Split System Air Conditioners
Ductless Split System vs Central Duct Units
Split system air conditioners describe air conditioners that have been split into an outdoor unit and an indoor unit, in effect separating the hot and cold components of the system which are then connected by refrigerant tubing.
The indoor unit typically consists of the evaporator coil and the air handler. This is where the air is cooled and distributed into the required space. The outdoor unit consists of the compressor and condenser where the heat is vented from the building and the refrigerant is cycled back through the system. Split system air conditioners can range in size from large commercial roof top air conditioners to smaller residential systems used to cool the home.
Most central air conditioners use a split system whether it is a ductless system or a system using ductwork to circulate the air throughout the building. The main difference between a split system air conditioner using ductwork and those that don’t, is that the ductless system combines the luxury of whole-house cooling with the convenience of ‘spot cooling’.
With split system air conditioners the indoor unit can be installed into a variety of small crawl spaces, the most popular being the attic or a closet. The outside unit is usually installed in the most convenient and inconspicuous position possible but always ensuring that there is sufficient drainage for the condensate. Where ductless systems are concerned this is usually easier than with those using ductwork as they only require a small hole in the wall and the condenser unit tends to be smaller. These do, however, tend to be more expensive to purchase.
One of the biggest advantages to a split system air conditioner is the significant reduction in noise from the condenser unit simply due to the fact that it is placed outside. They are also significantly more energy efficient in their operation than standard room air conditioners, especially in climates where homes or commercial buildings require a considerable amount of cooling for long summer months.
For drier climates where air cooling and humidification is required, an alternative to the conventional refrigerant based air conditioner would be an evaporative air conditioner. These can come in room-sized units or as a split system air conditioner. They perform the same basic functions of air cooling except water is used instead of a refrigerant. By filtering the air through water-soaked filters, the air is cooled by as much as 20 degrees while at the same time extra moisture is added.