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Home » Split AC vs Wall AC: Which Air Conditioner Should You Choose?

Split AC vs Wall AC: Which Air Conditioner Should You Choose?

Selecting an air conditioner can be challenging. The market offers a wide variety of AC types. Each type operates differently. They also vary in output and cost.

How do you make the right choice?

We have created a series of articles to assist you. Our goal is to clarify the differences between AC types. This particular article focuses on split ACs and wall ACs.

What Are the Key Differences Between Split AC vs Wall AC?

Split ACs differ from wall ACs mainly in unit configuration. A split AC uses multiple internal units. A wall AC uses just one.

Both types have an internal and an external unit. The internal unit absorbs heat from your room. The external unit expels the heat outside.

Refrigerant-filled pipes transfer heat. They move it from the inside unit to the outside unit.

The main difference lies in the distribution of cooling. Split ACs can cool multiple rooms. They “split” the cooling effort across several indoor units.

A wall AC has a simpler setup. It includes one indoor unit and one corresponding outdoor unit.

Detailed Comparison: Split AC vs. Wall AC Designs and Features

Choosing the right air conditioner involves many factors. Design and aesthetics are as important as functionality. Suitability for specific buildings and climates also matters. The latest models come with advanced features. Let’s explore these aspects for split and wall AC units.

Design and Aesthetic Differences

Split AC Design: The design of split ACs is sleek and contemporary. They integrate well with different decors. The indoor unit mounts on the wall. It connects to the outdoor unit with pipes. This design reduces indoor noise. The compressor is outside. Many split ACs offer design flexibility. Some have low-profile looks. Others allow for panel customization. There are also smart display options.

Wall AC Design: Wall ACs fit through an exterior wall. They sit in a sleeve. These units are visible and may stick out. However, new designs are changing this. They are becoming sleeker and more subtle. Some models have fronts that blend with walls. They come in various colors to match room aesthetics.

Suitability for Different Building Types and Climates

Split AC Suitability: Split ACs suit many buildings. They are good for homes and businesses. They work well where ductwork is not possible. This includes room additions. Split ACs handle various temperatures. Some have heat pumps for cooling and heating.

Wall AC Suitability: Wall ACs are for smaller spaces. They are perfect for apartments or single rooms. Older buildings benefit from them too. They are less invasive to install. Wall ACs are best in moderate climates. They may struggle in extreme weather.

Cooling Capacity of Split AC vs Wall AC

Cooling capacity is key when selecting an air conditioner. It’s measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). One BTU is the heat needed to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Let’s delve into how BTUs determine the efficiency of split and wall AC units. 

Split AC Cooling Capacity: 

Split ACs come with a range of BTU ratings. They can cool small to large spaces. You can find them from 8,000 to 14,000 BTUs. This range suits different room sizes and layouts. 

A split AC can cool one room or several when you install multiple indoor units. The right BTU rating depends on your space. 

You’ll need roughly 20 BTUs per square foot. But remember, high ceilings and large windows affect your needs. So does insulation. A poorly insulated room may need a more powerful AC. 

Wall AC Cooling Capacity: 

Wall ACs are great for cooling one room. They are ideal for small apartments or specific areas. Their BTU ratings are similar to split ACs, ranging from 9,000 to 14,000 BTUs. These units focus on cooling the space they’re in rather than an entire home. 

Choose a wall AC by considering the room’s characteristics. South-facing rooms get more sun and need more cooling. Kitchens need extra BTUs due to heat from appliances. Add around 4,000 BTUs to your estimate for kitchen spaces.

Costs: Split AC vs Wall AC

The cost of air conditioning units is a significant factor for many when deciding on the right system for their home or office. While the initial purchase price is important, it’s also essential to consider installation costs, maintenance, and operational expenses over the unit’s lifetime. Here’s a closer look at the costs associated with split and wall AC units.

Initial Purchase and Installation Costs

Split AC Costs: Split AC systems typically range from $2,000 to $5,000 for the unit itself. The installation costs for split ACs can vary widely based on several factors:

  • Complexity of Installation: Installing a split AC system can be more complex, requiring multiple indoor units and extensive piping.
  • Labor: Professional installation is crucial for split systems and can add significantly to the overall cost.
  • Additional Components: Sometimes additional components such as extra piping, insulation, or a new thermostat are needed, which can increase the price.

Wall AC Costs: Wall AC units are generally priced between $3,000 and $6,000, including the cost of the unit and installation. Factors influencing wall AC installation costs include:

  • Ease of Installation: Wall ACs can be easier and quicker to install, which may result in lower labor costs.
  • Structural Modifications: If your installation requires cutting through walls or reinforcing structures, the cost can go up.
  • Electrical Work: Additional electrical work to accommodate the unit can also affect the final price.

Maintenance and Long-Term Costs

Split AC Maintenance: Split AC units require regular maintenance to keep them running efficiently. This includes cleaning filters, checking refrigerant levels, and inspecting electrical components. Maintenance contracts for split AC systems can cost between $100 to $300 per year, depending on the service provider and the frequency of maintenance.

Wall AC Maintenance: Wall AC units also need routine maintenance, such as filter cleaning and checks for proper operation. The cost for maintaining a wall AC is generally comparable to that of a split system, but wall units may be easier for homeowners to access and service themselves, potentially saving on professional maintenance costs.

Operational Costs

The operational cost of an AC unit is influenced by its energy efficiency. Split AC units often have higher Energy Efficiency Ratios (EER) and can be more cost-effective to run in the long term. Wall AC units, with lower EER ratings, may consume more power to provide the same level of cooling, leading to higher utility bills.

Energy Efficiency: Comparing Split AC to Wall AC

Split ACs are generally more energy-efficient than wall ACs. Their EER ranges from 13 to 17. Wall ACs have an EER between 9 and 12. A higher EER indicates better efficiency.

To find an AC’s EER, divide its BTU cooling capacity by its wattage. This calculation shows how well the unit uses energy.

Despite this, both AC types have similar efficiency. This similarity is because they operate on the same basic principle.

Maintenance and Upkeep: A Comprehensive Guide for Split and Wall AC Units

Maintaining your air conditioner is crucial for ensuring efficiency, prolonging its lifespan, and keeping energy costs down. Whether you have a split AC or a wall AC, regular upkeep is essential. Here’s what you need to know to keep your AC running smoothly.

Routine Maintenance for Split and Wall AC Units

Split AC Maintenance:

  • Filter Cleaning: Clean or replace the air filters every month during peak usage. Dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce efficiency.
  • Coil Cleaning: Check the evaporator and condenser coils yearly. Clean coils prevent overworking the system.
  • Drainage Check: Ensure the condensate drain is clear to prevent water buildup and humidity issues.
  • Unit Inspection: Have a professional inspect the unit annually for issues with the refrigerant, electrical systems, and thermostat operation.

Wall AC Maintenance:

  • Filter Maintenance: Like split ACs, wall units require monthly filter checks, especially during high-use seasons.
  • Coil and Fin Care: Clean the coils and fins carefully with a brush or a special fin comb to maintain unrestricted airflow.
  • Seal Inspection: Before cooling season, check the seal between the AC and the window frame to ensure it’s intact and provides good insulation.
  • Winter Care: If the unit is not in use during winter, cover it or remove and store it to protect against the elements.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting Tips

Split AC Issues:

  • Unit Not Cooling: Check for a dirty filter or incorrect thermostat settings. If these aren’t the issues, it may be a refrigerant leak.
  • Strange Noises: Rattling or buzzing can indicate loose parts, while whistling or grinding may suggest a more serious problem.
  • Ice Formation: Ice on the coils often points to airflow problems, which can be due to dirty filters or blocked ducts.

Wall AC Issues:

  • Water Leaking Inside: This often occurs when the unit isn’t level or the drain is blocked.
  • Unit Not Turning On: Verify power sources and check the fuse or circuit breaker. If the problem persists, the issue may be with the unit’s capacitor or motor.
  • Inadequate Cooling: If the AC isn’t cooling enough, clean the filter and check for any obstructions in the front grille or back of the unit.

Long-Term Maintenance Costs and Service Tips

Investing in regular maintenance can save you money in the long run by avoiding costly repairs and inefficient energy use. Here are some tips to manage long-term maintenance costs:

  • Service Contracts: Consider purchasing a service contract for annual maintenance. This can provide peace of mind and potential savings.
  • DIY Minor Maintenance: Learn to perform minor maintenance tasks yourself, such as filter cleaning and simple inspections.
  • Energy Savings: Use a programmable thermostat and keep your AC at an energy-efficient setting to reduce wear and tear.
  • Replacement Planning: Be aware of the expected lifespan of your AC units (usually around 10-15 years for split ACs and 8-12 years for wall ACs). Start a savings plan for replacement when they reach the end of their service life.

Making the Choice: Split AC or Wall AC?

Your choice depends on your needs. Do you want to cool multiple rooms? If so, a split AC is better. It cools many rooms with one system.

You could choose multiple wall AC units for different rooms. But this means buying an external unit for each wall AC. A split AC uses one external unit for all its internal units.

In other respects, split and wall AC systems are alike. They offer similar costs, cooling power, and energy efficiency.


Choosing between split and wall AC units depends on your specific needs. Consider what you want from your AC. Think about the size of your space and the number of rooms. Don’t forget to factor in energy efficiency and your budget.

For more detailed advice, reach out to us. We can help you find the perfect AC for your home. Visit our website for more information on air conditioning options.