airflow you will receive through the ductwork. However, because it directly affects your power bill and how much you will pay for that cooling, it matters. The higher the SEER the more efficient the air conditioner, but the higher SEER also generally means a more expensive split AC unit.
Whether you choose a small, single-zone mini split unit or a much larger, multi-zone unit will affect the price you can expect to pay for your split system, as well. Additionally, a good warranty matters on your split AC unit, so make sure you choose a quality brand you can rely on.
As you look for a split AC unit that meets your needs, consider an Energy Star appliance. It may cost slightly more to purchase up front, but most homeowners appreciate the lower cost of their cooling bills over time. From heating systems to the differences in indoor air handlers, everything can affect the price of the unit.
A mini-split heat pump, for example, will typically cost less than a full-sized split unit that sends air through ductwork throughout your house. Consider air conditioning units that meet the square feet requirement of your house, too, so you get enough cooling power in your space.
A ductless heat pump is an exception to this rule since it is not designed to cool the entire home. Still, you want to have a good understanding of how many square feet it can cool and how the walls in your home affect its ability to move air between rooms.
What is the difference between a split AC unit and other systems?
The biggest difference between a split system air conditioner and other systems is having one unit outside and another inside, connected by refrigerant lines. The line set carries the refrigeration from the outdoor unit to the indoor one, and the units work together to provide you with good temperature control. Other types of systems do not have a double-unit design. Instead, they have all their components in one location.
That can be very helpful sometimes, especially if your space is limited, or you need to cool one room instead of an entire home. Some people will choose a window air conditioner in those instances because they can remove the unit when the weather cools down and put it in the window when summer arrives. This is a good DIY option for air conditioning but may not provide the overall cooling ability that a split AC system offers.
Other systems that are different from split AC units are called packaged systems, and they also offer everything in one place. But they are not like window units that just cool one area, and they provide a whole-house type of solution without the inside and outside unit design. No matter which AC system you choose, you want the one that will fit your needs and budget.
Understanding the differences between AC unit types is important since you need to get the right one. Fortunately, you can rely on your HVAC contractor to give you options and professional advice about the split AC system or other unit that will work for your needs. Then you can buy what is right for your home or commercial building and have peace of mind.
What is the difference between an HVAC packaged unit and a split AC unit?
A package unit has all components together in one box, while a split system consists of two units. Typically, a packaged unit is used for mobile or manufactured homes. Space may be at a premium when someone needs one of these kinds of units. They generally offer quiet operation, and are quick and easy to install and maintain.
Whether this kind of unit is right for your needs will depend on your location, what you need in a cooling system, and the kind of space you have available. If you are on the top floor of a building, for example, you may have access to the roof to attach ductwork but not be able to put an outside unit on the ground, several floors below.
With that in mind, you could choose a packaged unit and have it installed on the roof. The same is true for any other location where ductwork can be accessed from outdoors if you do not have access to a space where you could place an outside unit and connect it via a line set to an inside unit.
It is important to note that a packaged air conditioner only handles cold air. If you need it to also produce heat, you would need to add heat strips to the unit itself. However, there are also packaged heat pumps that handle heating and cooling. Additionally, there are package options for an air conditioner and gas furnace, and for a heat pump and gas furnace, a well.
A packaged system is pre-charged with refrigerant and only needs to be connected to ductwork to be up and running. These units are often placed on concrete slabs, but they can even be used on pitched roofs. The only risk for a roof installation is that there could be problems if the unit leaks. However, installation on the roof is very common in commercial buildings.
If you need a compact solution that can provide quality heating and cooling throughout your home’s or business’ existing ductwork, a packaged system is often the right choice. It takes up far less space, it is quiet, and it can be installed more easily. Since it does not have an indoor unit in the main part of your home, you generally will hear only the air in the ductwork, as opposed to the fan or motor noise that comes with most split systems.
A split system may last longer than a packaged system, but packaged systems generally experience fewer overall breakdowns. With all its components in one space, the unit operates efficiently and can run for a long time. Good maintenance is important, no matter what type of system you choose.
What are the advantages of a split AC unit?
A split system AC unit has a number of advantages homeowners can appreciate. If you have been using a window air conditioner or you have a packaged system, you will notice a difference when you choose a split system option. One of the main advantages is the sheer size and capability the system offers.
Since these units can be purchased in a lot of different sizes and SEER ratings, you can get the unit that is truly right for your needs. Whether you are buying something for home improvement or want to improve the comfort of a commercial building, a new AC system is among the best ways to do that.
A split AC unit can give your home or commercial space a comfortable level of cooling throughout the summer months. You can choose a whole-house option for a larger space or a ductless AC system if you only need to cool a portion of your living or working space. If there is an open floorplan it is easier to get adequate cooling from a ductless system, but they are generally meant to cool only one or two rooms.
A larger, ducted system is an excellent way to have the level of comfort you are looking for. These systems operate efficiently for a long time and do not need a lot of frequent maintenance. Changing the filter on a schedule, and making sure your HVAC professionals check out the unit before every summer cooling season, are good ways to reduce the potential for breakdowns.
Before choosing a split AC unit, consider the area you need to cool and the space you have for the installation of the unit itself. If you have existing ductwork and are simply purchasing a new unit, the choice can be an easier one. Some homeowners also have ductwork installed, so they can have a central cooling system they can rely on.