Commercial vs. Residential HVAC Systems: What’s The Difference

Posted on Oct 15, 2022

While residential and commercial HVAC systems serve the same purpose of heating, ventilating, and cooling a room or building, the two types of systems are actually pretty different. There are major variations in the size, parts, placement, and installation, as well as the complexity of the system and the set-up of the actual mechanisms. Addressing the needs and comforts of a house is very different compared to heating and cooling a workspace that may be many stories, rooms, and sizes. Below are some of the main major differences between residential and commercial HVAC systems.

Size and Complexity

As you may imagine, the sizes of commercial and residential HVAC systems are very different. A heating and cooling system for a home is much smaller than that in a commercial building, as it needs to heat and cool a smaller space. The commercial system generally will use more power to run it, and components like condenser fans, evaporators, blowers, and dampers in the commercial system will also be larger or more powerful, as well as more complex.


The placement of the HVAC systems will vary as well. A residential system is typically placed in the backyard or on the side of the house. However, a commercial HVAC system will be placed in swamp coolers or on the building’s roof. Because the commercial unit is larger, it takes up more space, so the roof is a great space-saving option, especially when maintenance is needed, as it won’t disrupt the activities in the building during this time.


Every part of the commercial HVAC system is larger than a residential unit, and the drainage system is no exception. In residential units, the drainage system is a single pan placed outside the home. However, a commercial system consists of multiple pipes and pans to give the condensation somewhere to go and space to evaporate, which helps eliminate the possibility of overflow.

System Mechanism

Commercial HVAC systems are modular, whereas residential systems are standalone systems. A modular system is more expensive to build but allows for easy maintenance and upgrades on one part without having to upgrade the whole system. It also allows for easier installation, as commercial buildings need a more specialized system.


The actual equipment used in commercial HVAC systems differs from that used in smaller residential buildings. Commercial systems are larger and much more intensive as they are customized to heat and cool a larger, more complex area. Residential buildings don’t vary as much from room to room in temperature and humidity, so these systems are simpler.


As the commercial system is larger, more complex, and modular, these HVAC systems are generally more expensive to install and maintain. In addition, you should find a professional maintenance company that specializes in installing, repairing, and maintaining commercial HVAC systems. Different HVAC technicians and indoor air companies specialize in different types of HVAC systems.

While both residential and commercial HVAC systems have the same goal – ensuring a comfortable, healthy space inside a building – both systems are quite different. When choosing an HVAC system for your building, be sure to consult a professional heating and cooling company to pick the system that is right for your needs.

HVAC Services with AirPro Indoor Solutions

AirPro Indoor Solutions is a leading provider of HVAC services. We offer a wide range of services, including installation, repair, and maintenance. We also provide consultation services to help our clients choose the best HVAC system for their needs. Contact AirPro Indoor Solutions today to learn more about our services and how we can help you keep your home or office comfortable year-round.

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