Commercial HVAC System Types

Commercial hvac system external units

Avoid losing money with an inadequate HVAC system serving your commercial building. By knowing which commercial HVAC system best serves your commercial building, you can easily keep your entire building comfortable without straining your budget. gathered information about the different types of HVAC systems and how they keep your building’s climate controlled.

What Are the Types of Commercial HVAC Systems?

Purchasing a heating and cooling HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning) system for a commercial building, whether a new building or replacing the system in an existing property, can be overwhelming without knowing what types of HVAC systems are appropriate for your property.

The following are three categories under which you can classify most HVAC systems:

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

Single Split Systems – This affordable and very popular type of HVAC system is an excellent option for most small commercial buildings. Since this system allows individual heating and cooling, it is a popular choice for apartment buildings, hotels, schools, and multi-use buildings, housing restaurants, shops, offices, etc.

A single split system is comprised of one indoor installation and one corresponding outdoor installation connected by a refrigerant line and communication/electrical cables. The indoor installation houses a fan, a cooling coil, a heating section, and air filtration. The outdoor section consists of a compressor and a condenser.

Since each indoor unit of a single split system requires a dedicated outdoor unit, location and space may become problematic depending on the number of units needed. If the outdoor units are to be located on the building’s roof, the roof’s load capacity should be considered to avoid surpassing the roof’s dead load capacity.

Multi-Zone Systems – A multi-zone HVAC system uses a single compressor to power multiple air outlets. Unlike a single split system that works off one thermostat for temperature control, a multi-zone system provides individual control for each room’s temperatures.

Multi zone commercial hvac unit

Multi-zone systems are great solutions for new and existing constructions with non-ducted systems. They are an exceptional choice for room or office additions where extending or installing ductwork is not feasible. Multi-zone systems are a popular choice for small and medium-sized commercial buildings.

A multi-zone system is comprised of multiple indoor installations connected to one outdoor installation and connected by refrigerant lines and communication/electrical cables. Like single split systems, the indoor installation houses a fan, a cooling coil, a heating section, and air filtration, while the outdoor section consists of a compressor and condenser.

VRF or VRV Systems – A VRF or VRV system is a multi-zone type of system. With a single outside unit that may contain multiple compressors. This is connected to several inside units (up to 60 for some models) by refrigerant piping, electrical, and communication wiring.

Like single and multi-split systems, VRF or VRV systems use a refrigerant to heat and cool the air in the system. This refrigerant can be conditioned by a single unit or multiple outdoor units as it is circulated throughout the property to multiple indoor units. Unlike other types of systems, energy consumption can be reduced by allowing varying degrees of cooling in specific areas.

VRF or VRV systems can offer an excellent heating and cooling solution for larger commercial buildings due to its precise control over the refrigerant flow. Thanks to the system’s electronic expansion valves, each internal unit receives the exact amount of refrigerant needed to adjust or maintain the room it is in.

HVAC Interconnected Systems

Commercial buildings can benefit from various interconnected systems providing heating and cooling to individual floors, rooms, or spaces. You may see the following in a large-scale commercial HVAC system:

Heat Pumps – Uses heat extracted from air or water for heating. In a heat pump with a water source, water is piped through the structure to supply the heat pump.

Roof Top Units – These units can be found on the roof or ground, and duct conditioned air into the building. These units are very common in commercial HVAC applications.

Chillers – These units produce cool water distributed to cooling coils through piping systems.

Heaters – These come in two types:

• Hot air furnaces that burn fuel to heat the air
• Radiant heaters that use infrared radiation to heat objects directly.

The size and configuration of a commercial building’s HVAC system will be determined mainly by the amount of space contained in the building and its construction.

Tip: Keep your HVAC system operating at peak performance by having it serviced bi-annually, once in the spring and again in the fall.

Commercial hvav maintenance and repair

Types of Commercial HVAC Systems

In this article, you discovered the different types of HVAC systems, how they control your building’s climate and interconnected systems that aid in that process.

By installing an HVAC system that adequately controls the heating and cooling of your commercial building, you can absorb initial installation expenses and save money over time.

When an inadequate HVAC system is installed in a commercial building, expenses will increase dramatically from over-use and eventual upgrades or replacement of the system.