Difference Between Residential and Commercial Air Conditioner Installation

Difference Between Residential and Commercial Air Conditioner Installation

Air conditioning is a mandatory process that must be considered for production halls, business offices, and public buildings. There are a lot of options for air conditioning in factories and enterprises. Each building has its own characteristics, which are taken into account in the design. In this article, we will consider the difference between commercial and residential air conditioners, this information will help you to understand the process of commercial HVAC installation in Sacramento.

Commercial air conditioners - where and how it is used

Air conditioners for commercial use differ from household ones not only in performance. They have powerful air conditioning systems for large rooms, and filtration, they can maintain a given level of humidity and temperature in several rooms at the same time, and they have other characteristics that are not available for split systems for apartments and cottages. The choice of a commercial air conditioner is carried out by taking into account the layout of the premises, the purpose of the building, and the features of a particular architectural project.

Powerful, energy-efficient industrial air conditioners with flexible settings are successfully used to create a comfortable microclimate in large buildings. They are installed for cleaning and cooling indoor air, and ventilation of objects for various purposes:

  • workshops and warehouses;
  • stadiums, sports complexes, gyms, and concert halls;
  • shopping and entertainment centers, shops;
  • large cafes and restaurants;
  • educational institutions;
  • hospitals and clinics.


Industrial air conditioners provide maximum energy efficiency and combine ventilation, purification, and humidification/dehumidification systems. Outside placement of compressors allows to achieve low noise level with high performance.

Air conditioners for industrial use are selected based on five main parameters:

  • performance;
  • energy efficiency;
  • ease of management;
  • ease of maintenance;
  • durability.

They are rarely used in private houses and large apartments; they are often dispensed with by traditional household or semi-industrial air conditioners. Which, in turn, can maintain a comfortable microclimate in each room, regardless of the weather conditions outside and the temperature conditions in neighboring rooms.

In roof and central air conditioning systems, there is no function of separate microclimate control in different rooms.

Principle of operation

The power of commercial climate control equipment can reach 200 kW. The device and principle of operation of industrial air conditioners are similar to residential split systems. Excess heat is taken off by heat exchangers and removed through the radiator of the outdoor unit located on the street. Indoor units are most often mounted near the ceiling, they take in air, cool it, and return it to the room through the unit body or duct devices (air ducts). The latter is hidden behind false ceilings, wall cladding, and other interior elements.

Water-cooled cabinet systems are installed directly in the room. The air in them is cooled by cool water passing through the heat exchanger.

Varieties of commercial HVAC systems

The microclimate in commercial, industrial, and other large areas is maintained using one of six types of air conditioners.

1. Multizone systems (VRF and VRV)

The room temperature is maintained by adjusting the flow of refrigerant through the heat exchanger. Electronic modules are responsible for this, which control the valves depending on the air temperature.

2. Chillers

These systems are used for air conditioning in large and medium-sized buildings. The chiller can be located outside and inside the building. The coolant is cooled (heated) in the chiller, after which it is sent through the pipeline to the fan coil units. And the chiller itself is cooled by a separate external unit. This is also one of the most popular types of large multi-zone systems.

3. Rooftop air conditioner

This category includes units designed for installation on a flat roof. In the case of installation on a sloping roof, the equipment is fixed using frames and brackets. Rooftop air conditioners are designed to work in difficult weather conditions. Their durable hulls withstand temperature changes, wind, and precipitation.

4. –°abinet-type air conditioners

Unlike roof-mounted, cabinet air-conditioning systems are mounted directly in the refrigerated room. The devices are characterized by high power - up to 100 kW for heating/cooling and are used to maintain a constant temperature around the clock.

Difference between residential and commercial HVAC installation

Experts note that it is important to know about commercial air conditioning, especially if you plan to repair or upgrade a commercial air conditioning system for places such as offices, institutions, or shops.

Residential HVAC systems are not as powerful compared to commercial HVAC systems. Again, unlike commercial HVAC systems, they do not cover such a large area or serve a large number of people. Most systems monitor and maintain both air quality and temperature. In addition, the energy efficiency of residential heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems is significantly lower if they are used over a larger area. In addition, there are key differences between the systems:

1. Location

A commercial HVAC system is placed on the roof of a building to avoid noise pollution. This also protects it from damage, and in the event of technical failures or repairs, system specialists can carry out their duties without disrupting business operations that may be ongoing at this time. At the same time, residential HVAC systems are located in the backyard or side of the house so as not to take up space inside the house. But this makes it susceptible to damage and deterioration.

2. Design

A commercial air conditioner is modular in nature compared to a residential system that is installed inside the home. There are many models available in commercial HVAC systems that cater to the various needs of commercial buildings. More advanced designs are available that can reduce energy consumption. Zoned commercial HVAC systems can effectively control and maintain the cooling and heating of each individual area of ​​a building or residence. A commercial HVAC system is a single rooftop air conditioning unit, so it is easier to maintain and repair compared to a residential HVAC. Commercial HVAC systems have multiple thermostats to help maintain the temperature anywhere in the building.

3. Maintenance cost

Both have a unique mechanism and therefore require a separate specialist to operate. For a commercial air conditioner, maintenance is more difficult as it requires a highly skilled and experienced technician. Thus, the cost of maintenance is much higher than the cost of a domestic HVAC system. But in the long run, the maintenance cost of commercial HVAC systems will be lower and more cost-effective compared to residential HVAC systems.

4. Usage

Commercial HVAC units have a long-term thermal effect compared to residential HVAC systems. In addition, commercial HVAC systems last longer than residential HVAC systems. Generally, residential HVAC systems are used less frequently as a person tends to spend more time in the workplace than at home.


The selection of air conditioners for commercial use has some features compared to the selection of residential air conditioners. We are talking about large areas, large dimensions of the equipment, complex installation, and the possibility of installing individual settings for a large number of rooms. The price of a mistake here will be quite high - from the failure of an expensive air conditioner to damage to property and human health. Alpha Mechanical specialists can help you to choose the right equipment, and install and maintain it.