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Central air conditioning is a great way to keep your home cool and comfortable during the hot summer months.

But what if you don’t have enough space or permission to install an outside unit? Is there a way to have central air without an outside unit?

You can’t have a Central Air Conditioner without an outside unit. Most AC systems (including central air and ductless) work by extracting the heat inside a room and blowing it outside.

However, there are options if you want to have a cooling system that doesn’t require an outdoor unit. These are often referred to as condenserless air conditioners. Orzech Heating and Cooling will discuss this in more detail later in this article.


Why central air conditioning requires an outdoor unit

Central air conditioning is a system that cools the entire home using ductwork and vents. It consists of two main components: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit.

The indoor unit is usually located in the basement, right above the furnace. It contains the evaporator coil which is used to cool the air by removing the heat from it.

The outdoor unit is usually located on the ground or on the roof. It is usually called the condenser, used to release the hot air outside of your home. When the heat is blown out, the refrigerant is cooled, which will then be sent back inside the ductwork system into your home.

In case you don’t already know, a central air conditioning system only works when installed with a furnace in an HVAC system. The reason is that it’s not designed to force the air, in fact, it borrows the fan of the furnace to circulate the conditioned air in the ductwork system. You can learn more about forced air vs central air, which we covered in depth in another article.

What are condenserless air conditioners?

a condenserless air conditioner

Condenserless air conditioners are air conditioning systems that don’t have an outdoor unit or a condenser. They use indoor units and pipes that carry refrigerant between them.

They are more energy-efficient, flexible, and discreet than conventional air conditioners, but they may not provide enough cooling or heating capacity for large or open spaces.


1. They are more energy-efficient and cost-effective

Since they don’t use ductwork, they avoid energy loss due to leaks or poor insulation. They also allow for individual temperature control, which can reduce energy waste and save money on utility bills.

2. They are more flexible and adaptable

Since they can be installed separately without the need for a ductwork system, any type of home regardless of size, layout, or design can have these ACs. They can also be customized to fit different needs and preferences, such as cooling or heating only in certain rooms or zones.

3. They are quieter and more discreet

Because they use smaller components and less airflow, they produce less noise than conventional central air systems. They also have less visible parts, which can improve the aesthetics of your home.

4. They are less expensive to install

In general, condenserless air conditioners are cheaper than central air conditioners, especially if you don’t have existing ductwork in your home.


1. They may not provide enough cooling or heating capacity

Because they use smaller components and less airflow, they may not be able to cool or heat large or open spaces as effectively as conventional central air systems. They may also struggle to cope with extreme temperatures or humidity levels.

2. They might be more expensive in some cases

Of course, it depends on your specific situation when it comes to costs. For example, if your space is too big would require multiple condenserless air conditioners, it would eventually cost you more than a traditional central air conditioning system. Make sure you consult with a certified HVAC company before making any major decisions.

How to Choose the AC without an outside unit?

Choosing the best central air system that doesn’t require an outside unit depends on several factors, such as:

1. The energy efficiency

Energy efficiency refers to how much electricity the system uses to cool your rooms. A more energy-efficient system can save you money on your utility bills and reduce your environmental impact

2. The capability of providing cool air

Cooling capacity refers to how well the system can cool your home, especially in hot or humid conditions. A system with a higher cooling capacity can provide more comfort and consistent temperature throughout your home.

3. The price

Price refers to how much the system costs to purchase and install. A cheaper system may not have the features or quality that you need or want, while a more expensive system may not fit your budget or offer a good return on investment.

You can always consult with an HVAC expert for more information from choosing the right system to professional installation and servicing like AC repair and AC installation.


Central air conditioning is a great way to keep your home cool and comfortable during the hot summer months. But if you don’t have enough space or permission to install an outside unit, you can still have a condenserless air conditioner that doesn’t require an outside unit.

These systems have some pros and cons compared to conventional central air systems, so you need to weigh them carefully before making a decision.