Commercial vs. Residential Heating and Cooling: What's The Difference?

Exploring the Differences Between Residential and Commercial Heating and Cooling Systems

Both residential and commercial HVAC systems do the same job: keeping a building comfortable. However, there are some major differences between them. Residential systems have a smaller but no less important job to do, keeping a single residency comfortable. Commercial heating and cooling systems have a larger burden to bear when it comes to maintaining comfort levels for occupants.

Keep reading to discover the major differences between residential and commercial HVAC systems!

# 1: Unit Location and Size

Residential: Residential units are typically defined as being used in homes and apartment buildings. Some larger residencies may have more than one air conditioning unit, but in general, they are all found in similar locations and size ranges for residential purposes. Residential air conditioners are typically located outside the home on the ground, and residential heaters are usually located in the basement or laundry room. They are also noticeably smaller than their commercial counterparts and operate with far less power.

Commercial: Commercial units are used everywhere but the home. Commercial air conditioners are typically located on the roof and are enormous compared to their residential counterpart. This is primarily due to the higher energy needs of the building. Similarly, because of their size and power, commercial air units are louder than residential units. For this reason, commercial HVAC systems are typically located somewhere out of the way, like in the basement or on the roof. This way, technicians can work on the machinery without disturbing any of the building’s inhabitants.

It’s good to note that both systems are typically located away from foot traffic and beneath awnings or a cover when possible to protect the units from weather and vandalism.

# 2: System Complexity

There is a vast difference in complexity when it comes to residential vs. commercial heating systems. Residential units tend to be simpler because the demands on the system itself are fewer. Commercial units have a much larger, more complex job to do, and because of that, their system tends to be more complex.

Commercial systems are frequently split into multiple locations and units. The ductwork and ventilation is a vast network that has to reach every corner of even the largest buildings. There are usually several gauges, thermostats, and other tools used to monitor the system, and a lot more can go wrong with a commercial system thanks to all the working parts that bring the whole thing together.

# 3: Unit Maintenance and Mechanisms

Due to size and complexity, maintenance for commercial units is both more costly and occurs more regularly than with residential units. The lesser demand residential units face means that they typically only need a single annual maintenance visit to keep them working in good shape. Commercial units may require maintenance monthly!

The maintenance is also different for commercial units because they are typically designed as “modular.” Modular systems house every part of the unit in one spot, where residential units are typically split with some parts indoors and some outdoors. Modulars are better for commercial systems because technicians can access all the working parts of the system without running in and out of what may be a very large building all day. For the most part, residential units tend to be simpler, easier to work with systems.

About Rosenthal Heating & Air Conditioning

For over 25 years, Rosenthal Heating & Air Conditioning has been keeping Southeast Wisconsin comfortable all year round! Providing quality service is their priority, which is why every team member is trained and certified in the latest HVAC technology. Rosenthal Heating & Air Conditioning is ready to take on your next HVAC project - give them a call today to learn more about their commercial HVAC services!