There are many types and varieties of HVAC systems, but there are two main categories: residential and commercial. Residential and commercial HVAC systems serve the same purposes, which are heating and cooling an indoor space. However, they accomplish these purposes differently. Residential and commercial HVAC systems vary in many aspects. Here are some of the ways that the two types of HVAC systems differ.

Six Differences in Residential and Commercial HVAC Systems

1. Size of the HVAC System

Commercial HVAC systems are much larger than residential HVAC systems. This is because commercial HVAC systems have to heat and cool much larger spaces. The bigger the building, the bigger the HVAC system needed to keep up with heating and cooling needs. Not only larger but also more powerful HVAC units are required for residential buildings to keep the temperatures of the spaces where they should be. Commercial HVAC units have to work much harder and therefore need more power to perform their intended functions. Additionally, commercial HVAC systems are larger than residential HVAC systems in that they span across larger areas. Typically, residential homes are smaller than commercial buildings, so they usually only need one HVAC unit to heat and cool the entire home. Commercial buildings, on the other hand, can be quite large and sometimes require multiple HVAC units to handle their heating and cooling needs. Commercial HVAC systems also need more expansive systems of ductwork than residential HVAC systems to carry the air from the HVAC units to different parts of the building.

2. Location of HVAC Units

Because residential HVAC systems are smaller, they require less space than commercial HVAC systems. Residential HVAC units can usually be found in crawlspaces, basements, or located outside on the side of the home. This is because these units are relatively small and unobtrusive. Commercial HVAC units are often located on the roof of the building. These units are larger and create a lot of noise, and a rooftop location means the building’s occupants will not be bothered by the sound. Additionally, HVAC units that are on the roof are much more easily accessible to HVAC technicians. They can provide maintenance and repairs without having to work around the operations and occupants of the commercial building. Furthermore, roof HVAC systems are more secure. Fewer people can access an HVAC system when it is on the roof than when is on the ground, which means there is less likelihood of vandalism; only those who need to access the HVAC system are able to when necessary.

3. Complexity of the HVAC System

The complexity of an HVAC system matches the complexity of the building in which it is installed. Residential HVAC systems are usually set to the same temperature throughout the home. This means the heating and cooling system can be fairly simple. Commercial HVAC systems, however, must be much more complex because commercial buildings often have different heating and cooling needs in different areas of the building. This requires HVAC systems that allow for different temperature zones that can be adjusted separately from one another. For example, large meeting rooms often have to be kept at a cooler temperature than other rooms because of the large number of people in them. Residential and commercial HVAC systems have to meet different needs, so they have different levels of complexity to allow them to meet those needs.

5. HVAC Equipment

Residential HVAC systems require much smaller equipment compared to the massive equipment of commercial HVAC systems. Residential systems are standardized and are mostly the same across homes. There can be some variation in the size of a residential HVAC unit based on the size of the home, but otherwise residential HVAC systems are largely the same. Commercial HVAC systems, on the other hand, are customized to meet the specific building’s heating and cooling needs. There are many more components and pieces of equipment involved in a commercial HVAC system to allow for these differences between systems. Additionally, commercial systems need to be able to accommodate humidity and temperature changes much more than residential systems. For this reason, commercial HVAC systems include more humidity and temperature control equipment.

4. HVAC System Drainage

Every component of a commercial HVAC system is bigger than those of residential HVAC systems, and the drainage system is no exception. Residential HVAC units heat and cool small areas, so the entire HVAC system can drain into just a single pan that can usually be found outside the home. A commercial HVAC system is much larger and more complex because it must meet the heating and cooling needs of a much larger area, so the drainage system must consist of multiple pipes and pans to make sure the drainage will evaporate completely without the risk of overflow.

6. HVAC System Layout

HVAC systems have different layouts depending on the structures in which they are installed. Residential HVAC systems are usually standalone systems. This means that both heating and cooling functions are done within one system. All vents, ducts, and system controls are used for meeting both heating and cooling needs. Most residential systems are also split systems, which means they have components both indoors and outdoors. Standalone and split HVAC systems are difficult, if not impossible, to modify, expand, or move. Commercial HVAC systems, in contrast, are typically modular in nature. All the rooftop components are housed together, which makes it easy to move, modify, or expand them. This means commercial HVAC systems can grow and change to meet the changing needs of building owners.

Trusted East Tennessee HVAC Company

There are many differences between residential and commercial HVAC systems beyond what is mentioned above. City Heating and Air Conditioning is an HVAC company that knows all the ins and outs of both types of systems. We have been meeting the HVAC needs of the East Tennessee community for over 50 years, and our experienced HVAC technicians are skilled in maintaining, repairing, and installing both commercial and residential HVAC systems. Whether you are a homeowner or business owner, you can trust us with all your HVAC needs. Reach out to us today at 865-938-1005 or online to schedule our services.