From The Blog

How does a commercial HVAC system work?

If you need a commercial HVAC system for your office or place of business, there are several things to note as you research commercial systems and contractors.

The first is that commercial systems, while sharing some of the same principles as residential HVAC, are often completely different animals from the air conditioner that keeps your home cozy.

Commercial HVAC systems are typically made up of interconnected systems that provide heating, ventilation, and cooling to individual floors and unique/separate areas within a structure and are thus far more intricate and specialized than a residential system.

This is reflected in multiple factors, including the most obvious:

    • Price

    • Size

It costs on average $5,000, to install a new residential HVAC unit – though that price can range from $3,500 to $11,000 per unit depending upon the parameters of your home and additions made to the system (including air purifiers, etc.)

Commercial HVAC installation, meanwhile, ranges from $7,000 to $30,000, depending on the system and size.

Speaking of size…


Commercial HVAC systems generally come in one of three categories:


This is a singular unit, usually located in a single area or zone that supplies the HVAC needs of an entire building. These systems usually use water as a cooling medium and have considerable ductwork for air distribution. Despite consisting of a singular unit, centralized systems can be incredibly complex and thus more expensive to maintain. However, these systems also offer a higher load management, and they are easy to control.


A good choice for smaller or confined commercial space, in this system the air conditioner and heat pump are usually contained together with the evaporator and fan coil. Make no mistake, however, this does not mean it is an inferior system. And these units include a thermostat that controls the system, along with optional items such as air quality improvers, purifiers, and ventilators.


Referred to by both of the above names, these commercial HVAC units provide heating, cooling, and ventilation by using multiple individual units in different locations of the building. Despite their versatility, they are not always the preferred system for larger buildings for various reasons. Roof top units, AC units for offices or rooms, and air to air heaters are all examples of an individual/decentralized HVAC system.

Any experienced and trained HVAC contractor will be able to help you decide what type of system best suits your commercial needs.

They will do so by looking at several factors, including space, number and placement of the rooms involved, as well the needs of the people inside the building. A commercial system that befits a school or church will obviously need to be different than the proper HVAC for a warehouse or research facility. And even one that works great for a new church may be completely the wrong choice for an older building.

It is very dissimilar to residential HVAC, which follows much more set patterns from house to house.

Some other differences between commercial and residential HVAC:


Usually, the residential system will be in the backyard or alongside the building. However commercial and industrial systems are generally installed on top of the building in order to save space and cut down on noise.


Commercial HVAC requires much more water drainage, as it is cooling larger spaces. Because more moisture is cycling through the unit, a whole drainage system must be installed.

Maintenance costs

Because of the complexity of commercial systems, it requires more knowledge and skill to service them. You can often DIY your residential system. DO NOT DO THIS for commercial HVAC.

Commercial HVAC Equipment

Residential HVAC systems utilize much smaller components to that used in commercial systems. Commercial systems are also customized, thus making them much more intensive. The humidity and temperature levels of a residential dwelling do not vary much – unlike commercial systems, which can vary a lot throughout the day and from room to room even.

When you look at all of these differences, you can understand why it is important to utilize the very best professionals when it comes to selecting and installing your commercial HVAC system. That means finding a contractor with experience and the range of equipment to fit your needs – whatever they may be.

Conditioned Air Systems has been in the commercial HVAC installation game in north Georgia for over four decades now, and we have installed it all. Whether you are a large private corporation, a school system, a church, warehouse or even a smaller, family-run business, we will sit down with you and help you determine the best choice to keep yourself – and your clientele happy and comfortable all year round.

Contact us today to learn more, 770-536-7509, and let us show you why we have been the choice of so many commercial and industrial pursuits since 1983.

Conditioned Air Systems

Your Trusted HVAC Experts for Home Comfort and Efficiency

Whether you need a new HVAC system installed or simply need repairs, give us a call. We are here to help!
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