One of the installations that we offer to our customers is a packaged unit for indoor comfort. This is a type of heat pump or air conditioner that’s completely housed outside of a building, rather than half inside and half outside. Packaged units are the most common way for commercial buildings to enjoy central heating and cooling. (Those units you see on the top of commercial buildings? Those are packaged units.) But they sometimes have use for homes as well, such as smaller homes that don’t have room to house an indoor component for a heat pump or air conditioner.
People are often confused about what makes a packaged unit different from a split system, aside from the way the unit is laid out. We’ll take a closer look at the operation of packaged units.
The truth is that a packaged heat pump or AC isn’t that much different from a split system heat pump or AC. The way they heat/cool works on the same principal and using identical components. A compressor places refrigerant under high pressure that makes it circulate between two sets of coils. In one coil, the refrigerant goes through condensation, releasing the refrigerant’s heat and cooling it down. In the other coil, the refrigerant goes through evaporation and absorbs heat. Fans help move air across the coil for the evaporation and condensation, and a blower fan is responsible for sending the conditioned air into the ventilation system.
The only real difference for a packaged unit is that all this takes place within a single cabinet outside. Both coils are located here. Air from the house travels out to the cabinet from a duct, where it passes through the two coils—gaining and losing heat—and a blower fan then sends the conditioned air back into the house through a supply vent. It’s all in the layout; the action is otherwise the same.