Packaged Air Conditioner Installation & Repair

Packaged air conditioner

What Are Packaged Air Conditioners?

Packaged air conditioners have the compressor, coils, and air handler "packaged" together in one boxed cabinet. This makes them perfect for spaces too small to accommodate separate units, or when you want a single, aesthetically pleasing unit on your roof or alongside your building.

Most packaged air conditioners also contain heaters or heat pumps, providing year-round comfort and replacing much larger HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning).

West Coast Chief installs, repairs, and maintains all types and brands of packaged air conditioners. We also install and repair ductwork for units that need it.

Packaged AC vs. HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning)

In Los Angeles and Orange County, most packaged air conditioners are, in fact, HVAC units — they also heat your home in colder months.

They accomplish this with a heat pump, which moves heat around rather than creating it.

In the winter, your packaged HVAC unit pulls warmth from the outside air and pumps it into your home. In the summer, it does the reverse: it absorbs the heat in your home and releases it outdoors.

This saves you a lot of money and energy since you don’t need two separate systems (one for heating, one for cooling) — or to generate new heat by burning fossil fuels.

Other packaged HVAC systems are hybrid gas-electric; a gas furnace complements the heat pump, providing warmth on the chilliest days.

How Does a Packaged Air Conditioner Work?

A packaged air conditioner contains all the elements of a split system — meaning it has an evaporator, condenser, and compressor — but they’re all housed in one unit, usually placed on the roof or next to your building.

The compact design saves space and can be more aesthetically pleasing than having multiple units.

The air handler (the evaporator and blower) is typically located inside the unit. The coils are outside, where they can efficiently release heat.

The compressor is also outside; it regulates refrigerant levels and helps move heat around.

Packaged AC units work similarly to split systems:

  • Warm air is pulled into the evaporator coils, cooled, and circulated back into your home.
  • The refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air, turning from a gas to a liquid.
  • The now-hot refrigerant moves to the compressor, which pressurizes it and sends it to the condenser coils.
  • The refrigerant releases its heat in the condenser coils and returns to a gaseous state.
  • The process then starts repeatedly, circulating cool air throughout your home.
Installing a packaged air conditioner

Benefits of Packaged Air Conditioners

Packaged air conditioners offer several benefits over split cooling and heating systems.

  • Easy installation: Packaged air conditioners have only one unit to install and no separate heating and cooling units. They usually require less ductwork; some packaged systems don’t attach to ductwork at all.
  • Flexibility: Packaged units can be installed on the roof or ground level, making them popular for homes and businesses with limited space.
  • Energy efficiency: Many newer models are highly energy-efficient, helping to lower your energy costs.
  • Easy maintenance: Because packaged air conditioners are simpler and self-contained, maintenance calls are shorter. There’s no moving back and forth between components. There’s less to go wrong.
  • Quieter operation: Many newer models are ultra-quiet. Also, everything stays outdoors — no indoor components, as with split HVAC.

Who Uses Packaged AC?

Packaged units are often installed in:

  • Smaller homes
  • Apartments
  • Townhouses
  • Hotel rooms
  • Commercial office spaces

Does a Packaged AC Make Sense for You?

You might choose a packaged AC unit if:

  • You have a small home or business and can’t accommodate separate units.
  • You want a single, aesthetically pleasing unit on your roof or next to your building.
  • You need year-round comfort and want to replace a much larger HVAC system.

If you’re not sure whether a packaged air conditioner is right for your home or business, our HVAC experts can help you decide. We’ll evaluate your home or office, recommend the best system for you, and provide a free estimate for installation.

Call us today!

Repairing a packaged HVAC unit

Types of Packaged AC Units


The most common type of packaged AC unit is the single-stage unit. Its compressor is either on or off. It’s cooling your home at full blast or not at all.

Single-stage units are great for mild climates, but they cycle on and off more frequently in hotter areas, which can wear down the compressor and lead to higher energy bills.


Multi-stage units have two compressors: one for low capacity and one for high. This allows the unit to run at partial capacity, conserving energy and preventing the system from cycling on and off.

Multi-stage units are ideal for hot, humid climates — like much of Los Angeles — since they can better maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.


Variable-capacity units are the most energy-efficient type of packaged air conditioner. They have a compressor that can run at different speeds, meaning the unit can adjust to changing temperatures and better maintain a comfortable indoor environment.

Our Packaged AC Installation Services

Call us to schedule a free consultation. We’ll help you choose the right-size unit for your home or business and determine the best location for installation.

We’ll install the unit according to the manufacturer’s specifications and local building codes. Once we’ve finished, we’ll test the system to make sure it’s working correctly and answer any questions you have about operation and maintenance.

Chief has over a quarter-century of experience in HVAC technology; we’ve worked with thousands of businesses and homeowners in the Los Angeles area. Our goal is to ensure your complete satisfaction with our work.

If you’re not happy with our installation, we’ll make it right — guaranteed.

Our Packaged AC Replacement & Repair Services

Whether your packaged air conditioner is on the fritz or it’s time for an upgrade, Chief can help. We offer repair and replacement services for all types of packaged AC units.

We’ll diagnose the problem and give you a written estimate for the repair before we do any work. Once you approve the estimate, we’ll get to work fixing your unit. If we find that your unit is beyond repair, we’ll recommend a replacement and help you choose the best new unit for your home or business.

Packaged AC Maintenance & Service

Our HVAC experts will clean and inspect your unit, checking for wear and tear. We’ll also test the system to keep it operating at peak efficiency.

If we find any problems, we’ll let you know and provide an estimate for repair. Regular maintenance can help prevent major repairs down the road, so it’s a good investment for any home or business owner.

Call us today!