Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems serve dual purposes, whether they are used in residential or commercial settings. Commercial HVAC systems comprise a series of components to provide heating and cooling to buildings like schools, office premises, hospitals, shopping malls and hotels.
Here, we’ll explore what a commercial HVAC system is, how it works, the different types of HVAC systems and the importance of properly maintaining these components.
What Is a Commercial HVAC System?
Commercial heating and cooling systems ensure the internal temperatures in a building remain under control, providing cooled air during the summer and warmth in the winter. At the same time, the ventilation system ensures that the quality of the air and humidity levels remain constant and appropriate. This measure prevents occupants from feeling stuffy and drowsy due to breathing stale, unfiltered air.
Each HVAC component has a distinct function to ensure the whole system operates efficiently.
How Do HVAC Systems Work?
The main objective of an HVAC system is to move hot and cold air through a building while maintaining a high level of air quality throughout. An HVAC system involves numerous components that are installed in different sections of a commercial structure. They are often connected to each other through ducts, although some structures use ductless systems.
Commercial HVAC systems generally work as follows:
- An occupant adjusts the desired temperature on a thermostat control.
- Air from the outside is sucked inside by the intake system via ducts.
- This air runs through an air filtration system to remove pollutants and airborne particles to make it safe for internal circulation.
- If the occupant chooses to heat up the room, the relevant heating system will activate and distribute warm air accordingly. Commercial HVAC systems will often use a furnace, heat pump or boiler for heat generation.
- To cool the room, an air conditioner removes heat in the air and circulates cold air in its place.
- Dampers promote proportionate temperature control in larger buildings where temperatures fluctuate, enabling individual zones to have their own temperature variations.
- Fans and ventilation equipment help remove musty, hot or cold air inside and replace it with fresh air from the outside.
HVAC professionals for commercial buildings will install and maintain this equipment properly, ensuring long-lasting, reliable systems.
Different Types of HVAC Systems
There are various types of HVAC systems on the market, each using a different method to accomplish its purpose of cooling, heating or moving air.
A few of the most common heating systems include:
- Furnaces: Furnaces are used to spread heat through the building by burning natural gas and distributing the heated air. Some models may burn oil or propane as a substitute.
- Heat pumps: A heat pump can heat or cool a building by pushing heat from the outside to the inside or vice versa.
- Boilers: With this system, boiling water is pushed through underfloor heating pads or pipes in the walls or the ceiling. The underfloor or wall radiates heat, which is felt throughout the building.
The right cooling system enables occupants to enjoy a comfortable environment within a building even when there is extreme heat outside. The following are a few popular types of cooling systems:
- Single-split systems: Better suited for small commercial buildings, a single-split system has a fixed compressor outside the building and an evaporator unit inside the room that needs temperature regulation. These are connected by a refrigerant that cools the air moving between the units. A furnace is also connected to provide heat when required.
- Multi-split systems: The multi-split system works on the same principle as the single-split system but is suitable for large commercial buildings. Here, a few indoor units are connected to one large outdoor unit instead of one unit on both sides.
- Variable refrigerant flow systems: This system controls the temperature in different parts of a building using refrigerants that heat or cool the spaces accordingly.
- Chilled water systems: Similar to boilers, this system cools the air through wall piping using cold water produced in air handling units.
- Central A/C: A centralized control unit cools the air in the building by circulating it through vents and ducts in the walls and ceiling.
It’s important to maintain the right amount of humidity and air cleanliness in an internal environment when using an HVAC system. Some effective ventilation systems include:
- Air filters: Air filters remove dust and other particles from air pulled in from outside.
- Fans: Fans move air through the vents into the rooms.
- Energy recovery ventilators: These units assist in preheating or precooling air that enters the building.
- Air intake vents: Air from inside and outside is exchanged through intake vents using this system.
Commercial vs. Residential HVAC Systems
The main and obvious difference between commercial vs. residential HVAC systems is the scale. However, they also differ in a few other ways:
- Capacity: Since commercial buildings are larger, they require HVAC systems with a high capacity to produce the required internal temperature.
- Energy efficiency: Since they must treat large areas, commercial HVAC systems are designed to use minimal amounts of energy and save on operating costs. Residential systems may prioritize efficiency as well, but the results of those efforts will be less noticeable.
- Maintenance requirements: Commercial HVAC systems cover vast areas and work much harder than residential setups. As a result, they need more regular cleaning and inspections.
- Control systems: While residential HVAC systems have easy-to-use, simple controls to regulate the temperature, the controls on commercial HVAC units tend to be more complex because they power multiple areas simultaneously.
The Importance of Proper HVAC Maintenance
Hiring professionals to maintain your commercial or residential HVAC system is important for numerous reasons:
- Saving money: You’ll save money by regularly maintaining your HVAC system, as having it inspected and correcting small problems early will prevent the need for major repairs.
- Energy efficiency: If your HVAC system experiences issues due to negligence, buildup and irregular inspection, it can’t operate at its best, leading to energy waste and higher utility bills
- Safety concerns: A lack of maintenance may lead to malfunctions that could cause carbon monoxide and gas emissions that are dangerous to building occupants.
- Longer life span: Regular HVAC unit inspection, lubrication and cleaning will extend its service life and your return on investment.
- Improved comfort and air quality: A well-maintained HVAC system delivers optimal air quality to promote health and wellness for everyone in a structure.
Any form of maintenance should be done by a professional HVAC company to ensure your warranty remains intact and your system fully functional. Protect your investment by scheduling proper maintenance at the intervals recommended by the unit’s manufacturer.
Choose Drake’s Construction & Restoration for Your Commercial HVAC System Installation
If you’re looking for information on commercial HVAC systems or need service for your existing unit, reach out to the professionals at Drake’s Construction & Restoration. We provide Parkersburg, West Virginia, with residential and commercial HVAC services, construction, roofing, remodeling and more, and we’re prepared to take on any job, big or small.