Commercial vs. Residential HVAC: What Are the Main Differences?

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It may come as a surprise, but typically, there are different HVAC tech professionals trained to work on commercial systems than those trained to work on residential systems. The functionality of each system might be similar, but they are inherently different in complexity and maintenance. Not to mention the size and location are quite different as well. To put it simply, there are too many different commercial and residential properties for one professional to be skilled in both areas.

That said, it isn’t unheard of to find a technician that can do both. Regardless, the time, energy, and resources put into commercial HVAC are quite different from residential HVAC.

Size and Location

Perhaps one of the main differences between commercial and residential heating and cooling is their size and location. First, commercial HVAC systems are large because they have to be. A commercial property sees far more people in a given day than a home.

commercial ac unit

Those people also most likely depend on the commercial property to be open on a daily basis. Therefore there’s a lot of added pressure on commercial HVAC technicians to always get the job done right and on-time for the property owner.

The above-stated reasons point to why the commercial HVAC system must be larger. Commercial properties themselves are much larger, so it’s only right that the system accounts for that size-difference.

The other main difference is where the unit gets installed. In residential properties, the unit is placed somewhere outside around the base of the home. Commercial heating and cooling systems are almost always placed on the roof. These systems are large, so it’s safest if they are out of the way from the general public. Not to mention, they are an eyesore as well.

The Complexity of Each HVAC System

There are three types of commercial HVAC systems to choose from:

  • Single-Split System
  • Multi-Split System
  • VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) or VRV (Variable Refrigerant Volume)

The multi-split system tends to be the most complex and is reserved for large-scale companies. This system allows the company to have 9 indoor units attached to a single outdoor unit with ease.

Residential homes most often have a system similar to the commercial single-split system. It’s essentially one heater, one air conditioner, and a thermostat. Both systems take a licensed professional to install, but the commercial system is inherently more complex because it must accommodate more people.

Functionality and Maintenance

maintenance cost

Generally speaking, each system is quite similar in functionality. Every HVAC system follows the same sequence of functions:

  • The compressor compresses the refrigerant
  • The condenser blows hot air over the refrigerant vapor to liquefy it
  • The expansion valve turns the refrigerant into a low-pressure liquid, which cools it
  • Evaporator coil transfers the heat, which turns the cool liquid into a hot gas

However, maintenance on a modular commercial HVAC system is a little more intricate than residential. It is fair to say that they are both equally important to fix properly and on-time, but commercial systems require more functionality in terms of the number of fixtures. In turn, the maintenance may take longer or a couple of people to accomplish.

Choose Go Green Express Home Services Today!

There is no time to waste when the HVAC system breaks down. Hudson Valley homeowners can call Go Green Express Home Services whenever they need help, and these experts will arrive professionally, work efficiently, and won’t quit until the customer is satisfied. Call today to schedule your HVAC maintenance.