Houston Heating, Cooling, and Electrical

Commercial A/C & HVAC Services

A commercial A/C & HVAC system keeps the building comfortable

Commercial A/C & HVAC technology is important not just for the comfort it brings, but its ability to drive worker productivity. Multiple studies have looked into the connection between temperature and productivity, and optimal temperatures exist in a narrow band (around 70 degrees, give or take a couple degrees). It is up to the commercial A/C & HVAC system to deliver this optimal environment so worker comfort can translate into higher productivity.

Commercial A/C & HVAC systems are sophisticated and precise, so they can reliably maintain an ideal working environment.

What types of commercial A/C & HVAC systems are there?

Commercial A/C & HVAC systems are available in a few forms. The right choice depends on the size of the building, how many people occupy it regularly and what the regional climate is like. What options, specifically, do commercial property owners have when picking an HVAC system for their building? Here are the primary choices:

  1. Single split system – A single split system uses exterior and interior components, with the compressor and condenser coils outside, and the furnace and evaporator coils inside. Single split systems are recommended for smaller commercial buildings, like small professional offices and restaurants. Multiple single split systems can also be tied together, so if the building is a bit larger, property owners can scale up the output by stacking them up. This can be cost effective, as single split systems are the least expensive to install. However, every split system air conditioner requires exterior components, and this can take up a lot of space outside if multiple systems are installed.
  2. Multi-split system – A multi-split system is generally identical to a single-split system, except for one major difference. A multi-split system can tie up to nine indoor units to a single exterior unit, which keeps space to a minimum and affords another big advantage – speed variability. Because there are many indoor units to handle the load, the system can make fine adjustments to output speed. This keeps energy efficiency up and allows for extremely tight control over the building’s comfort. They are, however, more expensive than single split systems.
  3. Variable refrigerant flow (or variable refrigerant volume) – VRF systems are even more efficient than multi-split systems and allow for extremely fine control over temperature. VRF technology not only adjusts system speed, it can adjust where the refrigerant goes, making for a flexible means of moving air around the building. VRF systems can also be improved with heat recovery technology, which takes the absorbed heat from the cooling system and redirects it into rooms that need warming. For obvious reasons, this makes VRF HVAC systems highly efficient and controllable. The only issue is cost, which is higher than other commercial A/C & HVAC options.

Single split systems are designed for smaller properties, while multi-split and VRF systems are better suited for larger properties. This is just the starting point, though, as there’s more to consider.

Which commercial A/C & HVAC brands are the most trustworthy?

Given the complexity of commercial HVAC systems and the expertise required to build and maintain them, only the most reputable manufacturers can remain competitive.

Of these manufacturers, Carrier and Daikin are considered the best, or close to it. Both manufacturers have an excellent reputation among contractors for their quality engineering, longer warranties and simple installation processes. This keeps installation costs reasonable and increases the likelihood that the system will meet or exceed its rated life.

What to look for in a commercial A/C & HVAC system

It’s not recommended that commercial property owners select a HVAC system without input from a trusted contractor. Commercial A/C & HVAC systems are far more complex than residential systems, and commercial buildings come with additional challenges when planning a system out. It is therefore important to have a contractor size up the building and its climate control needs prior to choosing a system. Here’s what should be considered when selecting a commercial HVAC system:

1. Properly sized – This may be the important point because a system that is too small or large will not heat and cool properly. Instead, these systems will cycle on and off constantly, causing temperatures to spike or, worse, not budge at all. Frequent cycling means wasted energy and that means expensive operating costs.

However, sizing a commercial A/C & HVAC system is much more difficult with a commercial building, especially if that building is large. In addition to the building’s square footage, the contractor also has to consider how much heat is given off by people occupying the building, how much heat equipment inside the building is radiating, and if there are any special requirements for climate control. Buildings with commercial refrigerators, for example, require more consistent cooling.

The contractor will calculate these needs using what is known as a Manual J. This is only used for commercial buildings and provides a comprehensive look at what the building requires regarding climate control. From here, the contractor can properly size the system.

2. System placement – Commercial buildings typically require larger HVAC components, which can be a problem if they are taking up too much space outside. This may also detract from the building’s aesthetic, which could be a problem for some businesses. Fortunately, commercial systems can be installed on the building’s roof, which keeps everything off of ground level and out of sight. Further, rooftop placement means that if maintenance is required, it can be handled without disrupting what’s going on inside the building.

3. Lifecycle cost – It’s almost impossible for a property owner to accurately forecast how much a particular system will cost. That’s why contractors and manufacturers don’t expect it. Instead, the cost of a system is usually projected by the manufacturer and contractor, so property owners can make the bottom line decision. In many cases, the choice will come down to either a system that is inexpensive upfront but less efficient, or a high-efficiency system that costs more to install. If the high efficiency system offers a lower lifecycle cost, that’s typically the right one to go with.

Still, it’s important for property owners to take a look at how these costs are projected, and how contractors interpret the information. A reputable contractor will have no issue in offering this insight.

Commercial A/C & HVAC systems are large, powerful, technically advanced and capable of extremely precise climate control. It may be a significant investment, but a quality commercial system offers the kind of consistent comfort that business owners expect.

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