What Is a Packaged Air Conditioner?

Most air conditioning units, especially those used in homes, are comprised of two separate units. One unit is installed inside the house, where it is hooked up to the ductwork and power source. The other unit is installed outside the house, and is connected to the inside unit by a conduit that includes a refrigerant and power line. Air conditioners are constructed this way to both save space inside the house and facilitate the air conditioner’s operation. However, commercial buildings have another option available: packaged air conditioners. Let’s take a look at what packaged air conditioners are, and why you may want to install one for your business.

Anatomy of a Packaged Air Conditioner

Unlike a normal air conditioner, a packaged air conditioner does not have two separate units. Instead, everything is combined into one large system. In order to understand the reason for this, let’s first take a look at why air conditioners are often split into two units.

An air conditioner doesn’t actually blow cold air into your home. What it actually does is remove heat from the air in your home, and then circulate the now-cold air back into the house. The difference is in the way the air conditioner operates. When an air conditioner turns on, the inside unit begins to siphon heat from the air in the ducts by evaporating refrigerant. The refrigerant gas sucks all of the heat out of the air, then travels down the refrigerant line to the outside unit. There, the outside unit condenses the gas back into a liquid, releasing the heat outside of the house.

Advantages of a Packaged Air Conditioner

While such a system could work just as well for a business as it could for a home, there are a few issues to consider. For one thing, space is often at a premium with business buildings, especially when commercial HVAC systems are so much larger than those used in homes. For another, maintenance would take a lot more time if the technician has to take an elevator back and forth to check both units. Outdoor commercial HVAC units are often installed on the roof, while the inside unit might be in a room on the bottom floor. Packaged AC units keep everything in one place, making maintenance much faster and easier as well as saving space.

Another advantage is that packaged air conditioners are modular systems, able to integrate with other packaged systems in case more output is needed. That isn’t really an option with traditional air conditioning systems.

If you’d like to know more about packaged air conditioners, call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning. We provide packaged AC units throughout Yucaipa.

Does a Package Unit Work Much Differently from a Split System?

One of the installations that we offer to our customers is a packaged unit for indoor comfort. This is a type of heat pump or air conditioner that’s completely housed outside of a building, rather than half inside and half outside. Packaged units are the most common way for commercial buildings to enjoy central heating and cooling. (Those units you see on the top of commercial buildings? Those are packaged units.) But they sometimes have use for homes as well, such as smaller homes that don’t have room to house an indoor component for a heat pump or air conditioner.

People are often confused about what makes a packaged unit different from a split system, aside from the way the unit is laid out. We’ll take a closer look at the operation of packaged units.

Packaged Units Are Very Similar to Split Systems

The truth is that a packaged heat pump or AC isn’t that much different from a split system heat pump or AC. The way they heat/cool works on the same principal and using identical components. A compressor places refrigerant under high pressure that makes it circulate between two sets of coils. In one coil, the refrigerant goes through condensation, releasing the refrigerant’s heat and cooling it down. In the other coil, the refrigerant goes through evaporation and absorbs heat. Fans help move air across the coil for the evaporation and condensation, and a blower fan is responsible for sending the conditioned air into the ventilation system.

The only real difference for a packaged unit is that all this takes place within a single cabinet outside. Both coils are located here. Air from the house travels out to the cabinet from a duct, where it passes through the two coils—gaining and losing heat—and a blower fan then sends the conditioned air back into the house through a supply vent. It’s all in the layout; the action is otherwise the same.

Call Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning to find out more about using a packaged unit in your home or business in Palm Springs, CA.