A split unit is the most common type of residential air conditioning unit you see in homes. The system is split into two parts. The outside condenser unit cools the air while the interior blower/furnace unit moves that cold air through your duct work.
Split units are contrasted with packaged units, which combine all the functions of an HVAC in one box. You often see packaged units on top of commercial businesses as big boxes with ductwork going up the side of the building.
Advantages of a Split Unit
There are good reasons this setup is so common. First, noise. If you’ve ever had a window unit, you know how noisy an AC can be. By moving the condenser outside, it reduces noise in the house.
Split units also give home builders flexibility on where to place the system. There are some design factors that builders must consider, like how far the cold air has to travel, but there’s a lot of wiggle room.
If you have a furnace along with an air conditioner in your home, split units package up the furnace with the interior part. This takes up less space than having a separate furnace, since there are many shared components.
What Are Ductless Mini-Split Systems?
This is a newer form of split system that moves refrigerant through narrow pipes to small air handlers in different rooms of your home. It’s an extremely efficient form of air conditioning, and each room can have its own temperature. They also have a tiny footprint outside.
Inside the house, each air handler takes up a good bit of space, but they’re usually mounted high on a wall. If your home is quite tiny, speak with an installer before committing to this kind of system.
They are also more expensive than traditional split units, sometimes far more expensive. However, if you live in a hot area, they could pay for themselves over time through energy efficiency. It’s something to consider, especially for new homes that haven’t had duct work installed yet.
When Should I Avoid a Split Unit?
If you need to move a lot of air through a home and you have a flat roof space, a packaged unit could work better for some homes. They are even more quiet than split units and they’re simpler to install and service. However, if your home’s ductwork is already split, it’s not worth redoing your ductwork.
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Rating a Split Unit System
Split unit systems are rated in BTUs or tonnage, and this can tell you if a unit is the right size for your home or not. Units that are too small have to work too hard to cool your home. Too large and the unit won’t remove humidity efficiently, leaving cold damp air.
HVAC installers can measure the size of your home and find units that will work for your space. Another factor to consider is an Energy Star rating. Systems that meet the standards are designated as energy efficient, and will keep your electric bills lower.
If you’re unsure which kind of HVAC unit will work best for your home, a traditional split unit, a ductless mini-split, or a packaged unit, Ambient Edge’s installers can come to your home to inspect your current system and make recommendations. Contact us to make an appointment.