Difference Between a Package and a Split HVAC System? [Overview]

This is probably the most asked question I get from customers who know they need a new HVAC system and even know what tonnage (Tonnage Rating is the common term in the HVAC Industry to refer to the cooling handling capacity of an air conditioner of any kind) they need but can’t tell me exactly what system they need. This is vital information, whether you buy your system from www.GoDirectAppliance.com or somewhere else, you will need to know. Some companies will just sell you any old air conditioner type, or whatever you say you want to buy and if it’s wrong you may end up stuck with a pricey $$ system and no use for it! We strive to make sure all of our customers order the correct system by asking the right questions, but its still important that you know key differences in units to make sure you get the right system. An error like this will have result in extra freight charges to fix the mistake and loose a lot of very precious time. That is why I hope you read this to make your sure you order what you need.

Split Systems

Below you will see a drawing of a split system and this will explain it best. Basically it is a “condenser” or “heat pump” outside, with a “gas furnace & coil” or an “air handler” inside, depending on your application.  These two units are connected together by copper refrigerant lines.

  • The typical central air conditioning system is a split system, with an outdoor air conditioning, or “compressor-bearing unit” and an indoor coil, which is usually installed on top of the furnace in the home.
  • Using electricity as its power source, the compressor pumps refrigerant through the system to gather heat and moisture from indoors and remove it from the home.
  • Heat and moisture are removed from the home when warm air from inside the home is blown over the cooled indoor coil. The heat in the air transfers to the coil, thereby “cooling” the air.
  • The heat that has transferred to the coil is then “pumped” to the exterior of the home, while the cooled air is pumped back inside, helping to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

Package Units

Package units are all-in-one systems that hook up directly to your duct work outside. All the components, including the compressor, coil, and blower, are inside of this unit and are already fully charged with refrigerant. While they do sell for a tad bit more than a complete split system the install is much easier and usually less expensive. Below is a diagram of what a packaged unit looks like when seen next to a home.

  • Packaged units are all-in-one systems that supply both cooling and heating equipment in one “package.” These units sit on the ground or rooftop outside of your home or business.
  • Packaged units come in three forms:
    • Packaged heat pumps offer heating and cooling using heat pump technology.
    • Packaged air conditioners cool your home and can heat it as well, using electrical strip heat.
    • Packaged gas-electric units offer all-in-one air conditioning and natural gas-powered furnace performance.

I hope this helps you in determining which system you need for your home. If you are still confused don’t hesitate to chat with us online or gives me a call at (229) 316-1266. We would love to talk with you.