HVAC & PLUMBING BLOG

Package Unit vs. Split Unit Air Conditioner: Which Option is Best?

If you are struggling to decide between a split unit air conditioner and a package unit, you may find a comparison by features to be more useful than a list of pros and cons. This way, if a certain feature matters more to you than others, you can more easily determine which option will meet your most critical needs.

Common features worth comparing between the split unit AC and the packaged AC unit are installation, lifetime efficiency, and refrigerant.

Installation & Costs

Installation costs for split systems are routinely higher than the cost of installing a single machine. Though not necessarily double the price of a package unit, labor for the split system’s two parts requires more time both indoors and outside, plus connections to duct work.

ace home services split ac or stand alone package

With either product, expect your HVAC technician to use the ACCA’s Manual J to determine residential cooling load, Manual D for residential duct work layout, and Manual S for finding the ideal cooling unit. Manuals N, Q and CS are the equivalents for commercial applications. If you see some other method — back of a napkin, for example — question the contractor.

Service costs are about the same for both systems.

Energy Efficiency

Split systems are more energy-efficient over their lifetimes than single air conditioning units – especially in hot, dry climates. The single unit usually has to sit on a rooftop, exposed to tremendous infrared radiation. A split system can have the outdoor condenser and compressor located in a shady spot, say the experts at Home Advisor.

Split systems often provide a bigger range of Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, with some split system air conditioners achieving 26 SEER. Higher SEER numbers mean greater energy efficiency, so for the life of a 20-year system, that very high efficiency can reward you with very small energy bills.

Stand Alone Air Conditioner

Refrigerant

A split system air conditioner is not completely finished until it is installed at your Phoenix home or business. This means its refrigerant lines cannot be charged until a qualified HVAC technician assembles it. A single package unit can have its lines charged and adjustments made in the factory to provide peak efficiency.

Ask ACE Home Services About Your New A/C Unit

Because either option is a major investment, you may want to contact us at ACE Home Services so we can help you with the decision. We can check out your Valley home or business and provide pointers on which system might be best for you.

We also have experience with installing both types of air conditioning units in Phoenix area homes and businesses, which means we can get the whole job done for you. Contact us today at (602) 943-2000 to learn more.