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  3. What are the parts in a split system air conditioner?

What are the parts in a split system air conditioner?

Split system air conditioners, as the name implies, are split into two units, one located outside of the building and one in the room you wish to cool or heat. Over the years the design of both units has been streamlined providing an unobtrusive compact climate control appliance which can be used in a huge variety of applications.

The split design also keeps the noisy part of the air con outside which is ideal in most situations but especially when used in sleeping areas or spaces where minimum sound levels are a priority.

Indoor aircon unit 

The indoor unit can be wall-mounted, floor-standing, cassette, or ceiling mounted depending on your building design, size, and climate control needs.

This section of the appliance contains the air filters, air return, fan, condensation drain, evaporator coil, and expansion valve.

The air filters clean the air as it moves through the indoor unit preventing evaporator coils from getting dirty and filtering dust and allergens from the air (the extent of filtration differs with each model consult your owner manual for details).

Features of the indoor unit:

  • Quiet operation
  • Variety of design options - although the wall-mounted, white rectangle is the most common style some brands offer unique colours and styles.
  • Flexible fitting - different models can be located on the wall, ceiling, or floor.
Split System Indoor Unit - MHIAA


Outdoor condenser unit

The outdoor unit contains the compressor, condenser, and cooling fan. As we mentioned above most of the noise as well as the waste heat produced to cool the air for your home or building is dealt with in this part of the split system air conditioner.

Features of the outdoor unit:

  • Allows easy access for repairs and servicing
  • Noise and excess heat outside
  • Flexible installation options - can be located on a balcony, attached to an external wall via a bracket, or on the roof.
  • Requires sufficient airflow or space around to allow the waste heat to escape and prevent overheating.
  • Waterproof and weatherproof - although routine cleaning to remove dust and built-up debris is essential to ensure the efficiency of the unit and to allow heat to escape effectively.
Split System Air Conditioner Outdoor Unit - MHIAA


Outdoor and indoor units are connected via copper tubing which moves the refrigerant from one to the other. Only a small hole or access is needed to connect the two sections.

How a split system air conditioner works

The compressor is responsible for circulating the refrigerant and compressing it before it is transferred to the condenser.

The condenser is made up of coiled copper tubing which cools the refrigerant as it passes through the coils by blowing cool air generated by the fan. The refrigerant liquefies in the condenser as it cools and is moved to the expansion valve.

As the high-pressure warm refrigerant passes from the condenser to the low-pressure side of the expansion valve it causes it to drop in pressure further, returning to a gas state and releasing the last of the heat.

The cooled gas passes to the evaporator coil across which the warm air from the room is blown, the cooled air is then distributed throughout the room by the indoor unit fan.

The refrigerant, warmed from absorbing the heat from the air, is transferred back to the compressor beginning the process again.

Multi-split system units

A multi-split system air conditioner offers several indoor units operating from a single outdoor unit.

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