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Larger than window air conditioners, packaged AC units are commonly found in restaurants, halls, and homes. They are typically available in fixed capacities, ranging from 3, 5, 7, 10 and 15 tons.

In a packaged system, all major components are housed within a single enclosure, much like a window air conditioner. The compressor, cooling coil, air handling unit and the air filter are all housed in one unit, or package. The entire unit is pre-assembled at the factory.

Packaged air conditioners can be divided into two general categories, dependent on the cooling system used. While one type uses a water cooled condenser, the other utilises air cooled condensers. More specific details on the general characteristics of these two systems can be found below.

Packaged air conditioner with water cooled condenser

Water-cooled systems use a shell and tube condenser. Refrigerant flows through the tube side and the cooling water flows along the shell side. The system needs water to be supplied continuously to function properly.

Shell and tube condensers can be quite compact. Everything is enclosed in a single housing along with the compressor, expansion valve, air handling unit, cooling coil and evaporator.

In water cooled packaged units, the compressor and condenser are located on the bottom (see diagram above). Directly above these components is the evaporator or the cooling coil. The air handling unit contains a fan blower, with the air filter located above the cooling coil. The fan blower is designed to handle the large volume of air required. Near the top of the unit is the duct that extends to each room that needs to be cooled.

All components of a packaged air conditioner come pre-assembled. The entire unit can be transported to the site, and installed quickly and easily. Having one single unit makes installation faster and easier, and lessens the chance of problems during installation.

Packaged air conditioner with air cooled condenser

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