Many homes operate on a traditional HVAC system. There is a furnace located inside for heating and an AC unit located outside for cooling. Both units use ductwork to provide central heating and central cooling.

A house without ductwork might use window-mounted AC units for individual room cooling. For a long time, central air or window-mounted units were the main options for cooling in a house or business.

More recently, split system AC offers a new option. So, what is split system AC and how does it work.

What Is Split System AC?

A split system AC approach offers you room or zone cooling. A unit located outside the house does most of the heavy lifting for the actual cooling. Inside the house, wall-mounted units direct the cool air into the appropriate room or zone.

How Does It Work?

Split system AC units operate using the same principles as a central air unit or window-mounted unit. Thermometers located inside the house trigger the exterior unit to kick on. The outdoor unit condenses a refrigerant gas into a very cold liquid.

The cold liquid gets pumped into the house via small tubes connected to the indoor units. The indoor units pull in warm air from the room.

The warm air gets cooled by the cold liquid sent from the outdoor unit. The cooled air then gets pushed back out into the room.

The liquid in the tubing converts back into a refrigerant gas as it gets warmer. The warmed refrigerant goes to the outside unit where it can get converted back into very cold liquid.

Benefits of a Split System

Split systems can offer several practical and design benefits. Central air systems lose efficiency because they must pump the air through ducts. The air absorbs heat while in the ducts.

When properly sized in a well-insulated home, split systems offer better efficiency than central air systems. They don’t use ducts, so the air doesn’t absorb heat in transit.

Split systems also gain efficiency by cooling only the spaces that require it. For example, a south-facing room gets more sun exposure and warms faster than a north-facing room. A split system only cools the south-facing zones, instead of the whole house.

Within reason, you can hang interior units almost anywhere. They can even go in flush with a drop ceiling. That limits their impact on interior design decisions.

Choosing a Split System

Choosing split system AC depends a lot on your existing home or office space.

In a home or business with existing central HVAC, repairing or replacing an AC unit often make more financial sense. For homes or businesses without an existing central HVAC system, a split system often proves more practical because you don’t need ductwork installed.

Not happy with how your current AC system works? Southwestern Mechanical Services offers HVAC repair and installation in the Decatur, AL area.

Contact SMS today for more information or to schedule an appointment.