Air conditioning and split system - what is the difference? Differences and selection criteria for climate technology

Alexey Dedyulin
Checked by a specialist: Alexey Dedyulin
Author: Maxim Fomin
Last update: May 2019

Choosing equipment to ensure a comfortable microclimate in the room, you can inexperience get lost among a huge variety of models. Such climatic equipment differs in capabilities, technical characteristics and internal design.

The most common options are monoblock air conditioning and split systems - what is the difference between them, which unit is better to use? We will examine in detail the features of these electrical appliances and the nuances of their choice.

Existing air conditioning

To create the most comfortable living and working conditions for a person, it is necessary to install various climatic equipment in the premises.

Most often, this is a conventional air conditioner - a device designed to maintain humidity and air temperature in the room at optimal values ​​for people.

A variety of modern air conditioners
Modern air conditioners are not only effective, but also have a presentable appearance. The bulky and noisy blocks built into the window are a thing of the past

Gradually, such a technique turns from an optional luxury item into an ordinary household appliance, which is available in many homes. And an office without such air conditioning equipment is hard to imagine today. Everyone wants to work and live in the most comfortable conditions.

A simple air conditioner with a minimum set of functions of about 10-25 thousand rubles is worth a reasonable price. For this money, the buyer receives a device that can not only cool, drain and clean, but, under certain conditions, slightly heat the room air.

General principle of work

In many ways, air conditioning resembles a refrigerator. In both cases, there is a refrigerant circulating in a closed circle - usually freon. Moreover, it constantly evaporates in one place of the system, and condenses in another.

During evaporation, Freon absorbs, and during condensation it gives off heat. Pure physics, no mystery. As a result of these transformations, thermal energy is taken on one heat exchanger and it is released on the other. Scientific - vapor compression refrigeration cycle.

Air conditioner noise
The two most noisy elements of an air conditioner are an air fan for air circulation and a compressor for pumping and compressing freon

All climate technology refers to volatile equipment. Without power, these devices cannot function.

If the room is left without electricity due to an accident on the networks, then the considered devices for maintaining a comfortable microclimate immediately cease to work. When choosing equipment, you should not forget about this moment. If there are problems with the power supply, then you should take care of household uninterruptible.

Types of climatic equipment

Any air conditioner inside has two working units - the first serves to collect heat, and the second to return it. Between themselves they are connected by pipes with a refrigerant. At the same time, in some air conditioning systems all these elements are combined in a single apparatus, while in others they are separated into a pair of separate modules.

The entire range of air conditioners is divided into three groups:

The devices of the first group are a classic all-in-one air conditioner. Devices from the second are divided into two blocks - internal for installation in the room and external for the street.

The use of multi-split systems
Multi split systems are a separate type of split systems and have several modules outside and / or indoors. They are usually used in office, industrial and public buildings.

Monoblock conditioners are subdivided into mobile models and window devices. Some are installed on the floor and, if necessary, can be rearranged from place to place, while others are mounted in the window opening.

Split system The word split means separation. In fact, it is a split air conditioner.

The outdoor unit that gives off heat on the street comprises a high-pressure freon preparation device and an external heat exchanger-condenser. And the module inside the room has an air filter, a heat exchanger-evaporator, a fan and a drainage pump with a condensate tray.

Split system indoor units are:

  • ceiling / duct;
  • wall mounted;
  • floor / columned.

From the wall-mounted version, the cooled air is blown by a fan onto the wall opposite, and from the ceiling it diverges along the ceiling to the sides and from top to bottom. The columnar model blows air currents up into the ceiling, from which they are already leaving the room.

Freon movement in the system
The main feature of all monoblock devices and split systems is that there is no air movement between the working blocks, only refrigerant (+) circulates inside this equipment

The main difference between a split system and a monoblock air conditioner is the separation of the air conditioning device into two blocks. In the split, the most noisy elements are taken out to the street so as not to interfere with their buzzing while working indoors.

Unlike evaporator coolers

In addition to the classic refrigerant air conditioners, there is another kind of climatic equipment with similar functionality - water evaporators. There is no freon in these devices, it is not necessary.

Cooler Evaporator
Cooling type air conditioners operate due to the evaporation of water, during which the generated steam and the space directly around it are cooled (+)

Domestic evaporator coolers are more compact and consume less energy than freon counterparts. However, the water evaporating in them inevitably enters the cooled room, increasing room humidity.

As a result, during the long-term operation of such a cooler, the interior decoration and furniture in the room begin to deteriorate.

Unlike freon split systems and air conditioners, the evaporator is not able to heat and dry the air - the cooler, on the contrary, only constantly moisturizes it. Plus, such a device is constantly required to add water.

In a dry region or for short-term operation, this option is acceptable, but often, it will be more practical to take a device with a refrigerant and more functionality.

Criteria for choosing climate technology

Only with a clear understanding of the needs, the choice of climate technology will turn out optimal in terms of money and functionality.

Therefore, choosing an air conditioner, you should consider it:

  • performance / power;
  • requirements for operating conditions and functionality;
  • noise level;
  • the cost of a particular model;
  • installation price.

Also, do not forget about the built-in ionizers and additional air filters. Often they are not needed, but they give a considerable margin.

Variety of household air conditioners
It should immediately determine what is required in the end. The range of air conditioners is huge, so you can find an option for any needs, you just need to clearly state them yourself

If you only need to cool the air and the room is small, it is best to purchase a simple cooler. Unlike an air conditioner, it is not so noisy and cheaper. But in other cases, you have to choose between a two-block split system and a window or floor-mounted candy bar.

Factor # 1 - noise and power

The most important criterion for choosing a model of HVAC equipment is the level of noise emitted by this technique during operation. If the selected equipment makes a lot of noise, it will cause discomfort.

And here it doesn’t matter how well the air is cooled. The rustle of a fan is one thing, and the hum of a running compressor is completely different.

If the noise in the room needs to be reduced to a minimum, then the split system should be taken exclusively. An ordinary monoblock air conditioner, by this criterion, loses to it quite strongly in this matter.

Window air conditioning is very noisy
Noisiness is the main disadvantage of monoblock air conditioners. All working units in this case are in the room and during operation create a background that puts pressure on the ears

A working split system produces sound at a level of 45–55 dB. The noise of a mobile air conditioner is 50-60 dB. And its window analogue will give out even more, plus the rattling of glasses in the window will be added.

The difference in decibels at first glance is small. However, the constant hum can drive you crazy. The less noise an air conditioning technician makes, the better. This is especially true when small children or air conditioning are placed in the office in the house. There is a clear advantage behind the split system.

In terms of performance, the all-in-one also loses to a two-block system. The more powerful the equipment, the larger and heavier it is. In split, a more efficient compressor in the outdoor unit is not a problem. He is simply not visible outside the window. How big and noisy it is is not so important for most buyers.

Monoblock in this regard has serious limitations. To insert a powerful compressor into it means to fill the room with noise and make the device huge in size. This option becomes unsuitable for installation in the window and loses its mobility with the floor.

The floor-mounted candy bar looks great in the interior, and when unnecessary, it can be easily cleaned in a closet, utility room or away into the corner. However, he can’t cope with the cooling of a large room.

Mobile floor air conditioners
Compact mobile air conditioners are designed for air cooling in rooms with a square of 10–35 sq.m, and household split-systems are designed for rooms up to 80 sq.m

Even if you turn it on at full power, then with strong heat outside the window, he is not always able to fulfill his mission. Plus, under such operating conditions, the device quickly overheats and can burn out. It is better to rely on the split system.

To simplify calculate required power equipment (Q), it is necessary to add:

  • Q1 - represents the sum of the heat influx emanating from the windows, walls and ceiling of the room;
  • Q2 - heat generated by people who are in the room;
  • Q3 - the amount of thermal energy emitted by household appliances.

Each person in the room emits about 100-150 watts of heat. Q2 easy to calculate. To calculate Q1 you need to multiply 30–45 watts per cubic meter of the room. Plus, 0.3 times the nominal power of computers, televisions, lighting devices and all other household appliances added.

To the resulting total amount are still added 10-15% in reserve. And you can go choose an air conditioner. If under the calculated data there is a model of a mobile air conditioner, then you can purchase it.

But often the required power is quite high. Then, to cover it - remove excess heat from a particular room, you have to take a split system.

Factor # 2 - the cost of equipment and installation

In terms of the price of equipment, household air conditioners do not differ much from split systems of similar power, but the higher the performance, the greater the difference. The first option in the mobile version at 1.5–2.5 kW costs about 10–15% cheaper than the second with similar kilowatts.

Installation of a split system
The cost of installing a household split system is estimated from 30 to 50% of the price of the purchased equipment. Owners of apartments and private houses are often unknowingly missed these costs when choosing equipment to condition their homes.

The difference is insignificant, but here we must also add the cost of installation work. Floor monoblock for work is simple enough to put in a room and plug into the network.

A split system must first be mounted indoors and outdoors, and then still connect the street and indoor parts together. As a result, the total costs of arranging the system go far from the same.

If split installation offer to make cheap - less than a third of the cost of the device, you should be extremely careful. Saving in this matter is impossible. The connection of the external and internal blocks is made by copper tubes through which freon circulates.

If the air conditioner breaks, you will have to call the master
If the quality of the brazing of copper is poor, the refrigerant will start to leak out of the system, and literally in a couple of months you will have to call the installers again to top it up and to seal the leak

Also, the installation price is strongly influenced by the need to attract special equipment for work at heights. If the split system is mounted in an apartment on the upper floors of a tall house, you may need to call a lift or invite an industrial climber. And this is always an additional cost.

Factor # 3 - convenience and reliability

In terms of service life, much depends on air conditioner manufacturer and the quality of its installation. The street unit of the split system has to endure the effects of various precipitation, wind and sudden changes in air temperature during the year.

A monoblock is in the room and is spared from all this. It seems that the second option should serve deliberately longer than the first.

However, the split system is initially designed taking into account climatic factors. Only there is a very important point in it - this is the quality of the soldering of copper pipes with freon.

If the blocks are connected by a professional, then such a system often outperforms a monoblock air conditioner in terms of reliability and durability. But with unqualified installation, everything is exactly the opposite.

Floor air conditioning in the interior
The main disadvantage of a mobile air conditioner-monoblock is the need to somehow put a corrugated pipe with heated air blown from the heat exchanger out of the window or door, this installation does not always look aesthetically pleasing

Monoblock is sold pre-assembled at the factory. He will surely serve his warranty period. It is necessary to make some efforts to disable it. It is only necessary to correctly calculate the power of the equipment and then not to kick it accidentally.

According to the available functions, split-systems and monoblock air conditioners practically do not differ with comparable indicators of power and price. Their cost is affected more by the brand of the manufacturer, as well as the presence of additional ionizers, filters and air dryers. There is no clear leader here. It is necessary to compare specific models.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

From the video you can find out about the principles of operation of air conditioners:

What air conditioning equipment to choose in the house:

The difference between the inverter version of the air conditioner and the usual one:

In the vast majority of cases, it is recommended to choose a split system in an apartment or cottage. The floor-mounted mobile air conditioner in the form of a monoblock is more suitable for offices and retail outlets where it will not spoil the interior with its appearance.

However, if you need the cheapest low-power model, for example, for inclusion in the country, in the garage or utility room, then the monoblock version will be the perfect choice.

Share with your readers your experience using a domestic air conditioner or split system. Tell us what the choice of the unit was based on, and whether you are satisfied with the purchase. Please leave comments on the article, ask questions and participate in discussions. The contact form is located below.

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Visitors Comments
  1. At one time I wanted to buy a mobile air conditioner. I thought it was like a suitcase on wheels, drag it behind you from room to room, and for the winter hid it in a closet and forgot it.

    Yeah, how so! Mobility is doubtful - he also needs a conclusion to the street, to insert a thick pipe into the window. Then, the collection of condensate in some kind of capacity, and in general, the prices for this type of air conditioners are abnormal. I bought a regular one and calmed down on that.

    • Ruslan

      Its mobility lies in the fact that any layman can dismantle it and take it, for example, to a country house or other apartment. And use there.

    • Expert
      Alexey Dedyulin

      Good afternoon, Egor. The American company Mobile Comfort "heard" criticism of mobile air conditioners by citizens. Today, there is a prototype of RoCo, without a pipe. Serial production will be launched in the year 2021.

      Let me explain how RoKo works - there is a radiator tank filled with liquid, which, when frozen, turns into an analog of ice. True, it has a heat capacity that is several times greater than water. The room air pumped through the radiator is cooled, and the “ice” melts in 8 hours. “Charges” the air conditioner in a couple of hours. The air conditioner constantly monitors the location of the owner, directing an air stream at him.

      Attached photos:
  2. Ekaterina

    I never thought that the air conditioner installed in our office is not an air conditioner at all, but a split system. When they ordered it, we were not focused on this moment. And for a simple layman, technical nuances are not so important. Rather, professionals need to know. And it is important for the client that the equipment work properly.