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Split Air Conditioner

Updated on August 27, 2012

Ductless split air conditioners

If you’re planning a remodeling job, or if you’re in the process of adding a new room to your home or converting unused space like an attic, garage, or basement into living space, you’re probably wondering about how to cool the area. Chances are that you already have a central heating and air conditioning system – but is it large enough to handle the extra square footage? Also, what about running all the new ductwork necessary to deliver cool air to the new rooms? You won’t have to worry about these dilemmas with a split air conditioner.

What’s a split air conditioner?

Ductless split air conditioners have two major parts – an outdoor condenser and compressor, and an air handler inside the home, just like a traditional central system. The big difference, however, is that split air conditioners have up to four smaller interior air handlers instead of the single large inside air handler of a traditional central cooling system. Air tubing and power cables run from the compressor and condenser outside to the air handlers inside. No ductwork is required!

With the split air conditioner system, an air handler is placed in each room that needs cooling. Since the unit can handle four air handlers, four separate rooms can be cooled with a split air conditioner. If you need more than four rooms cooled, you can add another condenser that will handle four more air handlers and four additional rooms.

Advantages of ductless split air conditioners

Obviously, not having to run new ductwork is a big advantage. Running new ductwork is messy and expensive, and for some rooms, ductwork might not even be an option. Also, each room cooled with the split air conditioner will have its own thermostat, unlike with the traditional central system that requires the entire house to be the same temperature. This is a great option for families. You might like your bedroom to be cool at night, but the kids might prefer a warmer bedroom. With a split air conditioner, everyone can be comfortable.

This can present substantial energy savings if you don’t always use every room in your house. With the split air conditioner system, you don’t have to pay to cool the rooms you aren’t using.

Disadvantages of split air conditioners

Like most everything in life, split air conditioners aren’t perfect. For one thing, they’re not exactly cheap. They cost about 20-30% more than a standard air conditioner system up front, but since you won’t have to pay to have ductwork installed, the initial cost really isn’t much more than it would be for a conventional central system. And if you’re presently cooling rooms you don’t use, the split system will provide energy savings and help lower your electric bills, eventually paying for itself over time.

Another down side of split air conditioners is that the air handler that’s used in each of the rooms will be seen. They can be mounted on the ceiling or on a wall, but they won’t be hidden away like the air handler of a traditional central unit.

What a split air conditioner looks like in a home

What will the inside air handler look like in my rooms? Will it stick out like a sore thumb? No. While it's not as unobtrusive as a standard air conditioning vent, it's not nearly as bulky or noticeable as a window air conditioner.

To see what it actually looks like mounted on a wall, see the photo below the links. The air handler is above the two long paintings in the room.


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    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      I agree, and thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Window AC  6 years ago

      Window AC s are the most convenient way of getting Cool.

    • elf_cash profile image

      elf_cash 7 years ago

      A split air conditioner is a great way to cool additions.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for reading and commenting, portable ac!

    • portableac7 profile image

      portableac7 7 years ago

      I like split models because of their noiseless performance

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Audrey! How was your day? We spent part of ours at my middle daughter's, eating Easter dinner and watching the grands hunt eggs. You don't celebrate Easter, do you?

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      That is so interesting - I will have to have Bob the wonder man look at this! We tried to expand our AC but since our house is built on the lower level of brick and such, the 'ducts' are not accessible so too bad. Great info as usual and always looking for new ways to cool the lower part of the house, though it stays 'kinda sorta' cool since it is basically a garden basement - but 105-110 is hard to keep cool on any given day!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      HH, I think we'd die without AC here! lol

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Very, very explicit, habee. A great hub. Unfortunately, in England we don't need air conditioner. Thank you for an interesting read.