A split system air conditioner consists of two main parts: the outdoor unit and the indoor unit. The outdoor unit is installed on or near the wall outside of the room or space that you wish to cool. The unit houses the compressor, condenser coil and the expansion coil or capillary tubing. The sleek-looking indoor unit contains the cooling coil, a long blower and an air filter.
This kind of air conditioner system has many advantages over traditional air conditioners. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is the quiet performance of a split air conditioner system. The parts of an air conditioner that make the most noise are the compressor and the fan that cools the condenser. In a split system, the compressor and fan for the condenser are located outside of the building being cooled and therefore the major sources of noise are removed.
Central air conditioning systems have become more sophisticated and more efficient in the last few years. The new 13 SEER regulation does, however, create challenges for some home owners. The system itself is physically much larger than older systems. Since the condenser sits outside, increased size does not matter here, but the evaporator is also much larger on the new systems. If you are replacing an older system, the new evaporator may not fit into the old air handler, or even into the space it once occupied. The ducting can be modified to fit the new evaporator, but in some cases the entire air handler (or furnace) may have to be replaced. Other work-arounds also exist, but they are beyond the scope this discussion.