What Is a Packaged Air Conditioner in HVAC?

Split air conditioners are not efficient to use if you need to constantly cool all the rooms of your house. On the other side, a central system will require a lot of space, which can be an issue for small houses. If this is the case for you, you can consider installing a packaged air conditioner as an alternative.

An Overview of the Technology

A packaged air conditioner is a cooling system that has all the components covered inside one unit. Similar to a central system, the package system also connects to ductwork to distribute the chilled air to every room in the property. Just like any other air conditioning system, the components inside the packaged unit include a blower fan, an evaporator, a condenser, a compressor, and air handlers.

With all the parts packed in one unit like a window AC unit, this type of technology is more compact and space-saving. Some units can also be energy-efficient, depending on the SEER rating of each model. A packaged air conditioner unit is located outside the house, usually on the rooftop, making it more convenient for smaller houses. However, this also means that the unit will be more prone to weather damage and pest attacks. Hence, the expected lifespan is generally shorter than for central systems.

How Does the System Work?

A packaged air conditioner system is similar to any other air cooling system. The air that comes into the machine flows through the evaporator coils. Refrigerant agents absorb the excess heat, so the air turns cold. While the cold air flows back to the room, the refrigerant carries the heat to the condenser unit to release it to the open air outside the house. After finishing its job, the refrigerant turns back to the evaporator to repeat the cycle.

Air distribution happens through the ductwork that synchronizes all over your house. The warm unconditioned air gets sucked through the return register, while the chilled air enters the room through the supply inlet.

Heating Capability

Although a regular packaged air conditioner offers just a cooling system, this type of air conditioner system can also warm up the indoor air to some extent by adding heating strips to the installation. With electrical power, these strips will heat up. As the air passes through them, the temperature will rise as well. Hence, the air will be warm when it flows back to the room.

Even so, this kind of heating system is not very effective in freezing temperatures because heat strips are limited in how much heat they can generate. Thus, the system may not be sufficient for winter, depending on the climate where you live. A packaged AC unit with heat strips is more suitable for places with warmer climates.

There are a variety of packaged air conditioners with different benefits and different types of systems. They also have various capabilities to accommodate different house sizes. Have your home measured and buy the unit that will meet your home’s needs.

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