Commercial buildings (homes) need various components to ensure the comfort and safety of their occupants. One of the primary components you need for your property is HVAC systems responsible for temperature control, indoor air quality, and air distribution. While it may seem that their basic functions seem very straightforward, commercial HVAC systems can be more complex than basic residential units.
All HVAC units fundamentally deal with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It helps heat occupied spaces during colder seasons, maintain clean air through ventilation, and control the indoor temperature in homes. If you need to purchase a new unit or replace an older model, continue reading below to understand the necessary details about commercial HVAC systems.
Components of a Commercial HVAC System
An HVAC unit consists of two primary parts: the indoor and outdoor components. Since most commercial systems are larger, they require various individual elements to ensure that the whole system works as intended. For your reference, we have listed the critical components of a commercial HVAC unit.
- : As the core of every HVAC system, the compressor is responsible for circulating the refrigerant through closed loops between the condenser coils and evaporator. Typically located outside, it performs a crucial function that involves converting the refrigerant to the needed state. Due to its significance, there are only a few instances when a technician repairs a compressor since replacement is the only option when it malfunctions.
- The thermostat essentially controls a unit’s overall functionality by connecting to the HVAC system through special wiring. It lets the user direct the system to produce cool or heated air based on the temperature input. Its temperature sensor indicates whether the heating component or air conditioner should run or turn off. If you have spaces in your commercial building that require thermal control, you should place the thermostat inside these spaces in conjunction with thermally broken roof hatches.
- The air conditioner component of a commercial HVAC unit is highly like a residential unit in terms of functionality. What this component does is that it removes heat from the indoor air as it disperses it outside in exchange for cooling air circulation inside the building. It also acts as a dehumidifier.
- The condenser is an outdoor component that serves as the air conditioner’s heating exchange unit. It contains a series of pipes and a fan that draws air across the coils to facilitate heat removal from the building to the outdoors.
- This valve is crucial for your HVAC system as it allows the liquid refrigerant to expand. The hot, vaporized refrigerant would then enter the expansion valve, and there it will start to cool down due to the reduced pressure. The thermal expansion valve can be inside the air handler or fixed at the front side of the evaporator coils.
- The terminal unit is the system’s air-handling device that regulates the amount of conditioned air distributed throughout the building. It consists of a filter, coils, and blowers that help remove dirt and contaminants from the indoor air home. You can find the terminal unit usually near the return duct, at the ceiling, or in the air conditioner.
- Chillers are usually the leading choice for cooling elements in large-scale buildings. Whether they come in air or water cooling, the chiller’s primary function is to remove heat from the liquid flowing through the building pipes.
- For HVAC units with a stove, the heating process begins with the thermostat signaling for heated air. The gas valve would then open to generate heat which would flow through the heat exchanger transforming it into heated air. Its internal fan and motor will then push the air through the ductwork.
- After the HVAC unit process cooled or heated air, the ductwork’s task is to distribute the conditioned air throughout the building. It is an essential part of your HVAC system to maintain airflow and distribution.
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Understanding the various components of a commercial HVAC system and their functionalities are critical in maintaining thermal comfort in your building.
Types of Commercial HVAC Systems
It would be best to consider many buying factors when choosing an HVAC unit for your commercial space. Some branches are ideal for small businesses, but larger units are necessary for high-rise buildings. Here are the four types of HVAC systems used in commercial applications.
- : Single-split systems are ideal for small to medium business establishments such as boutiques, office spaces, and retail stores. They are compact and cost-efficient, as they can provide the required thermal comfort in smaller commercial areas. The unit consists of an external AC unit, furnace or air handler, and an evaporator. Single-split units are also able to operate even if one exterior unit fails.
- : This type of HVAC operates similarly to single-split units. However, one multi-split unit can effectively handle up to nine indoor systems. They also have a remarkable built-in feature to detect temperature change and adjust whenever necessary. In addition, since there is only one external unit, it is more energy-efficient than single-split units.
- : Although both systems allow multiple indoor connections to one external unit, their technology and features are far superior to a multi-split system. It is ideal for large commercial facilities that require controlled temperature over several areas, such as hotels, office spaces, and restaurants.
- : Commercially packaged air conditioners require less space than other HVAC units since their heating and cooling components are included inside the system. Also called rooftop systems, packaged units are easier to install and maintain and are ideal for small spaces since you can install the unit on the roof. You don’t need to worry about loud mechanical noises and reorganize your furniture to make space since they are an all-in-one system.
A commercial HVAC system is an essential business investment since they offer comfort to your building’s occupied spaces. They are necessary for maintaining the quality of your products and enhancing homes’ indoor air quality. Make sure that you choose the suitable unit for your space by understanding the features and differences of each HVAC system.
Commercial HVAC Maintenance Checklist
Regular upkeep and inspection are crucial for maintaining your HVAC system’s functionalities and features and maximizing its lifespan. You can identify potential issues and clear them out with proper assessment before escalating into something more serious. To ensure that your system works efficiently, you can follow our HVAC maintenance checklist.
1. Change the Air Filters Regularly
Your commercial HVAC’s air filters must always be in clean, good condition to ensure airflow throughout the building. Blocked filters may restrict airflow, leading to your system working harder and using more energy. If your business involves production or manufacturing, make it a daily habit to clean out the filters to avoid dust or dirt build-up. If they are visibly dirty and used for more than three months, it’s time to replace the filters.
2. Visual Inspection
As the building owner or manager, you can handle the task of visually inspecting your HVAC system. To do this, check all the unit components and look for any indications of damage such as disconnected pipes, rust, leaks, and dirty refrigerant lines. Make sure that the ducts are also clean and free of any blockage.
3. Re-Calibrate Your System Bi-Annually
It is crucial to re-calibrate the HVAC unit before the winter and after the summer season so that the system can handle the increase and decrease in temperature. You also need to adjust your thermostat settings to support your unit and reflect the changes.
4. Check & Clean Drainage Lines
The furnace and air conditioning components of commercial HVAC units create water vapor that you need to remove regularly to avoid structural damage. Typically, there is an exterior collection tray to collect the moisture so that it can naturally evaporate in the air. However, there are instances when the tray overflows, especially if not regularly cleaned. Standing water can be a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and microbes, entering the ducts and contaminating the indoor air.
5. Clean AC Evaporator & Condenser Coils
During HVAC operation, the air circulation continuously flows through the exposed evaporator and condenser coils which could be a source of dirt and bacterial growth, especially if not regularly cleaned. Clean the coils once a year using commercial coil cleaners or pressurized air for better cleaning.
Although there are HVAC tasks that you can carry out during HVAC inspections or maintenance, it is sometimes better to hire a professional technician. They can handle all the tasks required – from diagnostics and maintenance to repair.
An efficient and reliable commercial HVAC system requires proper handling and care to maintain comfort inside your building. They are essential for improving indoor air quality, ventilation, and energy efficiency to help you cut costs and reduce emissions. Although the initial price may be high, it is a necessary investment that you need to inspect and maintain to avoid costly repairs or replacements regularly.
The necessity of HVAC Systems Diagram?
It is very essential and compulsory to understand the HVAC system diagram because it shows how your HVAC runs, you can make informed decisions like how to know it is time to replace your old unit or if maintenance is needed.
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