It’s important to tell whether you have a split AC unit so you know how to maintain it and when you might need AC repair or replacement. This is one of a few climate control systems used in the U.S. (where 88% of homes have air conditioning, according to the Energy Information Administration).¹ We’ll explain how to know your AC is a split unit.
What Does a Split AC Unit Look Like?
A split AC system has the same parts as a packaged AC or a window unit. However, it’s divided into two main components. Both are linked by pipes to move refrigerant and wires to provide electricity. A condensate line removes moisture from the system and drains it outside.
The outdoor cabinet contains the condenser, compressor, and fan and usually sits on a concrete platform near an outside wall. It typically has a box-shaped metal casing with a grated surface to allow airflow into the condenser coils. A fan, which helps expel heat and cool internal components, is usually positioned on top of the unit.
The indoor air handler includes the evaporator coil and blower. It takes in warm air, cools it, and delivers it back to a room. Refrigerant lines pass between the two units and transport coolant in a constant cycle; this allows the system to transport heat absorbed from your home and release it into the outside air.
Types of Split AC Systems
Not every split system looks the same. There are a few variations of the concept, but you should still be able to tell you have a split AC. Common configurations found in homes include:
- Central Split HVAC Systems: A central AC indoor unit is often located in the basement or pantry. The air handler pushes cool air into ducts that deliver it to each room. An outdoor unit is often placed on the side of a house that’s usually shaded. Aside from controlling temperature, a central system often lets you control the amount of air that passes through room vents.
- Mini-Split AC Systems: A mini-split system has an outdoor unit, while an indoor unit is mounted in the room it’s intended to cool; both are linked by piping. Mini-splits can deliver air via ductwork. However, ductless mini-split AC systems are becoming popular due to their efficiency, capacity for single- or multi-zoning, and availability of wall-, floor-, or ceiling-mounted units.
- Floor-Standing Split ACs: Larger and taller than a mini-split, a floor-standing unit resembles a refrigerator and plugs into the wall. It also easily connects to the outdoor unit. A floor-standing system can be used in a home, but its high cooling capacity suits it for commercial lobbies, corridors, and conference rooms.
Do I Have the Right Split AC Unit?
Knowing if you have the best AC system installed requires technical knowledge. Central split HVAC systems are suited for new homes that can accommodate ductwork. But when renovating an older home where space constraints and difficult access can make installing ductwork challenging, a mini-split AC system is more convenient. Installation is generally quick and no significant modifications to your indoor space are needed.
You can tell if you have a mini-split AC unit if there’s a small conduit through the wall, hidden behind the air handler. The configuration is otherwise similar to a traditional split system. However, the indoor unit is more visible and obtrusive than a central system’s vents and registers. However, the ability to provide cooling where needed conserves energy and allows for personalized comfort.
Contact Sky Heating & Air Conditioning
Our technicians can take a look if you’re still unsure of the AC system you have. They can also determine if it’s meeting your needs and whether an AC repair or replacement can improve comfort, efficiency, and indoor air quality. To schedule split AC unit repair, installation, or maintenance, contact us online or call (888) 927-3943 today.