Split systems have the air conditioning components split between two separate units that are installed in different locations and connected by insulated, copper refrigerant tubing through which the refrigerant travels.
- The condensing unit, consisting of the compressor, seawater condenser, and electrical components, is mounted in the engine room or other mechanical space.
- The air handler (also called the cooling/heating unit, or evaporator) includes the evaporator coil and a blower, and is installed in the living area in a similar manner to a DX self-contained unit. Two air handlers can be connected to one condensing unit so that multiple cabins or single large area can be cooled.
Split systems are typically found on boats up to 80 feet (24m) in length. The maximum length of refrigerant copper tubing between the condenser and air handlers is about 50 feet (15m).
An installed split system is typically more expensive than a self-contained unit, not only due to the equipment cost, but also because a split system must be charged with refrigerant by a certified technician.
Some advantages of a remote system are:
- Less space needed in the living area for the air handlers.
- Quieter because the compressor is in the engine room.
- A wide selection of air handlers.
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