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What are Central Air Conditioning Units?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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Central air conditioning units are air conditioning solutions that work to create a pleasant temperature and humidity level within an enclosed space. In most cases, the main unit is situated on the exterior of the building and functions with the use of ductwork. In addition to cooling the air and keeping the humidity at a tolerable level, central air conditioning usually aids in removing dust, lint, and other allergens from the interior of a home or workplace.

There are different designs or models for central air conditioning units around the world. Many designs call for the use of what is known as split air conditioning. This model involves locating the compressor and the condenser of the unit outside the interior space, such as on a slab situated near an exterior wall or on the roof of the edifice. Inside the evaporator is located in the air handler section of the unit, near the ductwork.

With a package system approach to central air conditioning, all the necessary components are contained in one simple unit that is installed on the ground just outside the building or on the roof. In both cases, the design calls for the use of ductwork to handle the collection and distribution process that helps to create the controlled interior environment.

A basic air conditioning unit of this type performs several key functions. First, air is pulled into the unit, cooled, then routed into all the rooms of the space by way of the ductwork. Along with cooling the air, many systems also include purification filters. These filters help to remove different types of allergens from the returned air, such as pet dander, dust, and other allergens. People who struggle with allergies often find that central air conditioning units offer relief that is hard to achieve otherwise.

A third function of most central air conditioning units is to regulate the humidity level within the home or workspace. Essentially, this process helps to remove excess humidity from the returned air, making the interior space more comfortable. This aspect of room air conditioning is often considered just as important as reducing the temperature of the air circulating throughout the building.

The use of central air conditioning units is more common in areas of the world where heat and humidity levels tend to reach high levels during the summer months. In areas where humidity and excessive heat are less of a problem, homeowners may prefer to utilize window mounted or portable air conditioning units that are plugged into a wall outlet and can be stored during those months when they are not in use. Because of the greater consumption of energy, there are areas of the world where the installation of central air conditioning units is either restricted or forbidden altogether.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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