A split air conditioner (AC) and a window AC have distinct differences. In some residential settings, the householder may have only the option of using a window AC because of the design of a split AC and the space requirements of the split type of AC. In other circumstances, the householder may have the option of choosing between a split AC and a window AC; in that instance, the householder should understand the differences between them and the advantages and disadvantages arising from those differences.
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Window AC: One Unit
The term “window AC” describes a type of AC in which a single unit contains all the components of the air conditioning unit; it is installed in a window of the residence. In window ACs, a single unit contains compressors, motors, connecting pipes and heat exchangers, and the entire air conditioning unit rests on a single base.
Split AC: Two Units
A split type AC incorporates two units: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. Copper tubing provides the connection between the indoor and outdoor unit. In contrast to window ACs, properly classified as air conditioning units, split ACs more properly fall into the category of air conditioning systems. The split type AC system requires installation of a mounting stand for the outdoor compressor unit of the system. One characteristic of a split type of AC system is that a single outdoor unit can support multiple indoor air conditioning units.
Noise, Cost, Installation and Service
The primary considerations in making a decision between the two types of AC systems involve noise level, installation cost, ease of installation and ease of service because effectiveness and operating costs between the two types are comparable. Split AC systems compare favorably to window AC units in terms of lower noise levels, a circumstance that results because the compressor unit responsible for the operating sounds of an AC is positioned outside of the residence. Window AC units, however, compare favorably with split AC systems on all three of the other factors–installation cost, ease of installation and ease of service. Another significant consideration is that the residence must have sufficient available outdoor space for mounting the outdoor compressor unit of the split AC system; absence of such available space rules out the use of a split AC system.