Air Flow Gurus

Packaged AC Units: The Convenient Solution for Efficient Cooling

When it comes to cooling our homes or workspaces, air conditioning is an essential component for comfort. While there are different types of air conditioning systems available, packaged AC units offer a convenient and efficient solution.

In this article, we will explore the world of packaged AC units, their components, installation options, and their suitability for various scenarios. Whether you’re considering retrofitting your current setup or need to cool a space that’s not conducive to other air conditioning systems, packaged AC units may be the answer you’re looking for.

1)to Packaged AC Units

Definition and Components of a Packaged AC Unit

Packaged AC units, also known as packaged air conditioner systems, are self-contained systems that contain all the necessary components for cooling in one unit. These units consist of two main parts: the condensing unit and the air handler.

The condensing unit is the outdoor component of the packaged AC unit. It contains the compressor, condenser coil, and fan.

The compressor circulates the refrigerant, the condenser coil releases heat from the refrigerant to the outside air, and the fan helps with the heat dissipation process. The air handler, on the other hand, is the indoor component of the unit and includes the evaporator coil, blower fan, and filter.

The evaporator coil cools the air, the blower fan circulates the cooled air throughout the space, and the filter helps to remove dust and pollutants.

Installation Options for Packaged AC Units

When it comes to installing packaged AC units, there are several options to consider based on your specific needs and preferences. These options include ground installation, roof installation, indoor installation, and venting.

Ground installation is a popular choice, especially for residential properties. The unit is typically placed on a concrete pad or a metal stand, ensuring stability and easy access for maintenance.

Roof installation, on the other hand, is commonly found in commercial buildings where space may be limited on the ground. The unit is mounted on the roof, allowing for efficient cooling without taking up space below.

Indoor installation is another option, especially for spaces with limited exterior walls, such as apartments or commercial buildings. In this setup, the unit is installed inside a mechanical room or closet, with ductwork distributing the cooled air throughout the space.

Venting is an important consideration to ensure proper airflow and ventilation. It’s crucial to consult with an HVAC professional to determine the best venting options for your specific setup.

2) Suitability of Packaged AC Units

Scenarios for Choosing a Packaged AC Unit

Packaged AC units are particularly suitable for certain scenarios where other air conditioning systems may not be feasible or efficient. One such scenario is retrofitting, where existing structures may not be suitable for the installation of traditional split system air conditioning.

Packaged units offer a more flexible and convenient solution, requiring minimal modifications to the existing infrastructure. Another scenario where packaged AC units shine is when the existing central air conditioning system is inadequate.

In some cases, the central AC may not be sufficient to cool specific areas or rooms adequately. Packaged units can be installed as a supplemental cooling system, providing targeted cooling to the areas that need it the most.

Pros and Cons of Packaged Air Conditioner Systems

As with any cooling system, packaged AC units come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these pros and cons can help you make an informed decision when considering a packaged unit for your cooling needs.

Advantages of packaged air conditioner systems include lower equipment costs compared to traditional central air conditioning systems. The self-contained design also offers flexibility in installation location options, making it suitable for various spaces.

Additionally, packaged units tend to operate quieter than other systems, providing a noise-free environment for your comfort. Lastly, these units require less expertise from technicians when it comes to maintenance or repairs, saving both time and money.

However, it’s essential to consider the disadvantages as well. Packaged AC units tend to have lower efficiency compared to other systems, meaning they may consume more energy and result in higher energy bills.

Additionally, packaged units generally have a shorter lifespan compared to central air conditioning systems. It’s important to factor in these considerations when making your decision and weigh them against the advantages.


In conclusion, packaged AC units offer a convenient and efficient solution for cooling homes and workspaces. With their self-contained design, they reduce the need for extensive modifications and allow for flexible installation options.

Whether you’re retrofitting an existing space or need supplemental cooling in specific areas, packaged units can provide the comfort you desire. However, it’s essential to consider both the advantages and disadvantages before making a final decision.

Consulting with HVAC professionals can help you determine the best cooling solution for your specific needs.

3) Options to Consider for Packaged AC Units

Efficiency and SEER Ratings

When shopping for a packaged AC unit, one crucial factor to consider is its efficiency. Efficiency is measured by the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating, which represents the cooling output of the unit divided by its energy consumption over a typical cooling season.

Packaged AC units come with a range of SEER ratings, with higher numbers indicating higher efficiency. In general, the minimum SEER rating required by federal regulations is 14.

However, for those looking for even greater energy savings and efficiency, there are units available with SEER ratings as high as 20 or more. Opting for a higher SEER rating may translate to reduced energy consumption and lower utility bills in the long run.

Staged Cooling

Staged cooling refers to the ability of a packaged AC unit to operate at different capacities depending on the cooling demand. There are two main types of staged cooling: single-stage models and two-stage models.

Single-stage models operate at a constant capacity, regardless of the cooling needs. They typically operate at full capacity, which can result in frequent on-off cycles and temperature fluctuations.

In contrast, two-stage models have the ability to adjust their output according to the demand. They can operate at both a low capacity and a high capacity, providing more precise and consistent cooling.

This results in more comfortable temperatures and fewer temperature fluctuations.

Fan Speeds

The fan speed of a packaged AC unit can have a significant impact on comfort and energy efficiency. There are three main types of fan speeds: single-speed, multispeed, and variable-speed.

Single-speed fans operate at a fixed speed, providing a consistent airflow. While they are the most common and economical option, they may not provide the most comfortable cooling experience, as they do not adjust based on cooling needs.

Multispeed fans offer multiple fan speed options, usually two or three. These speeds can be adjusted manually or automatically based on cooling demand.

This allows for a more customizable experience, providing options for both energy savings and comfort. Variable-speed fans are the most advanced option.

They adjust their speed continuously, based on the cooling demand. This results in precise airflow control, improved comfort, and energy efficiency.

Variable-speed fans are particularly beneficial in maintaining consistent temperatures and reducing humidity levels.

Size and Sizing

Another crucial consideration when choosing a packaged AC unit is its size and sizing. The size of the unit is typically measured in tonnage or BTU (British Thermal Units) and refers to its cooling capacity.

It’s critical to choose the right size for your specific space, as an undersized or oversized unit can result in performance issues, inefficiency, and discomfort. A unit that is too small will struggle to cool the space adequately, leading to inefficient operation and increased energy usage.

On the other hand, an oversized unit may cool the space quickly, but it will reach the desired temperature before properly removing humidity. This can result in a clammy or uncomfortable environment.

Proper sizing is critical for achieving optimal performance, efficiency, and comfort. It is recommended to consult with an HVAC professional who can perform a thorough assessment of your space and guide you in selecting the appropriate size for your packaged AC unit.

4) Five Best Packaged Air Conditioner Brands and Cost

Top Models and Features

When it comes to choosing the best packaged air conditioner brands, several reputable manufacturers stand out. Let’s explore some of their top models and notable features.

1. Armstrong Air: Armstrong Air offers the 4SCU20LX model, which boasts a high SEER rating of up to 20.5. It features a two-stage operation for improved comfort and energy efficiency.

Additionally, it comes with a quiet compressor and a variable-speed blower for precise temperature control. 2.

Maytag: Maytag’s PPG2GI iQ Drive model is known for its quiet and efficient operation. With a SEER rating of up to 20, it offers energy savings and consistent comfort.

The iQ Drive technology allows for precise modulation, adjusting to the cooling demands of your space, and maintaining desired temperatures effortlessly. 3.

Heil: Heil’s DXT+ Two-Stage Packaged Heat Pump is a popular choice for its durability and energy efficiency. With a SEER rating of up to 16, it offers efficient cooling and heating throughout the year.

The two-stage operation ensures consistent comfort and reduces energy consumption. 4.

Carrier: Carrier’s Performance 16 Model 50VL-C is a reliable and energy-efficient option with a SEER rating of up to 16. It features two-stage cooling for comfortable temperature control and reduced humidity.

The unit is also equipped with a scroll compressor and a variable-speed blower for quiet operation and precise cooling. 5.

Trane: Trane’s XL16c EarthWise Hybrid Packaged System combines a heat pump and a gas furnace for efficient heating and cooling. With a SEER rating of up to 16 and a two-stage operation, it offers energy savings and optimal comfort.

It also features a variable-speed blower for enhanced airflow control and reduced noise levels.

Recommended Brands and Estimated Costs

When considering packaged air conditioner brands, Armstrong Air, Maytag, Heil, Carrier, and Trane consistently receive positive reviews for their durability, reliable performance, and excellent customer support. While the prices can vary based on factors such as unit size and features, it’s helpful to have a general idea of estimated costs.

For Armstrong Air, the 4SCU20LX unit, with its advanced features and high SEER rating, can range from $3,000 to $5,000, depending on the tonnage and other factors. Maytag’s PPG2GI iQ Drive model is priced between $3,500 and $6,000, offering energy-efficient performance and advanced control capabilities.

Heil’s DXT+ Two-Stage Packaged Heat Pump typically falls in the $3,000 to $4,500 price range, delivering reliable operation and energy-efficient cooling. Carrier’s Performance 16 Model 50VL-C starts at around $3,500, offering a balance of performance and affordability.

Trane’s XL16c EarthWise Hybrid Packaged System, combining both a heat pump and a gas furnace, is priced between $4,000 and $7,000. Its hybrid capabilities provide efficient cooling and heating, offering versatility and energy savings.

It’s important to keep in mind that these prices are estimates and can vary based on location, installation complexities, and additional factors. It’s always recommended to obtain multiple quotes from licensed HVAC professionals to get an accurate cost estimate for your specific requirements.


In summary, when considering packaged AC units, options such as efficiency ratings, staged cooling, fan speeds, and proper sizing are crucial factors to evaluate. The efficiency and SEER ratings help determine energy consumption, while staged cooling and fan speeds affect comfort and precise temperature control.

Additionally, choosing the right size ensures optimal performance and efficiency. When it comes to top packaged air conditioner brands, Armstrong Air, Maytag, Heil, Carrier, and Trane offer reliable options with advanced features.

While their specific models and features may vary, these brands consistently receive positive reviews. Remember to consult with HVAC professionals to determine the best options for your specific needs and obtain accurate cost estimates.

With the right information and guidance, you can make an informed decision and enjoy the benefits of a high-quality packaged AC unit.

5) Further Information and Free Estimates

Exploring Packaged ACs and Options

Now that we have delved into the various aspects of packaged AC units, you may be interested in exploring your options further and obtaining free estimates. By reaching out to top companies and requesting written estimates, you can gather more information to make an informed decision.

One way to explore your options is by researching and identifying the top HVAC companies in your area. Look for companies with a good reputation, positive customer reviews, and a track record of providing quality products and services.

These established companies often have experienced technicians who can guide you through the process and help you choose the best packaged AC unit for your needs. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential companies, reach out to them to request free estimates.

Most reputable HVAC companies offer this service as a way to provide transparency and help you make an educated decision. During the estimation process, an HVAC technician will visit your property, evaluate your specific requirements, and provide a written estimate detailing the recommended packaged AC unit and the associated costs.

When requesting estimates, be prepared to provide information about the square footage of the area to be cooled, the number of rooms, and any specific cooling needs or concerns you may have. This will help the technicians accurately assess your requirements and recommend the most suitable options.

Comparing written estimates from different companies can be invaluable in understanding the cost breakdowns, warranties offered, and any additional services included. It’s important to review the estimates carefully and ask any questions you may have before moving forward with a purchase.

This will ensure that you have a clear understanding of what is included and can make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and cooling needs.

Gas Pack Buying Guide

In addition to packaged AC units, you may also want to explore gas packs if you are in a region that requires both cooling and heating capabilities. A gas pack combines an air conditioner and a heating system (usually a furnace) into one unit, providing efficient heating and cooling for your space.

Gas packs are particularly popular in the northern United States, where winters require reliable heating solutions. These units are designed to provide both heating and cooling, making them a versatile option for year-round comfort.

When considering a gas pack, there are a few additional factors to keep in mind. First, it’s important to ensure that the unit’s heating capacity matches your specific heating requirements.

HVAC professionals can conduct heat load calculations to determine the appropriate size and capacity of the unit to keep your space comfortably heated during cold winter months. Furthermore, it’s crucial to consider the efficiency of the gas pack’s heating system, typically measured by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating.

The AFUE rating indicates the percentage of fuel converted into usable heat. Higher AFUE ratings signify greater energy efficiency and potential cost savings over time.

Gas packs can offer cost-effective heating and cooling solutions, as the combined system often saves on installation costs and reduces the need for separate units. However, it’s essential to consult with HVAC professionals who have experience with gas packs to ensure proper installation and maximize efficiency.

By exploring packaged AC options and considering the benefits of gas packs, you can make an informed decision regarding the best cooling and heating solution for your specific needs. Remember to reach out to reputable HVAC companies, request free written estimates, and consult with professionals who can guide you through the process and provide valuable insights.


When it comes to exploring packaged AC units and gas packs, obtaining further information and free estimates is crucial in making an educated decision. By reaching out to top HVAC companies and requesting written estimates, you can gather more in-depth details about the options available to you.

Comparing estimates will help you understand the costs, warranties, and additional services offered by different companies. Additionally, if you are in a region that requires both cooling and heating capabilities, considering gas packs can provide an efficient solution.

Consulting with experienced HVAC professionals will ensure proper sizing, installation, and optimal efficiency. By taking the time to explore your options and obtain estimates, you can make a well-informed decision that meets your cooling and heating needs for year-round comfort.

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