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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Split System or Package Unit?

You may have heard the terms split system or package unit before, but do you know exactly what that means?  There is actually a big difference between the two, and as always the more you know the better off you are.

Split Systems have 3 main components:
  • an outdoor metal cabinet that contains the condenser and compressor
  • an indoor cabinet that contains the evaporator coil 
  • an indoor air handler, that in most cases is part of the furnace or heat pump, that sends the cool or warm air through the duct system
Package units have the air handler and furnace(if applicable), evaporator coil, condenser, and compressor all located in one cabinet, which usually is placed on a concrete slab next to the house's foundation.  Air supply and return ducts come from indoors through the home's exterior wall to connect with the outdoor packaged unit.

As far as price is concerned, the outright cost of the package unit is a little more expensive than the cost of a split system.  But after the cost of labor is added in, the price difference between the two systems is minuscule.  Labor tends to be a little more with the split systems because you are installing a unit outside the house and also in the attic or crawlspace, depending on the type of air handler.  Also, the package systems normally come pre-charged from the factory, whereas split systems cannot be charged until they have been set in place and the refrigerant lines have been brazed together.  Additionally, a leak check and a proper vacuum has to be put on the line set in order to achieve the proper charge.  So after all of this, the overall cost ends up being about the same between the two different systems.   




  1. Thanks for this awesome info...was planning to buy an A/C unit next month...my friends suggested Split System --never knew how it looks like until now...

  2. Amazing...it still exists. And that's exactly how I remembered it!

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  11. I am looking to cool a warehouse in a bad neighborhood where anything outside might get stolen. Is there a unit that can be installed inside the building?

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  14. Thanks for the information, I thought about doing my heater repair myself, but I think I'm going to hire some professional heating contractors to come in and do it. I've heard stories about causing a gas leak due to a failed repair and I dont want to risk that.

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  17. I have been thinking about getting a new ac system for my home. The one we have right now is in pretty bad shape! What exactly is a split system ac unit?

  18. I need to get a new air conditioning system in my home. I would like to consider getting a split system ac unit. I think that it would be a good idea for the home that I have.