Using and Maintaining HVAC Systems in Rental Properties

Packaged Unit Or Split System: Choosing A Central AC Type

There are two key types of central air conditioning units. One is called a packaged unit—it contains all of the components of the air conditioner inside one metal cage. The other is called a split system, and it consists of two units: one with the condenser and compressor, and a second with the evaporator coil and air handler. Both types of systems have their place. Below, you'll learn the upsides and downsides of packaged units and split systems, which should help you choose between them.

Packaged Units

Packaged units are not quite as common as split systems, but they're pretty prevalent and most HVAC companies do install them.


Packaged units take up less space. You can usually fit the unit inside a crawlspace or even inside a cabinet. Since there is no outdoor component, the AC won't interfere with the look of your landscaping. These systems are also easy to install, and they use fewer materials, which makes them an eco-friendly option.


Packaged units do tend to require more maintenance than split systems. This maintenance has to be done by professionals since it requires partially disassembling the unit. Another drawback is the price. These systems tend to cost more, and there are fewer brands to choose from.

Split Systems

Split systems are the most common type of central AC unit, and almost all HVAC companies install them.


Split systems are easier to maintain, and homeowners can do some of the maintenance themselves. For example, they can clean the evaporator coil and the compressor. These systems are affordable, and almost all HVAC manufacturers make them, so you have lots of brands to choose from. Another major benefit is efficiency; they tend to use less energy than packaged units.


Split systems require more space since you have to install two separate components. You need to find room outside for the compressor unit. Another small drawback is the increased possibility of leaks. Since there are more hoses and ducts involved in a split system, there is a greater chance of leaks over the years.

Hopefully, this piece has given you a better understanding of both split and packaged AC systems. If you need more help choosing the best system for your needs, contact an HVAC contractor. They can look over your home, assess your needs, and let you know which type of system will be easiest and most efficient to use. 

Turn to a company like Steve Patrick Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Inc. to find out more.