Five Common Types of HVAC Systems for Commercial Buildings

Having a commercial building that is comfortable during the extremes of summer and winter is fantastic. It keeps your employees and customers happy and comfortable all year round.

HVAC systems are part and parcel of modern buildings. They include condensers, thermostats, evaporator coils, air compressors, heat exchangers, and air handlers.

These systems keep humidity consistent, indoor air quality high, and provide comfortable temperatures. In this review, you shall learn about the five types of HVAC systems for commercial buildings and how each of them function.

Types of Commercial HVAC Systems for Businesses

There are different commercial building HVAC systems, including single-split, multi-split, packaged HVAC, variable refrigerant flow, and hybrid heat pumps. It is important to note that their functionality is similar in these areas:

  • They pass air through water-cooled or refrigerant systems hence lowering the temperature. Additionally, these commercial HVAC units remove excess water from the air.
  • The ventilation units maintain the air clean and fresh by circulating it through fans.
  • The heating system heats the air using gas, radiator coils, and water.

Now, let’s see how each one of these industrial HVAC systems are unique and figure out how they work:

1. Single-Split Systems

As its name suggests, this unit connects one indoor system to an outdoor one. Most commercial buildings prefer it due to its affordability and suitability for small commercial spaces. For example, the cost ranges from $3000 to $7000.

The single-split systems work perfectly for buildings that contain many small facilities. With this system, the room occupants control the indoor environment. They are also ideal for offices that have restaurant or server rooms.

The good news is that the single split in one room does not affect the others; if one is faulty, the others will still be functional. And as for the drawback, this system consumes a lot of space. It is because one indoor unit should be paired with another outdoor one.

2. Multi-Split Systems

They are similar in operation to the single-split units. The only difference is connecting multiple indoor units to a single outdoor system. Depending on the manufacturer, they can connect up to ten or more units with a single outdoor system.

The benefits of these systems include:

  • They minimize space. This is because only a few outdoor units are required.
  • They are convenient as they are economical. This is because a single outdoor unit can power up to four indoor units.
  • The heat pumps in this system operate with natural inclination, saving energy and money.

Big offices, businesses, and restaurants use this approach. The cost is a bit higher than the single-split system. It ranges from $3900 to $4900.

The installation and maintenance cost is also high because they use more pipework when connecting to each indoor unit.

3. Variable Refrigerant Flow

It is a more-detailed industrial HVAC system and is also referred to as the variable refrigerant volume (VRV). Like the multi-split system, it links multiple indoor systems to an exterior one.

However, their mode of operation is somewhat different. For instance, the VRV system will capture heat from the warmer spaces during the cooling procedure and redistribute it to the areas that require heating.

The VRV is ideal for facilities that need customized cooling and heating in zones like office buildings, factories, and restaurants. However, this system’s costs and installation fee are pretty high compared to the other two.

The merits of using this commercial HVAC system include:

  • Simultaneous heating control and zonal cooling.
  • They are flexible in design- they can connect several outdoor units to increase the entire system’s capacity. 

4. Packaged HVAC Systems

This type of HVAC in commercial buildings comes in one unit. Everything is installed right outside your building.

Properties that do not have indoor space for storing their equipment love this type of system. They are installed on the rooftop of a commercial building.

One of the benefits of this system is that they are not as noisy as its other counterparts. You will barely hear them functioning even when you are inside a building. However, the downside of these systems is that they require ductwork, affecting their flexibility.

5. Hybrid Heat Pumps

Unlike most commercial HVAC systems designed for either cooling or heating, hybrid heat pumps offer all three functions in one unit. First, they function like air conditioners by getting rid of the heat from the air.

Second, the hybrid heat pump has a furnace as a part of its split system setup. It is perfect for commercial buildings in colder climates, such as retail centers, gyms, and schools.

Factors You Should Know About the Types of HVAC Systems for Commercial Buildings

You cannot just walk into an appliance outlet and buy any commercial HVAC system. You have to do your due diligence in the following areas:

Installation cost– price is a factor you cannot ignore when purchasing an HVAC system. It is important to compare the different installation costs for every commercial system. Have a budget plan and see which price works best for you.

Air quality-go for a commercial HVAC system that promotes indoor air quality to evade unnecessary downtime.

Building size– ensure you understand the relationship between the size of your system and that of the building to avoid inefficiency and poor performance.

Local climate– it is important to consider your local climate when selecting your HVAC system for commercial use. Consider the place where the building is geographically situated.

Cooling and heating needs– before buying any HVAC system, understand the types of businesses that operate in your commercial building. For example, a packaging warehouse’s cooling and heating requirements differ from a restaurant or hotel. The kind of organizations operating in your building will determine the HVAC system they need.

Energy efficiency – this is another crucial factor when looking for an HVAC unit for your commercial property. Purchase one that does not consume much energy and is highly productive. You do this by researching the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER).

Once you have settled on the type of HVAC you want for your commercial building, ensure that you conduct regular maintenance, say two to three times every year.

Contact an HVAC Professional to Learn More About the Types of HVAC Systems for Commercial Buildings

Keeping your commercial HVAC system in check is crucial as you can figure out which component has a problem. You can do the maintenance on your own, however, you’ll always get better results when you hire a professional HVAC technician.

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