What is a Package Air Conditioner?

When it comes to central heating and air conditioning, there are a lot of choices on the market. One of the most basic is whether you should go with a split system or package unit. In a split system the condenser is outside and the air handler is inside. But what about with a package air conditioner? How does that work?

How a Package Air Conditioner Works

The basic reason we call a package air conditioner a package air conditioner is because all the necessary components are housed in a single cabinet. Everything you need in one convenient and easy to install package, so to speak. A package system can deliver a lot of benefits to homeowners. In order to install a split system you need space inside to accommodate the air handler. If you don't have that, a package unit is the solution.

Package units are also very easy to service, comparatively speaking. All the really important components the service technician will need to work on are in the same place. There is no need to go traipsing up and down stairs, crawling around under a house, or sweating off the pounds in a hot attic. Which means the tech can get to the bottom of the problem faster and easier. Hours the tech doesn't spend working on your unit is hours you don't have to pay.

Simple Installation

The big reason many professionals love package air conditioners is due to the easy installation. Particularly on unit replacement, package systems are ridiculously simple. All you have to do is:

  1. Take away the old unit.
  2. Put the new package unit where the old one was.
  3. Connect the air ducts.
  4. Wire the unit.
  5. Leave and go get a hot dog or something.

Seriously, that's it.

More Package Questions?

Still have questions about the glorious wonders of package air conditioners? Just ask in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

8 comments (view/add)
  • Seth
    Posted on 4/11/2021

    Can I get a package a/v unit with a heart strip

  • Dan Danowski
    Dan Danowski from Ingrams
    Posted on 4/12/2021

    Yes. Most package units can accommodate a heat strip.

  • Hameed
    Posted on 9/15/2020

    When packages units is simple to install, why companies charged so much for installation.

  • Dan Danowski
    Dan Danowski from Ingrams
    Posted on 9/15/2020

    They probably have a standard labor rate based on installing more complicated equipment, and that just gets used when they put in a package unit.

  • Lawrence Bertoldi
    Lawrence Bertoldi
    Posted on 4/24/2020

    How about replacing an existing forced air split system... for AC and Heating... in northern states
    Is there a guide? And can the existing duct work be used..?

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 4/24/2020

    When replacing an existing central split system with a packaged unit, you should be able to use a significant amount of the existing ductwork. Some modifications would be have to be made to account for the new supply and return. We do not have a guide for that sort of work.

  • Jimmie Stafford
    Jimmie Stafford
    Posted on 1/5/2019

    My condenser is inside the house. Is it that easy to install, just hook up the electric and the lines.
    Will the system need to be charged with freeon

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 1/7/2019

    In a split system, the condenser is outside and the air handler is inside. A package unit has both the condenser and the air handler inside a single cabinet outside the house. Package units typically come precharged, and there is usually no reason to mess with the refrigerant lines at all, since everything is already enclosed. That makes package units much easier to install than split systems that do require charging and connecting line sets.

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