What is a split system air conditioner?

For most of us, shopping for a new air conditioner can be confusing and overwhelming, and something we usually hand over to the professionals. However, making uninformed decisions could lead to you overspending on a unit that doesn't even do what you want it to!

If you don't already know, a split system air conditioner is one of the most cost-effective and energy-friendly ways that you can keep your home at the perfect temperature year-round. A split system conditioner is discreet, easily installed, and low-maintenance once you have it up and running.

If you want to know more about split system air conditioners and how they work, then keep reading this guide!

What is a split system air conditioner?

A split system conditioner is comprised of two main components: one outdoor unit and one inside unit. The outdoor unit is placed outside, near the room that you want cooling, and contains a compressor, condenser coil, and capillary tubing or an expansion coil. The indoor unit is what contains the cooling coil, air filter, and a long blower.

What makes a split air conditioner different from a ducted system is that refrigerant is moved through pipes rather than ducts to produce hot or cool air.

How does a split system air conditioner work?

Split system air conditioning works by feeding refrigerant gas into an outdoor compressor in order to condense it into liquid form, move it through condenser tubes, and back into a compressor. During this process, the gas will heat up and cool down in a cycle.

The indoor unit and outdoor unit are connected by electric cables and copper pipes: this is how the refrigerant flows to different components in the units, such as the compressor, fan, and inverter.

Air is taken from a room and cooled down using the indoor unit, then pushed back into the room through vents, where it can be regulated using a remote control. Most remote controls have a function that allows power to be turned off automatically, as well as various modes and timers.

Outdoor units tend to be the more unsightly and noisy part of the system, whilst the indoor unit is much more portable and quiet, so it can be mounted on a wall or window without being too noticeable.

How to choose the right air conditioning system

There are many different types of split air conditioning out there, and it is vital that you get one that suits your personal preferences and your space.

We recommend getting the opinion of a professional when it comes to figuring out the size of the air conditioner you need. If you want to do this yourself, then you should measure every room that will make use of the split air conditioner and make a decision based on this.

If you buy air conditioning that is too heavy-duty or large for your location, you will end up with high maintenance costs and utility bills for no reason. As well as this, a larger air conditioner unit will not necessarily heat up or cool down your space any better than a smaller choice could have.

Another thing you need to know before making a decision is how energy efficient each air conditioner unit is. Choosing one with a high energy efficiency rating will save you money on bills and make sure that you are doing your bit for the planet.

What is the difference between a split system and other air conditioners?

When browsing split systems, you will come across standard split system air conditioning and reverse cycle split system air conditioning. The difference is that a reverse cycle air conditioner provides heating and cooling to a room, whereas a standard air conditioner will only blow cool air. However, a split system can provide a reverse cycle, you just have to make clear that this is a priority whilst searching.

The other common type of air conditioner is a ducted unit. This differs from split systems because it does not require indoor and outdoor units, only indoor. Air is regulated in a single central unit and moved along ducts rather than pipes, to maintain a stable temperature across a large space.

Benefits of having a split system air conditioner

Minimal noise

A split system air conditioner is ideal for those who do not want to be disturbed by A/C noise. The noisiest parts of any air conditioner are the compressor and the fan, both of which are located in the outdoor unit of a split system.

In other air conditioners, such as a window unit, even the most disruptive components are located indoors, meaning they are not only irritating but very noticeable.

Multi-split system

A multi-split system air conditioner can be installed as an add-on to your unit, making it possible to regulate the heating/cooling of each individual room, a luxury that other air conditioners do not have. Every different space in a house would hav\ze its own control, meaning different parts of a building would be different temperatures.


Once your desired temperature has been reached in a room, the split system air conditioner will turn itself off until needed again. This will do wonders for not only your electricity bills but your carbon footprint as well, thanks to its energy efficiency.

Split systems that are designed and manufactured by trusted brands will also last you a lifetime, meaning you are doing your bit for the planet by reducing your waste and investing in appliances with longevity.


Although the initial cost of a split air conditioner is substantial, the costs balance themselves out and most people see the spend as an investment.

What's more, split systems tend to be cheaper than ducted air conditioners when it comes to air conditioning installation. This is because if your home does not already have ductwork it can be a lengthy and costly process.

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