Split systems vs evaporative cooling systems

Air Conditioning FAQs

What is a split air conditioner?

The term, split air conditioner refers to the way the unit is set up. A split air conditioner has two individual units – a condensing unit and an evaporative coil. These two units are combined by a “line-set,” – a set of copper tubing which shifts refrigerant from one unit to the other.

How it works

The split air conditioner has an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. This enables it to keep the cool air indoors, and the hot air outdoors.

  • Gas, (which is a refrigerant) is fed into the compressor. It is here where it is pressurised.
  • The pressurised gas travels through multiple tubes, which work to reduce it into liquid form. Liquid moves through the condenser tubes until they reach an expansion point.
  • The pressurised liquid moves through and is generated into a gas. The pressure then reduces.
  • The gas also releases a large amount of heat and cools down.
  • The process is repeated.
  • The air circulates through the AC until a set temperature is reached (the thermostat will set this).

Split air conditioners are a good choice for you if you need to cool single or multiple rooms, but not an entire house.

Split system air conditioner pros

  • They can be placed in many locations, such as attics or garages. The two individual units are simple to maintain and the compressor can be stored in the roof of a house.
  • They are cheaper and easier to maintain than a central air conditioning unit.
  • They are easy to maintain. Their washable filters can also easily be taken out and put back into place. The outdoor condenser is designed for easy cleaning.
  • Split air conditioning is more aesthetic than central air conditioning units. Split systems are usually placed out of sight. Their design will work well with modern houses.
  • Split systems are exceptionally quiet, as only one part of the two units is located inside the house. The other unit is outdoors.
  • Split systems are energy efficient.
  • A licensed professional can often complete the installation in a day.

 Split system air conditioner cons

  • Often, split air conditioners are placed in areas that are difficult to access.
  • The unit is best suited for cooling or heating only one room. They are not as effective in large spaces. Consider a different system if you need to cool down an entire home.
  • Pricing is initially more expensive; however there are long-term benefits. You will save more on on maintenance and energy bills than you would if you opted for a traditional air conditioning system.
  • A split system must be installed by a professional, for two reasons, the first being safety. Do not attempt to install a split system yourself. If installed by a professional, it validates your warranty. It’s not worth attempting to install it yourself to save money. You may just cause more problems for yourself in the long run.
  • There may be a wait for a licensed professional to become available.
  • Split systems are not recommended if you live in a tall building or an apartment. The two units must be placed within 30 metres of one another, which is the recommended maximum distance.

Now that you’ve read about the versatility of the split system, here’s a look at the evaporative cooling system. You may find the evaporative cooling system is a better fit for your living situation.

What is an evaporative cooling system? 

Traditionally called ‘swamp coolers’ because of their high levels of moisture, evaporative cooling systems pull in dry, hot air and pass through a moistened pad, which absorbs heat. The pad then evaporates. The temperature in the air is then lowered.

Pros of evaporative cooling systems

  • Evaporative coolers emit smaller amounts of carbon dioxide and use a small amount of energy, compared to traditional AC units. Evaporative cooling systems use approximately 10% less energy than traditional cooling units. Lower levels of greenhouse gases are emitted.
  • Wet filter pads filter air and distribute cool air, which effectively traps pollen and dust particles, which is good for people with allergies.
  • They are low maintenance.

Cons of evaporative cooling systems

  • They are not great in humid weather.
  • Security might be a concern, as they work best when doors and windows are left open.
  • You won’t have as much control over the temperature as you would with a split system air conditioner.
  • They require a constant water source in order to run efficiently.
  • Cleaning must be done regularly otherwise mould and bacteria might arise in the wet pads or nozzles.
  • Although you won’t be able to hear the noise from the unit, you have to consider where you place it outdoors, as it may irritate your neighbours.


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