Split Air Conditioning or Portable Air Conditioner: How to Pick

Split Air Conditioning or Portable Air Conditioner: How to Pick

Split and portable air conditioners are very popular appliances used to cool a space. Here’s how to select the right one for the application.

First, consider the space. Often the space being cooled is a living space such as a home or office, but not always so. Is it an existing home with just one or two rooms to be cooled? Or is it an office building under construction for example? These are two very different air conditioning applications where a different system would be selected for each.

For the first case, an existing home with one or two rooms to cool, a portable air conditioner would generally be preferred over split air conditioning. The primary reason for selecting portable or window air conditioners for this application is the ease of installation. If a split air conditioning system were selected for an existing home, the installation of the required forced air duct work would often require tearing out of walls and ceilings to install the supply and return vents.

Ductless air conditioners are another option for an existing construction home or office. These units do not require installation of duct work, but are not portable and generally do require professional installation. Portable air conditioners and window units the homeowner or renter can normally install on his or her own.

For a new home or office being constructed, split air conditioning is often utilized. The split air conditioning system gets its name because the unit is in two separate and distinct units. The first unit is the outdoor unit and contains the refrigerant compressor and condenser. The second unit is the indoor unit and contains the evaporator. The evaporator flashes the liquid refrigerant coming from the outdoor unit and uses it to absorb heat from the space being cooled.

In most climates, a split air conditioner would be part of a central heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The heat portion might run on natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, electric or other fuel. In some cases, the heating operation might be accomplished via reverse cycling the air conditioner so that it extracts heat from outside the space and rejects it into the space.

Any type of air conditioning may break down, but the good news is the parts required to fix them are usually not expensive and easily available. To check if the unit you are thinking of purchasing has obtainable spares, check out this site.

In conclusion, split and portable AC systems are used in distinct applications. Portable units are best for existing construction and temporary use, such as when renting a room or apartment that does not already have air conditioning. Split units are preferred for new construction where the required ductwork can be installed prior to finishing off the walls and ceiling. The ductwork is typically fabricated on the job site out of thin gauge sheet metal.