Differences Between Commercial and Residential HVAC Systems

If you’re a new homeowner, business owner, or just bought a large plot of land you’re planning to build on, there’s many things you have to do before people can safely exist in the environment. Of course there’s the construction of the buildings, proper electrical services, and proper plumbing installations. You also have to implement an HVAC system to properly regulate air flow and air quality in your building. But what you might not know is that there are different HVAC systems meant for different kinds of buildings.

How do you know which HVAC system to choose? It’s important to have the right HVAC system installed so you don’t run into problems later on down the road. There are two main types of HVAC systems: residential and commercial. This article helps you understand the main differences between those two systems. By the end, you’ll have a better idea of what you need to have installed.

Difference #1: Size

The first difference between commercial and residential HVAC systems is the size of each system. Commercial buildings are far larger than residential buildings, so it makes sense to need an HVAC system that scales to size.

Residential buildings typically include buildings such as houses, small business buildings, and other small spaces where there’s only a handful of people occupying it at any one time. Commercial buildings, on the other hand, are much larger and include spaces like department stores, warehouses, grocery stores, multi-level facilities, and more.

Because residential buildings don’t use as much space, their HVAC systems are smaller and built to accommodate the smaller building size. Commercial HVAC systems are much larger, taking up much more space than residential HVAC systems.

Difference #2: Equipment Needed

The equipment of an HVAC system includes anything that makes the system work properly. Residential spaces like homes use much different equipment than commercial buildings use. Furthermore, residential spaces are roughly the same size and have the same needs as one another. When it comes to commercial buildings, their sizes and individual needs vary.

When designing commercial HVAC equipment, technicians must consider the needs of that individual building. For example, one commercial building may need to be cooled to a certain, consistent temperature. Other commercial buildings might need a certain amount of airflow. No commercial building is the same, which is why the equipment used in each HVAC system varies and is far different than residential HVAC equipment.

Difference #3: Location

Another difference between commercial and residential HVAC systems is the location of the system.

An HVAC system’s location depends on the overall structure of the building. Although each residential building is different, their structures are roughly the same. Many HVAC systems in residential spaces are “hidden” from plain sight, with people only seeing vents or the air conditioning unit outside. All other ductwork, coils, and pipes are behind ceilings, walls, and such.

Commercial buildings have a little more leeway with their HVAC systems. Their components are easier to access, modify, and expand to the building owner’s needs and wants. Many commercial HVAC components are grouped together instead of split apart like residential space components.

Difference #4: Maintenance

Commercial HVAC systems typically require more maintenance and preventive measures than residential HVAC systems. If you think about it, it makes sense. Because commercial HVAC systems are so large compared to their residential counterparts, there’s a larger possibility of errors, broken components, and pieces of equipment to evaluate.

Commercial HVAC system components also have a different lifespan than residential system components which needs to be taken into account as far as maintenance goes. Despite the greater difference in components, commercial HVAC systems only need to be replaced every 15 years or so.

Residential buildings’ HVAC systems need to be completely replaced every 10 years, even for newer systems. Components used in residential HVAC systems can’t withstand the force and load that commercial components withstand.

Difference #5: Complexity

The complexity of an HVAC system directly correlates to the size and arrangement of the building.

Even though residential HVAC systems may be hidden in plain sight so to speak, these types of facilities tend to use fairly consistent temperatures and air conditions throughout. For example, a home may cool their home to one solid temperature throughout the day and a different temperature at night. Residential buildings typically have less complex HVAC systems than commercial buildings.

Although commercial building HVAC systems have their equipment grouped together, the complexity of such systems are greater than those of residential building systems. There are more pieces in commercial systems as well as different requirements for the buildings. For example, one portion of the building might need to be one temperature, and the room next door a different temperature.

Difference #6: Drainage

Another difference between commercial and residential HVAC systems is the drainage system of each. The drainage system of an HVAC system refers to the ventilation and exhaust components in that system. Additionally, the moisture produced in each system needs a way out so it doesn’t form mold throughout your home or commercial building. Usually, this is composed of pipes, vents, air ducts, and other coils.

Residential HVAC drainage is much less involved and produces less moisture than commercial drainage. The pipes, vents, and air ducts systems are simpler and smaller which is easier to handle and maintain for home owners and technicians.

Commercial buildings are larger and produce more drainage. This corresponds to a greater amount of pipes, vents, etc. than residential drainage. Additionally, commercial buildings may need maintenance more often to ensure every part’s in its place and functioning properly.

Difference #7: Mechanism

An HVAC system’s mechanism refers to how the components are manufactured and installed inside a building.

The mechanisms in a residential HVAC system are commonly referred to as standalone systems. This means that components are split apart and housed in different locations inside and outside the building.

Commercial HVAC system mechanisms are modular, meaning everything in the building is housed together.

Although this isn’t necessarily a big difference, technicians need to know the difference between the two when they perform maintenance on them.

Difference #8: Technicians Needed

One difference between commercial and residential HVAC systems you might not know about are the different technicians required for the job. Because residential and commercial systems are so different, they need technicians with different skill sets to get the job done right, the first time around.

As you know by now, residential HVAC systems are much more compact and “hidden” than commercial systems. Technicians installing parts for residential systems must be able to work inside these smaller, close-knit areas. They also have to have different personal skills. For example, these technicians often speak directly to customers to gather necessary information pertaining to fixes or installation.

Commercial HVAC technicians need the knowledge to install the more complex systems inside commercial buildings. Although the installation and maintenance process is roughly the same, the difference in volume of parts may be overwhelming to beginner technicians. Additionally, commercial HVAC experts may not have to speak directly with customers as much as residential technicians do.

It’s because of these differences that many HVAC technician companies only focus on one type of service: residential or commercial. However, some companies have the manpower and ability to provide individual services for both residential and commercial buildings.

Contact Rowbel Services For Assistance

Are you in need of servicing for your HVAC system? Maybe you need help discovering which type of HVAC system is right for your building? Rowbel Services is here to help you with all your questions and HVAC needs!

We aren’t like other HVAC technicians. We provide preventative maintenance, installation, and repairs to both commercial and residential buildings. All of our talented technicians have HVAC certifications so you know we have the proper knowledge and resources to get the job done right the first time around.

Here’s a little bit more about us! We’ve been in the mechanical and electrical field for years now, providing customers with customized services tailored specifically to their needs. Rowbel Services has many awards that showcase our fantastic skills as well as numerous 5-star reviews on Google.

Additionally, we recognize that interpersonal relationships are a must no matter how big or small our project is. Reliable service, accountability, and clear communication are at the forefront of what we do. Rowbel Services is proud to provide this high-quality service to all of Maryland and Virginia’s major metropolitan areas. If you have questions about whether or not we can help you out, just give us a call! We’ll get everything squared away for you.

Rowbel Services can’t wait to help you out and welcome you with open arms to our family. Call today for more information as well as an estimate completely free of charge! Our phone number is: 1-877-ROWBEL-1. If you don’t like phone calls, feel free to shoot us an email at service@rowbelservices.com.

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