Different Types of Central Air Conditioners: Explained

If your wish is to have a central heating and cooling system in your home, it can be confusing to choose the right type of system for your needs. By doing some research and understanding the different types of systems available, you’ll be prepared to make the best decision for your home and budget.

Different Types of Central Air Conditioners: Explained

This guide will help you understand the different types of central air conditioners, from split systems to ductless mini-splits and heat pumps. Learn more about how each system works and explore which one is best suited for your home.

Split Systems

If you have a central furnace in your home, a split system may be the cheapest option to provide cooling. It consists of two separate components: an outdoor condensing unit and an indoor evaporator coil. The refrigerant line connects the two components, circulating cool air throughout your home’s ductwork. Split systems have become the most common type of air conditioner due to their efficiency, affordability, and ease of installation.

Ductless Mini-Split Systems

A ductless mini-split system is a great option if you have an older home that doesn’t have existing ductwork or if you want to cool select rooms in your home. It also has two components: an outdoor condensing unit and an indoor wall-mounted unit. The wall-mounted unit circulates cool air into the room you wish to cool. This system is energy efficient, quieter than traditional central air conditioners, and can save money on energy bills in the long run.

Packaged Central Air Conditioners

A packaged system is a great choice for small homes and apartments. It combines the condensing unit, evaporator coil, and compressor into one system that is located outside of your home. It can be placed on a concrete slab near your property or on the roof. This system is easy to install, efficient, and relatively quiet compared to some other types of central air conditioning systems. It operates by pulling air from the inside of your home, cooling it, and then sending the cooled air back into your living space.

Heat Pumps

If you desire a single system that will provide heating and cooling, then a heat pump might be the right option for you. It uses an electric motor to move energy between your indoor air and the outside environment. In the summer, it pulls hot air from inside your home and sends cool air back into your home. During the winter months, it reverses this process by pulling warm air into your home and sending cold air back outside. Heat pumps are energy efficient, cost-effective, and require minimal maintenance. They are also split systems and are attractive to those who care about the environment.

Factors to Consider

When choosing a central air conditioner, make sure to consider your budget, space constraints, and energy efficiency. Also, factor in the size of your home when selecting the best system for you. For instance, an oversized unit will cool quickly but won’t remove humidity as effectively as a correctly-sized unit would. 

Additionally, you should look at the SEER rating of the system you’re considering. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit is and the lower your energy bills will be. SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, and it measures the amount of cooling your air conditioner can provide for each watt of electricity it uses. Some states in the country have imposed laws that require you to purchase an AC with a minimum SEER rating of 14. 

Another language you may come across while shopping for an AC is tonnage. AC tonnage means the amount of heat required to melt one ton of ice within 24 hours. The higher the tonnage number, the more powerful and effective the system is at cooling. The right tonnage for your home will depend on your heating and cooling requirements, the size of your home, and the number of AC zones available.


Choosing the right central air conditioning system for your home can be daunting with so many options to consider. Being aware of the different types of systems, how they work, and what factors to consider when choosing one will help make the process easier. 

Understanding the different types of central air conditioners can help you decide which is best for your needs. Split systems are great for homes with an existing furnace, ductless mini-splits provide efficient cooling in select rooms, and packaged central air conditioners are ideal for small spaces. On the other hand, heat pumps provide both heating and cooling, keeping you comfortable all year round.

Ultimately, it’s best to do research on all available options before making a decision on which type of central air conditioner is best for your home. No matter which types you opt for, be sure to hire a professional HVAC technician to install your system correctly. Doing this will ensure that your unit runs efficiently and effectively for years to come.

Contact Baylor For Your Home Assessment

No matter what type of central air conditioner you choose for your property, it’s important to get the right size unit. Consulting an HVAC professional is the best way to determine which system will work best for your home. Baylor Heating & Air Conditioning has been providing quality service and installation for over 50 years. Contact us today at 812.425.8435 to schedule a free in-home evaluation and get started on creating a comfortable home environment.

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