What is a Split System Air Conditioner?

Shopping for a new air conditioner means making some pretty big decisions. That includes deciding which type of air conditioner you need for your home. While there are many types out there, split system air conditioners are the most common in Florida homes. Let’s dive into how split system ACs work and the benefits of owning one.

Two Halves Working as a Whole

True to the name, a split system air conditioner is physically split into two halves – an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. The outdoor unit contains the compressor, condenser and condenser fan. The indoor unit houses the evaporator, blower fan and, in the case of heat pumps, an auxiliary heating element. Both halves are linked together via copper tubing, allowing refrigerant to travel from one half of the AC unit to the other.

Unsurprisingly, both halves must work in perfect harmony with each other to keep your home comfortable year-round. That explains why both halves of a typical split system AC are never sold separately. Instead, these units are always a packaged set. Pairing an outdoor unit with a completely different indoor unit does more than just rob your home of efficient, energy-saving cooling, but it can also damage or even destroy your AC system.

Split System Types

Split system air conditioners come in many forms. For instance, many split system air conditioners are also paired with electric or natural gas furnaces. The furnace is integrated into the air handler, allowing the same blower fan to move heated air throughout your home. You also have heat pumps, which also cool your home but with the added benefit of heating your home efficiently simply by reversing the refrigeration cycle.

Ductless split system AC units do away with ductwork entirely. Instead, smaller air handlers are mounted in specific rooms to handle cooling duties. These units can be individually controlled to create “zoned” areas, letting you fine-tune your home comfort and save energy while doing so.

Split System Benefits

Split system air conditioners come with some unique benefits over other types of AC units:

  • Split system ACs typically have higher SEER ratings than other types of AC systems. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit.
  • Some split system ACs come with lower maintenance costs than other comparable units.
  • If you have a basement or crawl space, then it’s easy to locate the indoor half of your split system AC there. This frees up space inside of your home.

Split System vs. Packaged System

You might also be considering a packaged air conditioning system. Unlike split system ACs, packaged ACs house every part of the air conditioning system together in one unit. While this saves space in certain circumstances, split system ACs offer some compelling advantages of their own over packaged AC units:

  • Better Efficiency – Split system ACs tend to have higher SEER ratings than packaged systems. Better efficiency equals lower energy costs over time.
  • Flexible Installation – Splitting an AC system between its indoor and outdoor units gives you more freedom over the installation process. Packaged systems, in comparison, are more limited in where they can be located.
  • Longer Lifespan – On average, split system air conditioners last longer than packaged AC systems, primarily due to rust and corrosion.

Choosing the Right AC System

Every home is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to finding the right split system air conditioner. Consider your home’s size, overall layout and the type of performance you expect from your air conditioning solution. Of course, there’s also your budget to consider when choosing a new AC system.  

Let the Pros Lend a Helping Hand

If you’re having trouble finding the right AC for your home, turn to the experts at Essential Air Conditioning. Our seasoned HVAC technicians will work with you to find the AC solution that best fits your home. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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