What exactly is a Split Unit in HVAC?

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hvac split unit

What exactly is a Split Unit in HVAC?


If you’ve ever been looking for a new heating and air conditioning unit then you’ve probably come across the term “split unit”. There are various types of split units in the HVAC world and in this post I’m going to explain the basic understanding of what a split unit is.

The Basic Concept

A split unit is usually compared or contrasted with a packaged unit. There’s very good reason for this. A typical packaged unit will consist of the air conditioner and its components along with the heating system and it’s components all located in one unit outside. So the ac and the furnace, for example, along with its components, would all be in one accessible unit outside. If you’ve ever noticed a large rectangular unit on the rooftops of a business or outside of a home, then you’ve probably seen a packaged unit. These larger unit’s appear much bigger as far as what you can see because everything is located inside of that one unit. 

split unit hvac

A typical split unit, on the other hand, will have the air conditioner’s compressor and condenser, known together as the condenser unit, located outside. The evaporator coil and/or air handler and the furnace are located inside the home or business. Obviously, the part of the unit that is seen outside is going to appear much smaller than that of a packaged unit. See the picture below for a typical outdoor section of this setup.

split unit

Different Types of Split Units

When it comes to split units, there are different types out there. There is a split unit ac unit, a split unit heat pump, a split unit ac unit with a furnace and so on. There are also ductless mini-split systems as well, but we aren’t covering those in this post. I’ll be sharing another post for that topic.

A split unit air conditioner is fairly simple. It will consist of the compressor and condenser located outside and the rest of the components located inside. Normally this would only cover cooling, not heating. Now, there are ways to provide a heat source with an ac unit alone, but it’s not recommended for climates that get below freezing. A split unit ac unit with a furnace (as described previously) would be identical, but would include a furnace indoors as well for heating purposes.

Lastly, a split unit heat pump system would be very similar to the split ac unit system. The compressor and condenser would be located outside with the rest of the components located inside. The heat pump will provide a more effective source of heat in comparison to the split ac unit setup without a furnace.

Benefits of a Split Unit

Lastly, let’s get into some of the benefits.

1) A split unit is normally more efficient than a packaged unit. While packaged units can get near an 18 SEER efficiency rating, split units can achieve and surpass a 22 SEER efficiency rating.

2) Much of the system’s components are located inside the home so a lot of the simple maintenance can be performed inside the comfort of your home or business.

3) Split units offer more flexibility with changing or updating your heating or cooling system. For example, if you’ve already got a heating system, adding a simple split ac unit is the most economical option.

I Hope This Helped You

I hope this has given you a better understanding of what exactly a split unit is and the basic understanding of the concept. When deciding what sort of system to get for your home or business, it’s also recommended to have your local HVAC technician come out and give you some tips and advice. Most of them will give you a free estimate with no strings attached. If you are in the Jackson TN or surrounding areas, you can give us at Cagle Service a call today at 731-300-1030. You can also fill out the simple Replacement Unit Quote Form below if you prefer and we will get back to you ASAP.

Looking for some price estimates? Check out our article:

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