Commercial HVAC Systems and Residential HVAC Systems: Major Difference Between Them

Some people might think there’s not much difference between commercial HVAC systems and residential products designed to accomplish the same tasks of heating and cooling. However, the differences are significant and should be understood before determining specifications for HVAC equipment repair or installation. Listed below are the most important differences.

Residential vs. Commercial HVAC Systems

Size

The 800-pound Gorilla in the room is the size of the two types of equipment. Obviously, commercial HVAC equipment is generally larger than residential equipment because it has to deal with much larger spaces than most homes and residences. Size also dictates sound transmission as well and commercial units tend to have louder operating characteristics than residential units. Ultimately, size dictates weight as well and commercial products can outweigh their residential counterparts by double or more.

Placement

The locations used to place HVAC equipment is usually very different for commercial equipment compared to residential equipment. Commercial HVAC equipment is normally located on the roof surfaces of the building. For this reason, electrical and plumbing issues are more complex as well as calculations used to determine capacity and coverage areas. Residential equipment is normally located in two places, inside and outside of the building. Air conditioners are set up outside the residence while heaters and furnaces are located inside the structure. Newer technologies in both commercial and residential products have reduced their footprints over traditional equipment.

Components

The internal components and equipment that powers and produces heat and cooling are quite different as well. Due to the nature and size of commercial HVAC products, all of the components are located in the same enclosure. This makes repair and maintenance much faster and easier. Residential units have their equipment split between the inside and outside of the building which makes servicing the equipment more difficult. Upgrades and changes to equipment are more easily performed on commercial HVAC systems due to being comprised of components that can be switched in and out easily. Residential units aren’t normally able to accept major upgrades or changes without a complete equipment swap. 

Drainage

Many climates and environments require HVAC equipment to drain excess moisture when it forms on condensers or other components. Commercial HVAC equipment requires substantially more drain capacity than residential and therefore has dedicated drainage pipes to convey water away. Residential units often have much less water to deal with and can drain into a floor or washing machine evacuation line.

Maintenance

Commercial HVAC units require a higher level of maintenance than most residential units. Cleaning and maintenance of a commercial product can be accomplished more readily as all the items requiring attention are located within the same space. Residential units require less routine maintenance in most situations, however, most manufacturers recommend an annual checkup nonetheless. Advances in materials, electronics, and operating system performance have significantly reduced the amount of maintenance required for modern HVAC equipment. Importantly, the improvements in design and engineering have resulted in the need for trained technical specialists to diagnose and repair malfunctioning equipment.

Cost

The other 800-pound Gorilla in the room is cost. Without question, commercial HVAC equipment is more expensive to purchase than most residential equipment. The components engineered into commercial systems are built for continuous use for extended periods under severe conditions. Residential products are designed for use under tough conditions, however, due to the method of usage, they are not engineered to work the long hours that commercial units endure. The costs of operating the equipment are vastly different as well. Electricity and/or natural gas consumption in commercial units outpace energy demands for residential by a significant margin, adding to the overall expense of ownership.

Residential VS. Commercial HVAC Systems: It All Adds Up

While there may be a few instances where commercial HVAC equipment overlaps residential equipment specifications or performance, it is only on the low-capacity end of the commercial-grade products and the highest-capacity end of residential equipment. It only makes sense to use the proper products for the given environment. As a result, the user’s experience is going to be better and the equipment used will provide comfort more readily.

Repair Commercial HVAC Systems in Texas

Experts like the pros at ProToCall know the differences and are ready to provide exactly what is needed at the best price and with the finest support in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Our commercial HVAC system technicians are standing by for installation, repair, and maintenance. Contact ProToCall at 866-297-5082.