A heating and cooling system is essential to comfort whether at home or in office. At home, the decision about which type of air conditioner to buy lies with the homeowner. When its time to upgrade or replace the HVAC unit, consider all your options before making the final purchase. The two most popular choices in air conditioners for homes and residences are packaged units and split systems. These terms may sound Greek, but the purpose of this post is to make you aware of the differences between the two. This knowledge will allow you to seek the most suitable solution for your house.
Package HVAC Unit
In a packaged air conditioner, the entire unit is in one packet. It means that the condenser, compressor, and the evaporator coil all are placed in a single cabinet. This cabinet is mostly installed on the roof or a concrete block close to the foundation of the house.
Split System HVAC Unit
As the name suggests, in a split system, the three main components of the air conditioner are separate from each other. There is an outdoor unit that houses both the compressor and the condenser. Then there is an indoor unit that houses the evaporator coil. Finally, there is an air handler that sends cool air via the ductwork.
Difference Between Package Unit and Split System Air Conditioner
The main task of both types of air conditioners is to get rid of excess heat from the air and make it cool. Let us study in detail the key difference between Package Unit and Split System Air Conditioner.
1. System Installation
Packaged System – The packaged system is mostly put together at the manufacturing plant or the factory. This makes their installation speedier, simpler, and less costly. If your home has a flat roof, the packaged system can be installed directly. If your home has a pitched roof, you can install it by building a support platform.
Split System – The installation of a split system is a more complicated process. The compressor unit, which makes noise, is installed outdoors to make indoors quieter. The air handler is fitted indoors, and it drives the untreated hot air towards the evaporator coil. The refrigerant line connects these two parts for efficient operations. Its installation is somewhat more complicated, so it usually takes time and is a costlier affair.
2. System Maintenance
Packaged System – The packaged units are more readily accessible. Since all the components reside in one cabinet, their maintenance takes lesser time. But being readily accessible does not mean that they are easy to access. It all depends on where the unit is installed and how easy or difficult it is to reach. The other thing about the packaged units is that they are always fitted outdoors and so suffer from more wear and tear from inclement weather conditions.
Split System – Since the components of a split system reside in two separate units, their maintenance or tune-up takes time. The technician has to check out both the units diligently. However, in the case of split-systems, since one unit is fitted indoor, wear and tear are usually minimal.
3. Requirement Of Space
Packaged System – Packaged systems are idyllic for those homes that have little to no space both indoors and outdoors. With the space restriction, these can be mounted on the roof without any problem. You can also have several packaged systems installed in various locations (like roof or yard) so that your heater and air conditioner become less visible. These installations can be hidden in the backyard with fencing or artistic landscaping, or a trellis with climbers or vines.
Split System – A split system needs both indoor and outdoor space for installation. The compressor unit will be fitted outdoor, and the area around it needs to be clear of shrubs, bushes, or trees. The idea is to ensure that there are no restrictions on the airflow around it. The indoor unit that houses the air handler and the evaporator coil is also sizeable and so will require space again with no restrictions around it. Therefore, it is usually installed in the basement, garage, or attic.
Pros And Cons Of A Packaged Unit
Pros – The key things working in favor of package HVAC units are:
1. They are completely assembled in the factory, thereby minimizing the chances of any defect.
2. It is easy to install.
3. It requires no room inside the house as it is installed on the outside, giving you more space in the house.
4. Its maintenance is relatively easy, as all components are in one place.
Cons – There is just one disadvantage of the packaged units, and that is because they are installed outdoor they have to bear the brunt of nature. Not only that, but animals craving warmth during the winters can also cause damage. Being outdoors rusting is obvious, and sometimes the animals tend to chew through the wires. So packaged units don’t last as long as the split systems.
Pros And Cons Of A Split System
Pros – The advantages of owning a split system are:
1. Since a part of the unit is installed indoors, it does not suffer much from adverse weather conditions, so it stays in relatively good condition for longer.
2. The two units that make the split system are easy to access, so don’t pose any problems at the time of maintenance.
3. These are quieter in operation.
Cons – The main disadvantage of a split system is that its installation is a complicated process because of its split nature. The company installing the unit must have sufficient experience in this field. Otherwise, the quality of the installation will be poor, and the unit will not operate optimally.
Now that you know the difference between Package Unit and Split System Air Conditioner, it must be clear that both units are unique. There is no hands-down winner in this race. It’s more a case of what features your house offers and which unit suits under the circumstances.