Dual Pack or Split System?

Old 04-05-02, 11:19 PM
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Question Dual Pack or Split System?

I've just bought a house near Charlotte, NC built in 1966.

The furnace functionality is questionable but since it was
a foreclosure I do not know the condition of the system,
or it's age. It is rumored to be broken (from talking to
the neighbors).

The existing furnace is forced air gas. There is no central
air in the house.

Given that the condition of the current system is questionable,
and it is at least ten yrs old, and I want to add central air, is
it better to add the AC as a split system, or to install a gas
pack (dual pack?)?

Are there advantages to an external dual pack over the
split system? Advantages to the split system?

This is in North Carolina where the cooling expenses probably
exceed the heating expenses.

- What is the cheapest to install now?
- Which will cost more in the long term?
- Which will be more reliable?
- Which makes the home more comfortable?

Thank you for your time and information.
Old 04-06-02, 06:38 AM
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Hello: Echinvar

Installing either system will obtain the desired results. I would suggest installing the dual pak unit, since there is questions regarding the operational condition of the existing heating unit.

The unit you choose, operational costs and benefits are based upon personal considerations and energy prices in your area.

Suggestion would be to consider all factors. Determine how long you plan to live in the house, installation location availablity, unit costs, warranty, return on investment, operational costs, energy prices, personal comfort levels, climate zone, serviceablity and parts availablity for future problems, etc.

Obtain the opinions and suggestions of several heating and cooling agencies in the area.

Several other resident heating and cooling professionals, replying within this forum, may have additional helpful information, suggestions and advice.

Check back several times for additional replies.

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Old 04-06-02, 12:03 PM
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Re: Dual pack or split system?

The general consensus among most people, professionals
and homeowners, is that gas is the way to go in this area.

As for the dual pack vs. split system, I still don't know. I'll
have someone check the current system and see what life
expectancy, if any, it has before deciding.

Thanks again,
Larry (aka Echinvar)
Old 04-06-02, 04:10 PM
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By a dual pack system I think you're referring to a heat pump and a split system you're referring to is gas heating with electric condensing cooling unit.

If gas is available to you where you live, it's a lot more cost effective to use than electric heating, regardless if it's a heat pump. Therefore I would recommend what you refer to as a split system.
Old 04-07-02, 07:43 PM
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Dual Pack vs split system

By dual pack I mean a system commonly referred to locally
as a gas-pack. It is one unit installed outside the house that
has the evaporator, condenser, compresser, gas burner and
air handler. All of the ducts run to this external unit.

This unit is typically mounted on a small masonry slab about
a foot from the house and connected to the house by a large
insulated "box" containing the air return and ducts carrying
the conditioned (i.e. heated or cooled) air back to the house.

A split system would have the furnace, blower, and evaporator
inside, and the compressor and condenser outside. That's
the more traditional setup.

What I am wondering is whether there is an advantage to the
gas-pack (dual pack) setup vs. the more traditional split system.

In both cases the heat is natural gas.

Thanks again,
Old 04-07-02, 09:03 PM
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In My Professional Opinion

Hello: Larry

Excellent descriptions of the two different styles of units.

A Few Factors for Consideration:

The obvious advantage of the dual pack is where there is limited indoor space and location considerations. Dual pak units can be located outside on a slab or roof mounted to save space.

Other advantages are noise reduction and serviceablity. Everything noisy and mechanical is outside.

The disadvantage, in my opinion, is the entire unit is exposed to the outdoor elements. The unit can never be covered to protect it from the outdoor weather elements. In some climate zones this factor could be worth considering.

Regardless of how well the internal heating componets are made, insulated and installed, etc. they are exposed to the elements. Rust and corrosion will take their toll slightly on the heater unit. In some climate zones, fireboxes and other metal componets can rust and corrode faster.

Split system units, with only the compressor and condenser outdoors, the outdoor unit can be covered to protect it from the elements when not in use during the winter months.

There are claims the split system has a slightly higher gas energy efficient on the heating side, since less heat energy is lost through the ducting, even if the ducting is in a cold attic space.

Regards, Forum Moderator.
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