The packaged air conditioner functions as a single unit in order to maintain economy of size; an important feature designed to accommodate the variety of spaces where they are used. The differing components are contained in a single casing, much like a like the window air conditioning units of the past. A unit is first assembled at a factory location and the parts, such as the compressor, cooling coil, air handling unit and the air filter are all housed in a single casing. To enhance the aesthetic, the unit surround is designed to a contemporary standard that will coordinate with most home decor. Packaged air conditioners are divided into two types according to the kind of cooling mechanism used in the system.
The condenser in these packaged air conditioners is cooled by the water. The condenser functions as a shell and a tube, with refrigerant flowing along the tube side and the cooling water flowing along the shell side. The water has to be supplied continuously in these systems to maintain the function of the air cooling component. A condenser of this type is compact in shape, and is enclosed in a single casing along with the compressor, expansion valve, and the air handling unit. This also includes the cooling coil or the evaporator. The whole packaged air conditioning unit appears as a box, and the control panel is externally fixed.
The condenser in this packaged air conditioner is a refrigeration system, cooled by the atmospheric air. An outdoor unit houses the components: the compressor; condenser; and in some cases the expansion valve. The outdoor unit can sit on a terrace – or any other open place where there is free flowing air. The fan inside the unit draws in the outside air, and dispenses it over the condenser coil, which then cools it. The condenser coil is actually a roll of copper tubing that is externally finned. Air cooled units are more commonly used than the water cooled condensers, as it is generally easier to locate a system in an open space rather than to maintain a continuous flow of water. The cooling unit is composed of an expansion valve and an evaporator. The accompanying air handling blower and the filter can sit on the floor, or hang on a wall, where ducts lead to other rooms for temperature control.