A/C Shopping? 4 Basic Types of Whole-Home Systems to Choose From

Whole-home air conditioners come in four styles, but they all use the same process of evaporation and compression to cool your home. Here’s a quick overview of the four types of whole-home A/C systems.

1. The split system.

  • The condenser coil and compressor sit outside (it’s the large metal box with a fan on top,) while the evaporator coil and blower are inside your home. The cool air is circulated through the house, then back into the unit where the evaporator coil transfers the heat from the now warm air into the coolant. The coolant is pumped outside where the condenser coil lowers the temperature—then it goes back inside to cool your home. If you already have ductwork from a furnace, a split system is the economical choice for a whole-home A/C system.

2. The heat pump.

  • Similar to a split system, a heat pump is basically an air conditioner that works as a heater too. Depending on the season, the coolant flow is reversed. In the winter, the condenser absorbs environmental heat (it doesn’t take much) and transfers it inside. Heat pumps work well in moderate climates, but if it’s too cold outside during the winter you’ll need to augment it with another heat source.

3. The ductless mini-split system.

  • A ductless mini-split system has individual air-handling units for each room in your home. The units are connected through tubing to an outdoor compressor and condenser. The air-handling units are mounted on the wall and controlled individually. Installing a mini-split system costs more, but if your home doesn’t have room for ducts, it’s your only choice for a whole-home A/C system.

4. The packaged central air conditioner.

  • This type of system is generally used in commercial buildings with limited interior space. All the parts of the A/C are combined into one outside unit. It requires considerable ductwork, since the warm air needs to be pulled outside the building, cooled, and then pumped back in through different ducts.

If you have questions, or want to know which type is right for your home, contact Beyer Boys.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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