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
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.