Central Air?

DSCN2493, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

I’ve never seen an central air conditioner installed outside the home like this? Anyone seen something like this before?

11 Comment

  • “Central” indeed

  • The location doesn’t seem too convenient for servicing. They all need servicing.

  • They do that in Japan where space is a premium. Washer dryer units (often as a single unit that both washes and dry) outside (on a porch or balcony) as well.

  • Yes, everywhere else in the world…travel, please.

  • It’s not for central A/C, it’s basically the equivalent of a window unit but with the compressor detached from the fan/blower. These units are really good for cooling individual rooms (and from the looks of it, this model is able to handle cooling duties in at least two rooms). The advantage is that with the compressor mounted away from the fan your house remains much quieter than if you had a standard window unit. The drawback, as you can see, is that you are limited as to where the compressor can be located, so unless you put them on the roof you are going to have one or more unattractive boxes mounted on exterior walls (and generally speaking, the piping shouldn’t be more than a dozen feet long, or you wind up with low pressure as the units aren’t as powerful as a central A/C unit).

  • Is the compressor in fact detached? Looks big enough for both, and I don’t see any ducting leading away. Isn’t this just a standard wall-mounted AC unit (i.e. permanently installed in a wall penetration rather than a window)?

    Eh, what do I know.

  • Yes, trust me on this one. I lived in Japan for two years and had exactly this type of A/C in my flat. This is for all intents and purposes a much smaller version of a central A/C compressor, designed to serve the cooling (and sometimes heating) needs of one or two rooms. The idea of course is to save money by only doing climate control in a room when it is occupied; if you go abroad, you’ll notice that many houses will sport several of these units in various places. It’s a really nice approach if you don’t want to retrofit your house or apartment with ducting and an air handler, since the only penetration you need to make is for the copper piping to and from the fan unit. They’re also substantially more energy efficient.

  • it’s called a “mini split air conditioner”, google it. my neighbs have one, and i was going to install one but it got stolen. they work *really* well.

  • As the previous poster indicated, these types of units are very common in other parts of the world, especially Asia and the Middle East. In the US they are sometimes referred to as “mini-split” systems. I’ve got two of these for my DC rowhouse (placed in much more discreet locations) and I love them. Very energy efficient, don’t require big holes in the wall for ducts, allow for zoned cooling and my units are heat pumps so I use them for heating in the winter (this past winter I saved about 50% using them to heat the house over the previous winter using the gas-fired boiler and radiators). Also, the installation cost for my house was a few thousand dollars less than a comparable Unico or “ductless” system.

  • They’re also know as “split pack” A/C. Like readers previously mentioned, they’re used all over the world. They’re quick, ductless, require only a 1-2″ hole, extremely quiet, and don’t occupy a window so the “indoor unit” can be mounted anywhere cold air is desired. The owner likely mounted the “outdoor unit” in such a way to prevent it from being stolen.

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