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The Low Down On Home And Commercial Air Conditioning

Commercial Air Conditioning
Reading Time: 3 minutes

We often hear that there’s a difference between residential (home) air conditioning systems and commercial air conditioning systems. You may wonder why you’d care about the difference between the two, but some contractors only specialize in one of the two, instead of both. While both residential and commercial air conditioning systems are similar, there are slight differences which can cause complications if your chosen contractor isn’t familiar with them. The question then is, what exactly is that difference?

There are a few differences between commercial and residential air conditioning systems which include:


​​​​​​​Commercial air conditioners are generally more powerful than residential units. They’re larger as they have a bigger area to cover and are sized in accordance with the building needs. Since the size of the unit matters, a licensed technician will advise property managers or commercial building owners of the correct unit size needed to ensure that the entire building is covered. Residential AC units are generally much smaller and draw less power, but they must also be correctly sized to work effectively.

Irrespective of the type of building, if the AC unit is not sized correctly for the building (commercial or residential), then the AC unit will be ineffective. You will waste energy as your AC cycles on and off to keep up with the correct temperature settings on the thermostat.

Location of the AC Unit

It’s understandable that larger commercial properties will need much larger AC units than residential homes. Due to the size of the commercial AC unit, they’re often kept on the roof area of commercial properties. Residential AC units are generally placed next to the home instead of on the roof itself. It makes sense for commercial properties as it’s one way to make use of an unused rooftop and to keep their air conditioning units safe. Rooftop locations are also easier for AC technicians to reach to repair the system without disturbing the employees during work hours. Remember that regular AC maintenance on both commercial and residential properties is a must to ensure that your AC is running smoothly.

Packaged vs Split Units

It can seem strange that when it comes to residential AC, the unit is split into two parts. The first is the evaporator which sits inside your home, generally in a closet in your hallway and the other is the compressor which is the unit outside of your home. This draws in hot air and particles from your home, and compresses and cools it, while releasing cooler cleaner air inside your home. Commercial AC units are packaged as one single unit. The location of packaged commercial units makes repair and maintenance easy, but the system itself is more complex and needs the attention of a professional AC technician.

Standalone Units Vs Modular Units

Residential properties, excluding condo’s and apartments, make use of standalone AC systems. It may be confusing as residential units are comprised of two parts, but these two parts must work simultaneously for the unit to function. A homeowner will not be able to modify the current AC system without replacing the entire unit. For commercial AC units it’s a little different. Commercial AC units are modular, this means that they can be built up or down as needed. Adding more units increases the cooling capacity and removing units decreases the cooling capacity, it all depends on the current needs of the building at that specific time. You will need the expertise of a professional and reliable AC technician to install and maintain commercial modular AC units.

At Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric, our AC technicians are equipped to repair and maintain both residential and commercial AC systems. If you have any issues with your AC unit, don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-475-1504.


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