The Ultimate Guide to HVAC Split Units

by | Mar 19, 2024 | HVAC

HVAC split units are a popular choice for homeowners looking for efficient heating and cooling solutions. These systems consist of indoor and outdoor units that work together to provide comfortable temperatures throughout the year.

This guide will explore the features, types, benefits, installation process, and maintenance of HVAC split units.

Understanding HVAC Split Units

An HVAC split unit, also known as a split system, consists of two main components: the indoor and outdoor units. The indoor unit contains the evaporator coil and the air handler, while the outdoor unit houses the compressor and condenser. Copper tubing connects these units, allowing the refrigerant to flow between them.

The indoor unit circulates the conditioned air throughout the house. It draws in air from the room, passes it over the evaporator coil to remove heat and moisture, and then distributes the cooled air back into the room through the ductwork. On the other hand, the outdoor unit houses the compressor, which pressurizes the refrigerant and moves it to the condenser. The condenser releases the heat absorbed from the indoor air to the outside environment.

The refrigerant plays a crucial role in the cooling process of an HVAC split unit. It absorbs heat from the indoor air, evaporates into a gas in the evaporator coil, and then condenses back into a liquid in the outdoor unit. This continuous cycle allows the system to effectively cool the indoor air.

Using a compressor, condenser, evaporator, and refrigerant, HVAC split units can provide heating and cooling capabilities, making them versatile systems suitable for various climates and seasons.

Types of HVAC Split Units

Different types of HVAC split units are available in the market to suit various needs and preferences. The two main types are traditional split systems and ductless mini-split systems.

Traditional Split Systems

Traditional split systems are commonly found in homes with existing ductwork. These systems consist of a central air conditioner or heat pump installed outside the house and an indoor furnace or air handler. The central air conditioner or heat pump cools the air, while the furnace or air handler provides the heat.

Traditional split systems are suitable for larger homes where multiple air conditioners or heat pumps may be required to cool the entire space. The ductwork in these systems helps distribute the conditioned air evenly throughout the house, allowing for consistent temperature control in all rooms.

However, traditional split systems may experience energy losses due to the ductwork. The distribution ducts can lead to heat or cool air loss, reducing the system’s overall efficiency. Regular maintenance and proper insulation of the ductwork can help mitigate these issues and improve energy efficiency.

Ductless Mini-Splits

Ductless mini-split systems are a popular choice for homeowners who want to heat or cool specific areas without needing ductwork. These systems include an outdoor unit and one or more indoor air handlers. Here are some key features of ductless mini-split systems:

  • Each indoor air handler is responsible for heating or cooling a specific area or room, providing individual temperature control.
  • Ductless mini-split systems are highly energy-efficient as they eliminate the energy losses associated with ductwork.
  • These systems are easy to install since they do not require extensive ductwork modifications.
  • Ductless mini-split systems are operated using a remote control, which allows users to conveniently adjust the temperature and other settings.
  • They are ideal for room additions, older homes without existing ductwork, or spaces where ductwork installation is not feasible.

Benefits of Installing HVAC Split Units

Installing HVAC split units in your home offers several benefits, including improved energy efficiency, enhanced temperature control, and cost savings. Let’s explore these benefits in detail.

Energy Consumption and Efficiency

One of the main advantages of HVAC split units is their energy efficiency. These systems are designed to provide optimal cooling and heating while consuming minimal energy. Here’s how HVAC split units help reduce energy consumption:

  • Energy Star® certified split systems are highly efficient and meet strict energy efficiency standards, ensuring lower energy consumption.
  • By minimizing energy losses associated with ductwork, ductless mini-split systems can be more energy-efficient than traditional split systems.
  • HVAC split units allow for zoned temperature control, which means you can adjust the temperature in different areas of your home based on your comfort needs. This targeted cooling and heating help reduce energy wastage.

Space Heaters and Radiant Panels

Another benefit of HVAC split units is eliminating the need for space heaters or radiant panels. These additional heating sources can be costly and may not provide consistent or efficient heating throughout the house. With an HVAC split unit, you can rely on a single system to provide both heating and cooling, saving you money and space.

Energy Star Certification

Many HVAC split units are Energy Star certified, meaning they meet or exceed strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By choosing an Energy Star certified system, you can confidently invest in an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solution.

HVAC Split Unit Temperature Control

Split units allow for precise temperature control in different areas of your home. With zoned temperature control, you can set different temperatures for each room or zone, ensuring optimal comfort for everyone.

This flexibility is particularly useful for larger homes where different family members may have different temperature preferences.

Installation Process for HVAC Split Units

The installation process for HVAC split units may vary depending on the type of system and the specific requirements of your home. Here are some key factors to consider during the installation:

Ease of Installation

One of the advantages of HVAC split units is their ease of installation compared to other types of cooling and heating systems. Here’s why:

  • HVAC split units are versatile and can be installed in various settings, including residential homes, offices, and commercial spaces.
  • The installation typically involves connecting the indoor and outdoor units with copper tubing and electrical wiring.
  • Professional installation is recommended to ensure proper system setup and optimal performance.

Desired Temperature and Cooling Needs

During the installation process, consider your desired temperature and cooling needs. Working with an HVAC professional will help determine the appropriate size and capacity of the system to ensure efficient cooling and heating.

Existing AC Systems and Indoor Air Handlers

If you already have an AC system or indoor air handlers, installing an HVAC split unit may involve integrating the new system with the existing setup. This may require additional modifications or adjustments to the ductwork or electrical connections.

Indoor Air Handlers and Placement

Indoor air handlers are crucial for efficient cooling and heating. They should be strategically positioned in each room or zone to ensure proper air distribution and temperature control. An HVAC professional can help determine the optimal placement based on your specific needs and home’s layout.

Maintaining Your HVAC Split Unit

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure your HVAC split unit’s optimal performance and longevity. Here are some basic maintenance tasks to keep in mind:

  • Clean or replace air filters regularly to maintain proper airflow and prevent dust and debris buildup.
  • Schedule annual professional maintenance to check and clean the system components, inspect refrigerant levels, and ensure efficient operation.
  • Keep the outdoor unit clean and debris-free to maintain proper airflow and prevent obstructions.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If your HVAC split unit encounters issues, there are common troubleshooting solutions you can try before calling for professional assistance. Firstly, check the thermostat settings to ensure they are correctly programmed to your desired temperature. Verify that the power source is functional and the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. Inspect the air filters for dirt buildup, as clogged filters can restrict airflow and impair system efficiency. If these basic troubleshooting steps do not resolve the problem, contacting a qualified technician is advisable to diagnose and repair any underlying issues effectively.

Choosing InMotion Mechanical

When it comes to installing and maintaining HVAC split units, choosing a reputable and experienced provider is essential. InMotion Mechanical offers reliable HVAC services.  Here are some reasons to select InMotion Mechanical for installation, maintenance, and repair.

  • Knowledgeable technicians who can guide you in selecting the right system for your home and budget.
  • Assistance with rebates and incentives to help you save on your HVAC investment.
  • Commitment to providing quality service and customer satisfaction.
  • Access to advanced HVAC technologies, such as inverter technology and programmable thermostats, for enhanced energy efficiency and comfort.

Whether considering HVAC split unit installation or needing maintenance services for your existing system in the Tahoe-Truckee or Reno, InMotion Mechanical is a reliable choice.


Understanding HVAC split units is crucial for efficient home comfort. Traditional split systems and ductless mini-splits offer distinct benefits based on your needs. Regular maintenance is key to ensuring optimal performance and longevity. Troubleshooting common issues promptly can prevent major malfunctions.

For expert installation and reliable service in Reno, NV, choose InMotion Mechanical. Contact us today for a consultation and experience the difference of quality HVAC solutions tailored to your requirements.