Most residential heating and cooling systems are not powerful enough to maintain a comfortable temperature in a business or building. Commercial heating, ventilation and cooling systems are designed to cool and heat larger spaces, such as retail stores, restaurants, and office buildings. Commercial heating and cooling units tend to be much larger than their residential counterparts and consist of many more complex parts to aid in operation.
Due to the complexity of commercial HVAC systems, business owners must rely on licensed technicians who have experience and training specific to commercial heating and cooling work. When installing a commercial HVAC system, there are many more influencing factors to be considered, such as the size of the building, its layout, the amount of space available to set up the units, and how to protect the system from vandalism.
Much like residential heating and cooling units, there are several different types of commercial HVAC systems with different functionalities and sold at different price points. It is important to understand the differences between residential and commercial HVAC systems and to ensure that the correct unit is chosen for a specific business.
Differences Between Residential & Commercial HVAC
Residential and commercial HVAC systems have similar functionalities and serve the same basic purpose, which is to cool and heat. However, the similarities stop there. From the installation to the equipment used, there are many differences between home and business heating and cooling units. In addition to installation and operation, both residential and commercial HVAC equipment have different maintenance requirements with business-based units requiring more extensive and frequent care. Some of the other common differences include:
The Overall Size Of The HVAC System
Commercial HVAC systems are generally responsible for heating and cooling large areas. While the most common central AC size for the majority of residential homes is 2- or 2.5-ton units, commercial AC units can go as high as 30 tons or more.
The size of an HVAC system directly impacts its ability to perform. Most business establishments have a constant stream of people going in and out. An HVAC system must be large enough to accommodate these frequent ebbs and flows, even in the coldest and hottest weather. An experienced HVAC technician will determine the size of the unit needed for the building based on square footage, in addition to other factors.
The Placement Of The HVAC System
Placement of a commercial HVAC unit differs from that of a residential HVAC unit for several reasons. Typically, you will see a residential air conditioner installed in a backyard or on the side of a home; however, this is not usually a viable solution for commercial units. Commercial HVAC units are typically placed on the roof of a building or in swamp coolers to save space and avoid noise pollution in a building. In addition, having HVAC units installed in these secluded areas helps ensure that repairs and other maintenance do not cause disruptions to the business.
Complexity Of The System
Commercial HVAC units tend to be more complex than residential systems due to their larger size and ability to extend over more square footage. Unlike most home units, a commercial unit often allows for individual temperature control in each department. In addition, commercial systems take into account factors including the number of occupants in the building. Commercial HVAC systems consist of several critical components, such as a thermostat, furnace, heat exchanger, ductwork, vents, and refrigerant lines. The system facilitates three main processes, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning with each of these processes requiring its own components.
The Equipment Used
Most commercial HVAC systems are available as a single package while most residential HVAC units are a split system design. A single package includes multiple thermostats to be installed in various parts of a building. This can cause the installation process to be more challenging due to the number of wires, parts, switches, and other equipment needed to make the system run flawlessly.
Residential HVAC systems feature two main parts, a compressor located indoors and an evaporator located outdoors. Having two parts that are split means expansion and modification capabilities are more limited. However, residential HVAC units contain fewer parts which make them more affordable to install and maintain.
Speak To The Experienced Commercial HVAC Contractors
Having a building that stays warm in the winter and cools in the summer is crucial for employee and tenant health and comfort. Heating, ventilation, and cooling systems are essential components of a modern building and with proper maintenance can last, on average, 10 to 15 years.
To keep a commercial HVAC system running properly, it is important to schedule spring and fall checkups to have the components cleaned and inspected. Thermostat programming should also be reset seasonally. To learn more about commercial HVAC systems or how they differ from residential units, reach out to the expert commercial HVAC contractors at Cool Works Co.