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How Do Split System Air Conditioners Work?

How Do Split System Air Conditioners Work?


A split system air conditioner also known as a ductless mini-split system constitutes two major compartments; an indoor unit which carries the evaporation system and the outdoor unit which bears the compressor and condenser elements. This kind of air conditioner bears a rather stark contrast from its counterpart, the central air conditioner system.


While the former works best in open spaces or units with minimal door openings, the latter only operates optimally in rather compact and compartmentalized units with multiple entry points. In other words, the split system air conditioner allows you a greater flexibility in temperature zoning.


For the benefit of the Sun City fraternity, who seem to have preferred installing the split system air conditioner in their spaces, the information herein is going to serve as a great eye opener as to the functionality of this particular system.


This will not only serve as an informative piece, but also an awakening call to the HVAC industry players to consider educating their teams and clients on the systemic preferences of each such unit. It is also prudent to analyze the different functionality scenarios of the split system air conditioner against its main rival, the central air conditioning system as these may vary greatly.


Background and Functionality


The aim of air conditioning is majorly to regulate the filtration, air movement, temperature, and humidity of any environment. Since air conditioning revolves around the cooling process of air, it is therefore almost impossible to have proper air conditioning and dehumidification without incorporating the refrigeration aspect.


The functionality of air conditioners and refrigerators are like flip sides of a coin. While the latter operates by keeping the air within its compartment cool, the former focuses on cooling the air around it. In other words, the air conditioner trades warm air inside a given space with cooler air from outside the same space. They do these repeatedly as long as they are switched on to form a systematic cycle of air circulation and atmospheric control.


Where the climate warrants such an air conditioning system, its functionality can be detailed as follows.


The split system air conditioners are ideal for large open spaces like office buildings, shopping malls, fun halls, and theatres. The system can provide ample heat, circulate enough air around the space while at the same time regulating the humidity within and around any given space due to the embedded dehumidifier feature. Thus, for large spaces, the split system air conditioners have proven to be rather economical and overly efficient.


The system functions by first channeling a gas refrigerant through the unit’s cooling compartment. The compressor then pumps this refrigerant into the condenser unit. As the gas makes its way through the condenser, it cools down and vaporizes into a liquid.


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The vaporized liquid is then pushed at maximum pressure through one side of the evaporator, causing it to expand and turn back into a gaseous state. As the gas further expands, its temperature drops drastically. The resultant consequence is a considerable temperature variation within the evaporator itself.


As the cooled gas refrigerant moves through the evaporator, it swallows up all the heat inside your space and channels it outside into the inlet port of the split system air conditioner’s compressor. At this point, that same cycle commences again, and that is how you are able to enjoy some fresh, cool air within your space. This process makes the split system air conditioner a more targeted distributor of cool air, hence minimizing energy wastage.


This type of air conditioning system essentially sets your space’s atmosphere at a constant temperature as opposed to the traditional systems that have a tendency of going on and off throughout the day. The Beauty of such a system is that even during the colder months, it still affords you excellent service by reversing its mechanisms to supply your space with warmer air from outside your space. What an invention this is!


Advantages of using a split system air conditioner:


  • Simple installation process due to minimal ducting systems involved.
  • Lower labor costs associated with minimal duct installation.
  • Easy to operate and maintain as some systems come with a remote control systems.
  • Easy to service the indoor and outdoor units separately.
  • Highly energy efficient and economical to use as it can also be subsidized by solar power.

Disadvantages of using a split system air conditioner:


  • The system requires professional installation, which is an additional cost.
  • The initial acquisition costs tend to be high due to the two separate units packaged as one.

Split system air conditioner versus Central air conditioners


  1. The split system air conditioner is relatively pricier than the central air conditioning systems, being an enhanced version.
  2. The split system air conditioners require minimal to nil maintenance as opposed to the central air conditioning systems that may require regular checkups and/or constant upgrades, effectively making them costlier in the end.            


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