Do you know the differences between residential HVAC and commercial HVAC? Knowing the differences can help you choose the right contractor for your routine maintenance, repairs and HVAC replacements.
Residential HVAC contractors repair, replace and maintain central air conditioning and heating units on single-family homes. These units often contain an outdoor condenser that is located near an outside wall and is responsible for dissipating heat and an indoor unit that is responsible for filtering the air and pushing the cool air through the air ducts.
Commercial HVAC units are much larger than residential HVAC units because they are needed to cool much larger spaces, and they must be repaired, maintained and installed by commercial HVAC contractors that are familiar with large systems. These units are typically located on rooftops, and depending on the size of the building, more than one rooftop unit may be installed. Unlike the residential HVAC system, the commercial rooftop unit is an all-in-one unit that contains everything needed to heat and cool the building. The only items located inside the commercial or large multi-story building are the air ducts and the thermostats.
The Primary Differences Between Commercial and Residential HVAC Units
There are three main differences between commercial and residential HVAC units, including the size of the units, the location and the expansion options.
1. Size and Power of the Unit
Commercial HVAC units are often much larger and much more powerful than their residential counterparts. This is because they must be able to heat, cool and dehumidify the occupied spaces of the building, which could range in size from 5,000 square feet to more than 100,000 square feet. By contrast, single-family residential homes average about 2,000 square feet, and their heating and cooling functions are often separate with the cooling functions being controlled by the central air conditioner and the heating functions controlled by a furnace or heat pump.
2. Location of the HVAC Unit
Because commercial HVAC units are so large, they are often located on rooftops to keep the bulky and oftentimes unsightly equipment out of view of the public. Rooftops also offer lots of room, which means multiple rooftop units can be easily connected together to add heating and cooling power. Residential HVAC units are rarely located on roofs. Instead, the inside parts of the unit are typically located inside an HVAC closet, and the outdoor unit is typically located near an exterior wall and connected to the interior unit via copper piping and electrical wiring.
3. Expansion Options
Residential HVAC units are not typically expandable. Instead, the residential HVAC technician chooses the right sized unit by calculated the occupied square feet, number of doors and windows and ceiling heights. Once the area to be cooled is known, the right sized unit can be purchased and installed. If expansions are performed on the house and additional cooling power is needed, the unit has to be replaced with a large HVAC system.
By contrast, commercial HVAC units are designed to be expandable. If the commercial building undergoes a renovation that increases the occupied square footage, additional rooftop units can be connected to the existing units in order to provide more heating and cooling power.
Residential and Commercial HVAC Services with Althoff
We are proud to be able to provide the entire city of Chicago and the surrounding communities with residential HVAC services and commercial HVAC services. Our residential and commercial heating and cooling technicians are experienced in repairing, replacing and maintaining all types of HVAC equipment from complex rooftop units located on multi-unit multi-story buildings to central units located outside single-family homes.
To talk to one of our HVAC technicians about replacing, repairing or maintaining your residential HVAC system, call us at 815-455-7000. To have your commercial HVAC system serviced, replaced or upgraded, call us at 800-225-2443.