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Air Conditioning 101

Air Conditioning 101

Many people don't fully understand how an air conditioning system works or even which type of unit they are currently using. Generally, there are four different types of air conditioning units. There are split systems, heat pumps, packaged central air conditioners (package units), and ductless mini split systems.

Split systems are usually the most common type of air conditioner used. Split systems contain evaporator coils that are usually hidden somewhere inside your house and remove all of the moisture and heat from the air. The condenser coil sits outside of your home in a metal case and releases the heat while the compressor pumps refrigerant between the two coils inside. Inside your house, usually in the attic or walls, there are ducts which connect each room in your house to the blower which circulates the cold air throughout. This type of air conditioning system is the most reasonable for a house with a central furnace because they can share the ductwork. Heat pumps are best used in climates that are more on the mild side. When temperatures drop below freezing, heat pumps aren't as efficient. See the video below for an explanation.

Package units are usually seen on roof tops as well as concrete slabs near the foundation of a house. These are best used when a house might not have enough room indoors for the components (furnace and coil or an air handler). Package units combine all of these components into one outdoor unit. Warm air is pulled in with the fan and cycled over the cold evaporator coils which cools the air during this process. This cool, dehumidified air is then pushed through the ducts and into the different areas throughout the house.

Air Conditioning 101 - BHI Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning

Ductless mini split systems are another type of air conditioning unit. This is a convenient option for a home that does not contain ductwork. One of the benefits to this type of system is that you can install them without tearing into the walls to install the ductwork. However, mini splits may work best to cool individual rooms such as an office or smaller space compared to cooling an entire house. See video below for more explanation.