Major Differences Between Commercial and Residential HVAC Systems

While both residential and commercial HVAC systems heat and cool interior spaces, they have very different setups. Maintenance for each of these systems isn’t interchangeable, so you want to hire an HVAC company that is knowledgeable about your particular type. Doing so will ensure that you get quality service from a technician who has ample experience maintaining and repairing your type of unit.

1. Location

Perhaps the most obvious distinction between residential and commercial HVAC systems is location. Residential systems are usually located on the ground, just outside of or next to the home. Commercial systems are almost always located on the roof, with some located in swamp coolers. The rooftop location allows for less disruptive access during working hours, and enables the commercial units to be appropriately large in scale.

2. Size

Another very visible difference between commercial and residential systems is their relative size. Residential systems are highly uniform, as they don’t have to heat and cool a very large area when compared with commercial units. Commercial units often have to provide service to a significant amount of square footage.

3. Prepackaged vs. Split

Commercial systems are manufactured in prepackaged units, and all components are housed in one cabinet. A split system is used for residential units, with the condenser and compressor located outside the home, and the evaporator and blower located inside.

4. Drainage

Commercial and residential systems have different types of drainage in place, which is important when maintenance needs to be performed. Residential units use only a single condensation pan that drains to the outside. Commercial units, on the other hand, have a complex drainage system since they often handle extremely large spaces.

5. Ventilation

Since residential units are relatively small, windows alone are used for proper ventilation. Commercial systems use other components instead of windows in order to provide enough ventilation for general exhaust.

6. Modular vs. Standalone

Since residential and commercial units usually differ in size, they are also configured differently. Residential systems are standalone, with two units that work together. When one unit needs to be replaced, it is necessary to replace both, as combining an older unit with a newer one results in harmful wear and tear. By contrast, commercial units are modular, which means separate modules can be added and removed, depending on the need. These modules also make it easier to assemble and disassemble the system.

In order to ensure that you get proper service from a qualified technician, choose an HVAC company that is well versed in the type of system you have, whether commercial or residential.

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