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Choosing the Right HVAC System: Commercial vs. Residential


Stephen Plumbing

April 24, 2023


Commercial and residential properties need an HVAC unit to heat and cool the building. However, there are differences between these vital systems. Commercial properties differ from smaller homes.

As professionals in the industry, we know what sets these HVAC units apart. Let’s talk about the differences between commercial and residential HVAC systems.


The first difference between residential HVAC and commercial is the location. They are different sizes and thus have different space requirements.

Most commercial HVAC units are on the top of the building because they are so large. It’s easier to keep them out of harm’s way up there while allowing easy access for potential repairs.

On the other hand, residential HVAC units sit to the side of the house, away from windows. They are small enough to go in the yard without being in the way.

Required Maintenance

Residential HVAC units are much simpler than the commercial version because they need to heat and cool a smaller area. Maintenance is more straightforward and may include changing filters, cleaning air ducts, and other tasks. Sometimes, the homeowner may complete these basic needs themselves.

The commercial HVAC system is much more complicated. If there is necessary maintenance, it takes more time and requires a skilled hand to determine the issues and offer the proper fixes. Commercial HVAC systems generally need more work than residential systems.

Size and Complexity

Another difference between commercial HVAC and residential is the size and complexity of the product. As mentioned earlier, commercial systems are typically much more complicated than opposing home units.

Commercial systems are much larger than residential ones because they must heat and cool a massive space. They are bulky and can be complex to repair if something goes wrong. It takes a careful eye to make repairs in a commercial HVAC system.

On the other hand, residential systems are small and aren’t as complex. They only need to handle heating and cooling for a small area. Although mansions may need a large HVAC system, most homes are okay with something small and simple.

Installation and Manufacturing

The final difference between residential HVAC and commercial units is the installation and manufacturing of each product. For instance, most residential systems start small. They cannot be added to or modified, as they are stand-alone systems. Some homes have split-level operations if the house is a little larger than average.

Commercial systems come as modular. When added to a commercial building, it’s simple to modify and upgrade them as necessary. It’s also possible to remove and add components to meet the heating and cooling needs of the building. It’s also simple to install and shift commercial units as needed.

Have a professional on your side if you require an HVAC system. Stephens Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help. Contact us to schedule an appointment today to begin the process and receive a free estimate.


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