What Are the 3 Types of Air Conditioning System?

When you are looking to install an air conditioning system for your home, store, or office, you can choose three different types of AC systems. The first two types below represent the typical split systems used by residential and commercial properties, while industrial plants and manufacturing facilities standardly use the third. When deciding what type of AC to invest in, it’s helpful to understand the differences between them to determine which is suitable for your particular application.

1.) Split System Air Conditioners (Central Air) – Also known as a forced-air system, central air conditioner or called “air conditioning.” A split system, also called centralized AC, uses an outdoor unit connected with refrigerant lines to an indoor unit. The outdoor compressor reduces the liquid refrigerant to a hot, high-pressure vapor. It sends it through a series of copper tubing positioned along the length of the interior room’s air handler (or furnace).

2.) Ductless Mini-Split Systems – Typically made up of an outdoor condenser and one or more indoor evaporator units connected by refrigerant piping. A mini-split system works like a split system in that it can cool an entire home, but instead of using ducts to distribute the conditioned air, it uses small flexible tubes called “ductwork.” These flexible tubes typically run from 6 inches up to 20 inches in diameter and attach directly to your register vents.

3.) Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners (PTAC) – A PTAC is a complete air conditioning system that’s installed, plumbed, and wired through a wall or exterior door. Also known as a “split-packaged central air conditioner,” this type of AC unit is generally only used in hotels and resorts to service guestrooms or suites where space is limited.

The most significant difference between the three types outlined above lies in their installation method and how they distribute conditioned air throughout your home. Split systems use large metal sheets called “ducts” or flexible tubing that’s either round or oval-shaped. The first two types are typically connected directly to your home’s ductwork, allowing an even distribution of cooled air from room to room. At the same time, ductless AC units require less installation work and are typically installed in new homes or where adding ductwork is cost-prohibitive.

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