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Common Types of Commercial HVAC Systems

Determining what type of system best suits your business can be a daunting task. While there are numerous types of systems and designs, we have outlined the most common designs and their applications to make your decision easier.

Split System – Split systems are considered to be the most affordable type of commercial air conditioner. These systems are “split” into two components – the condensing unit, which houses the condenser coil, and the air handler, which houses the evaporator coil. While the standard split system requires ductwork, mini-split systems are ductless and can be linked together to form a “multi-zone” ductless system. Split systems are most common in homes and small commercial buildings.

Packaged System – Unlike the split system, a package unit, or PTAC, is usually attached to an exterior wall with the condenser on the outside and the evaporator on the inside of the building. As a result, these systems do not require ductwork. Additionally, these are designed ready to be installed, whereas a split system is custom designed for the individual job site. Packaged systems are most common at hotels, apartments and dorms.

Unitary System – A unitary system is the same as a packaged system. A rooftop unit (RTU) will often be called a unitary system or a packaged rooftop system.

Variable Refrigerant Flow System – Pioneered by Daikin in 1982, VRV/VRF systems are the most expensive yet most efficient air-cooled option. This design allows a single condensing unit to supply heated and cooled air to different areas at the same time by using multiple fan-coil units inside the building, this minimizing energy consumption. This system is ideal for large commercial properties,

such as hotels, offices and mixed-use buildings.

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