HVAC 101: What is Commercial HVAC? - Your Complete Guide

December 12, 2022

There are many factors to consider when purchasing commercial HVAC in any city. It's also important to understand what you're looking at and what it means to the quality of your HVAC system, comfort, and energy efficiency. This guide will explain the basics of commercial HVAC systems so you can make an informed choice about your next purchase.

What is Commercial HVAC?

Commercial HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) provides temperature control for large non-residential buildings like shopping malls, office buildings, hospitals, and factories. It works by circulating air from the outside into the building through ducts and vents. This air is then heated or cooled according to the desired temperature setting and distributed throughout the commercial building. Commercial HVAC can be either mechanical (such as a furnace) or electrical (such as air conditioning units). They are typically more robust than residential heating and cooling systems due to their ability to service larger spaces.

An energy-efficient commercial HVAC system can save costs through lower energy bills and improved comfort levels. It also helps reduce emissions by decreasing the energy required to cool or heat a building, making it an essential part of sustainability efforts. However, a qualified HVAC technician should perform regular maintenance and tune-ups to ensure that commercial HVAC systems are functioning correctly. This will help ensure the system runs efficiently and safely, providing optimal comfort levels for occupants. It will also ensure air quality for the occupants.

Contact your local HVAC professional or browse online resources for more information on commercial HVAC. They can provide additional details on installation requirements, energy-efficiency tips, maintenance instructions, and more. With the correct information, you can ensure your commercial HVAC system runs smoothly and efficiently.

how does commercial hvac work

How Does a Commercial HVAC System Work?

A commercial HVAC system is a complex network of components that create comfortable indoor air. It consists of four main parts: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condenser coil, and an expansion valve. The evaporator coil works by drawing heat from the air inside the building, which is then transferred to the refrigerant inside the evaporator coil. The compressor then pressurizes and circulates the refrigerant throughout the system, allowing it to absorb more heat from the air before returning to the evaporator coil. Finally, the condenser coil releases this collected heat outside the building while cooling down the circulating refrigerant. The expansion valve then helps maintain a consistent temperature throughout the system by controlling refrigerant flow. All these components work together to create a comfortable climate inside a commercial building or space.

In addition, commercial HVAC systems use air filters to help clean and circulate air within the building. Air filters help reduce airborne particles such as dust, pollen, and other contaminants from entering the space while improving air quality.

Finally, commercial HVAC systems are typically connected to a thermostat. Thermostats help regulate and control the temperature of the building by sensing the current room temperature, then activating heating or cooling components accordingly. This ensures that the building is always kept at the desired temperature for optimal comfort.

In conclusion, commercial HVAC systems are a complex network of components that work together to create comfortable indoor air. Combining an evaporator coil, compressor, condenser coil, expansion valve, air filters, and thermostat ensures that the building is always at an optimal temperature while providing clean air to breathe.

commercial hvac

The Difference Between Residential and Commercial HVAC

The main difference between commercial and residential heating and air conditioning systems is the size. Commercial systems are generally much more extensive and require more ductwork than residential ones. In addition, commercial heating and cooling systems are often only used to heat or cool specific building areas. In contrast, residential HVAC systems must maintain an even temperature throughout the house.

A commercial HVAC system is modular, while a residential unit is standalone. Residential units usually provide primary heating and cooling, with auxiliary devices providing secondary functions such as dehumidification, humidification, ventilation, and air filtration. On the other hand, commercial units use two sets of equipment for primary heating and direct cooling. Auxiliary devices may still be present, typically in smaller quantities than in residential systems.

Overall, the power of commercial HVAC systems is more significant, so hiring professionals who know what they're doing when installing these machines is essential. Just because a company advertises itself as a full-service contractor doesn't mean it can install your commercial HVAC system; most will subcontract the installation work to others. Always ask if the company you're looking at has installation capabilities, especially for commercial HVAC units, before signing anything!

 Types of Commercial HVAC Systems

Different types of commercial HVAC systems can be used to maintain comfortable temperatures and air quality in office spaces, warehouses, retail stores, and other large commercial buildings.

1. Variable Air Volume (VAV) Systems: VAV systems are one of the most popular types of HVAC systems for more significant commercial buildings because they provide excellent control of airflow and temperature while also helping to reduce energy consumption. VAV systems work by controlling the amount of conditioned air that is being delivered to individual rooms or areas in the building. This allows you to maintain comfortable temperatures throughout the space with minimal energy consumption.

2. Split Systems: A single split system is an HVAC system that uses two separate units for heating and cooling. One unit is located indoors, while the other is found outdoors. Split systems are an excellent option for large commercial buildings because they can provide heating and cooling to different areas.

3. Packaged Systems: A packaged system is an HVAC system with all components located in one unit. This type of setup is great for buildings that don't have a lot of space, as it takes up less room than other commercial HVAC systems. Packaged systems can also be used to provide both heating and cooling to different areas within the building.

4. Heat Pumps: Heat pumps are an HVAC system that uses natural heat from the outside air to warm your indoor spaces. This is an excellent option for commercial buildings because it helps reduce energy consumption and costs associated with heating and cooling. Heat pumps can also be used with other types of HVAC systems to provide heating and cooling to different areas within the building.

No matter what type of commercial HVAC system you choose, it's essential to have a professional installer come in to ensure that it is installed correctly. A professional can determine the best type of system for your specific needs and ensure that it runs efficiently throughout the year.

What is variable refrigerant flow?

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) is a sophisticated heating and cooling system that efficiently delivers refrigerant to multiple indoor units. It uses a single outdoor condensing unit that can be connected to up to 64 indoor evaporator units simultaneously. This allows it to precisely control temperature, humidity, and air quality in each room or area of a building. The system can also be zoned to provide different temperatures in different facility parts. It is an energy-efficient option, as it only uses the energy necessary for the desired comfort level at any given time.

Additionally, it minimizes noise pollution since all components are located outside and away from living spaces. VRF is essential for a commercial building, as it can support various applications and provide custom solutions to meet the needs of each room. VRF is also ideal for smaller commercial buildings, such as apartment buildings, where zoned climate control can help homeowners save money on their energy bills.


what is commercial hvac

The Importance of Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your heating and cooling system running efficiently. A well-maintained system will use less energy, saving you money on utility bills. Maintaining an annual inspection schedule is the most important thing you can do for your system's longevity. When a system is inspected, we can identify any problems that may arise and fix them before they get worse or cause more extensive damage.

Of course, if you've noticed that your system is not running at peak performance, don't wait until your annual inspection to fix it. Many problems can be resolved quickly by maintenance professionals who can often get to your location faster than an emergency technician.

Picking Between Different Commercial HVAC Systems

The first thing to consider is what type of system will work best for your building. Choosing the wrong approach can lead to inefficient cooling and heating, wasting energy and potentially hurting the air quality in the office. So when choosing a commercial HVAC system, you need to know how many people will be working in that space daily.

The first step is determining if your building needs one or multiple central units. Various units are great for more significant buildings but can be more expensive to install and maintain. It may make sense to have multiple units if you have several different-sized rooms in your building. Central units work best for smaller buildings with fewer rooms.

heating and cooling system - commercial building

When to Call a Professional for Your HVAC System

Installing a commercial HVAC system costs $6,000 to $30,000 or more; this cost will vary from building to building, depending on the size and needs of the business. HVAC replacements aren't a DIY job, nor should they be neglected until it's too late. But when do you know that it's time?

To determine whether or not you should hire someone, look at your local utility costs. Any time electricity usage is higher than usual, or if your bills are increasing and you haven't made any changes to your business or building's operations, that could indicate something is wrong with your HVAC system.

For example, if your building's air conditioning runs all day, seven days a week, it could indicate that something is wrong with your system and might need to be replaced.

Call a commercial HVAC professional to take care of any issues and get another replacement estimate. This will help you decide whether or not it makes sense to keep your current system in place or replace it with something newer and more energy efficient. If you're still unsure about when to call a commercial HVAC pro, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I feel like I am spending too much money on electricity bills every month?
  • Does my heating system break down often (or stay off)?
  • Have I seen my employees wearing jackets indoors or putting heaters under their desks for warmth?

If so, now is the time to call a commercial HVAC professional from our company, Greater Boston Heating and Air.

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