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June 09, 2021

Installing a Commercial HVAC System: Key Factors to Consider

Every commercial building needs a reliable HVAC system to keep all its occupants comfortable, especially during business hours.

If you own and run a commercial building that needs a new HVAC system, there are several key factors you need to consider before purchasing one and having it installed.

The Size of The System

When talking about the size of the HVAC system, we’re not referring to the unit’s physical dimensions but its overall capacity to meet the heating or cooling requirements of your commercial building.

Big buildings require big HVAC units, and smaller spaces need smaller systems. Simply put, every HVAC system must be the right size for the property.

You can expect HVAC problems if you go for a unit that’s too big for your property. With all that power, an oversized unit will tend to cool the air too quickly, which will make it cycle on and off more frequently and shorten its life.

On the other hand, undersized units will be forced to work longer and harder to keep everyone in a much bigger space comfortable, and that will shorten its life as well, not to mention send your energy bills skyrocketing.

The best way to know the right HVAC size for your commercial building is to have an air conditioning technician do a load calculation.

A load calculation will consider factors like the total square footage of the property, the number of windows, doors, and floors, and the condition of the ductwork, among other things, to determine your property's cooling and heating needs.

The Type of HVAC System

Your choices for a commercial HVAC system include:

  • Single-split system—If you’re running a small shop, office, restaurant, and cafe, a single-split system sounds just about right because it’s pretty compact and takes up less space. It’s also easier to install, as it only has two main components: the condensing unit and the air handling unit.
  • Multi-split system—Bigger retail shops and office spaces divided by floors and walls can benefit from a multi-split system capable of cooling multiple rooms simultaneously, thanks to its setup of one larger outdoor unit and up to four indoor units.
  • Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system—Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) units can heat and cool multiple rooms at the same time, all without ducting. Quiet, compact, and easy to install, a VRF unit is also efficient, allowing you to save as much as 40% on your energy consumption.

If you’re not too sure which type is perfect for your commercial building’s cooling and heating needs, ask your trusted HVAC technician for advice.

Your Existing Duct System

If your commercial property has a centralized ducting system, it would be best to have it checked by HVAC maintenance and repair specialists before installing a new HVAC system.

Your existing ducts could be leaking in places, which is something you don’t want if you’re keen on keeping your energy costs down. HVAC technicians can find such leaks easily and plug them.

The Cost of the System

The price of HVAC systems varies widely. When shopping for one, it wouldn’t be wise to go for the cheapest available option. While you won’t be spending much on the purchase of the unit, the likelihood that it won’t perform well or won’t last that long is high, given its suspiciously low price tag.

Then again, you shouldn’t take that as a sign that you should set your sights on the most expensive HVAC system available.

What you need to do is ask for quotes from multiple HVAC contractors so you can compare the performance, efficiency, and lifespan of the units they offer, which should help you reach an informed decision on which one to buy and install.

Whatever HVAC system you choose for your commercial building, always make sure to have regular maintenance performed on it to help keep it efficient and longer-lasting.

About the author

Sara Olsen is the Content Marketing Manager of Emergency Air, Arizona’s premier HVAC repair and service company with NATE-certified technicians and the best HVAC service in the quickest time. When not writing articles, she makes the most of her time with her family and gives back to the community.

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