What is the difference between an HVAC Packaged Unit and a Split System?

First, a Split System Unit, as the name suggests, is comprised of two separate units. One part of the unit sits inside and the other part sits outside. In this System, the evaporator coil is installed indoors while the condensing unit will sit outside of the building. These are connected via a copper “line set.” Space and weather permitting, this system can be optimal because of its increased energy efficiency and reduced cost (due to less power consumption).

An HVAC Packaged Unit is an all-in-one Air Conditioner. This type of HVAC system is smaller and easier to install than the split unit system, and was originally designed for homes with a limited amount of indoor space. While the packaged unit is cheaper to install, a lower SEER rating means it is less efficient and will consume more electricity in the long run. Noise is another factor to consider here, since the packaged unit system will usually be quieter as it is located outside. Finally, this type of unit is easier to install and service. Care should be taken to choose the optimal type of unit for your building, and we can help walk you through this decision process.

Simply Put:

  • Packaged Unit= 1 piece
  • Split System= 2 piece system (indoor and out)

HVAC Split System

A Split System Unit is comprised of many important parts in the outdoor / indoor portions of the unit:

  • Inside, the Evaporator, Filter, and Blower are housed within the unit. The Evaporator uses a cooling coil which removes heat and humidity from the air using liquid refrigerant, commonly referred to as “Freon”, like CFC, HCFC, HFC, or a Natural Refrigerant. In the same way that some people use words like “Coke” or “Kleenex” to refer to all soft drinks or facial tissues, “Freon” is a common misnomer used for all refrigerants in general. These refrigerants are very hazardous and should only be handled by a professional service technician. Next on the note of general health, the Filter sorts out dust and particles from the air. This should be changed at least every 90 days, or 60 days if you have pets. If you have pets and allergies, you will see an improvement in air quality by changing your air filters monthly. Finally, the Blower, or fan, blows newly cooled air up and into the ducts of your home or office building.


  • Outside, you will find the Condenser Coils, Compressor, and Fan. When certain liquids evaporate, they become colder than their surrounding environment. The liquid refrigerant that runs through the lines of the compressor slowly evaporates (and at a very cold temperature). This liquid “Freon” inside of the Condenser coils of your compressor makes the condenser very cold, and the Fan blows this cold air inside the building. However, as the liquid evaporates, it is turned into a gas. This is where the Compressor gets its name, as it squeezes the gas to turn it back into a liquid, creating a hot gaseous mixture in the process. The fan inside the unit blows this heat up and off the hot coils, which is why you will feel your outdoor AC blowing hot air if you place your hand over it. Liquid refrigerant continuously goes through this cycle of cold evaporation and hot compression, turning from gas to liquid to gas- over and over again.

HVAC Packaged Unit

An HVAC Packaged Unit combines all of the following processes into one central unit. With an HVAC Packaged Unit, the Evaporator, Filter, Fan, Condenser Coils, and Compressor are all housed in one central unit. These units are optimal in regions that experience extreme cold, or in an instillation where silent operation is desired. Due to easier installation & maintenance, lack of available space, or even budget, a packaged unit may be the best choice for you.

If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Go Direct Appliance today so we can assist you in making an informed decision!