Commercial Air Conditioning FAQs

Commercial air conditioning systems see heavy use, day in and day out, year after year. They work hard to keep customers and employees comfortable at your commercial property. 


In today’s post, Omnia360 facility solutions, a premier facility management company in Cincinnati, answers frequently asked questions about commercial air conditioning for your business. 


What’s the difference between residential and commercial air conditioning units?

Think of a commercial HVAC system as a larger, more complex version of your home’s HVAC unit. 


What is a commercial air conditioning system? 

Commercial systems have a multitude of packaged units with their own thermostats so that different rooms and floors (zones) can regulate their temps. Due to their size and scope, ventilation is more complex, involving a convoluted network of pipes and drains. 


Lastly, the tech is more advanced than a normal HVAC system; most buildings have AC units with economizers that use logic controllers and sensors to push out heat and bring in cool outside air.


What’s the average cost of commercial air conditioning repair? 

Due to how robust a commercial HVAC system is, it’s typically more expensive than repairing the AC in your home. 


  • $75 to $200 depending on the contracting company. 
  • Parts also vary in complexity, ranging from $2,000 to $3,000.


Should I hire an HVAC company or an FM company for AC service work? 

It depends on how much maintenance coverage your building needs. 


If it’s more than HVAC: plumbing, janitorial work, or landscaping, then and facility management company will save you thousands of dollars throughout the year. 


If it’s just a few one-off repairs to your HVAC system, hiring a commercial AC repair company near you is advisable. 


How much money does a commercial HVAC system cost? 

Businesses can expect to pay between $7.50 and $10.50 per square foot for AC systems. Market research suggests that commercial costs are expected to rise due to factors like skilled labor shortage and ever-increasing costs for new constructions. 


What are the six types of commercial HVAC systems? 

  • Single-split system

Single-split system, every indoor unit connects to an exterior unit. Whenever you need more AC, you can just add more units to each room. Ideal for smaller spaces, like coffee shops, corner offices, and similarly sized locations. Not ideal for large offices.

  • Multi-split system 

Ductless multi-split systems — unlike single-split systems — connect up to five indoor units to one outdoor unit, giving each room individual temperature control settings. Ideal for large commercial properties, not for smaller office spaces. 


  • Heat Pump

The heat pump just works to push and pull air from the interior to the exterior of your building, reversing directions whenever cold or warm air is needed. It’s great for schools and sports facilities but often fails in colder climates, like Cincinnati, Ohio, where temps sink below 40 degrees. 


  • VRF or VRV system

Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) or variable refrigerant volume (VRV) consists of a heat pump that uses refrigerant in the heating and cooling lines, with multiple evaporator connections to a single condensing unit. 


  • VAV system

Variable air volume (VAV) systems give consistent, comfortable temps by varying airflow levels. It’s perfect for small offices or commercial spaces where parts of a building need to be heated and other parts cooled off. Some VAV systems are in a single unit, but serve multiple areas (zones). 


  • CAV system 

Constant air volume (CAV) systems provide consistent airflow by adjusting the air supply temperature setting. Perfect for spaces with large areas, few windows, or openings, like showrooms or exhibition halls. Not ideal for buildings with multiple floors requiring multiple heating and cooling zones. 


What type of AC is best for commercial use? 

Variable refrigerant flow systems are well-fitted for large commercial buildings; they’re easy to control, energy-efficient, and long-lasting. 


Multi-zone mini-split systems are the best choices for commercial buildings with multiple offices or rooms, each requiring independent thermostat control. 


How long does a commercial AC last? 

10 to 15 years. More with preventative maintenance and careful use. 


Which AC unit lasts the longest? 

Longevity will depend on the manufacturer. Some quality brand names include:


HVAC systems that use a two-stage mechanism (like mini-split systems) tend to last longer because they don’t have frequent “on” and “off” cycles. 


Factors that affect your HVAC’s longevity: 

  • Wear n’ tear. 
  • Preventative maintenance.
  • Incorrect installations lead to premature system failure and minor, repeated breakdowns.


That’s why it’s important that you choose a reputable HVAC contractor with a track record of quality installations. 


What size commercial AC do I need for my building? 

It depends on the size of the building, average external temperature to building design, orientation, and purpose. 


Commercial HVAC systems are measured in tons — British Thermal Units (Btu) and can range between 2 and 30 tons. Generally, it takes 25 Btu to cool 1 square foot. 


You’ll need to determine the heating and cooling load required for your commercial property. That requires some math: “How to Perform a Quick Load Calculation.”


Be Warned: Choosing the wrong size negatively affects energy costs, system performance, and how much maintenance is required. 


What is the most efficient commercial HVAC system? 

Choosing a great HVAC system will depend on factors like building design, air quality, and energy efficiency. Other considerations include your budget, how many rooms or floors your building has, and how long you expect the system to last. 


Which AC is the most powerful for my commercial property? 

To find the most powerful AC system, check and compare the BTUs and heating/cooling power input (Watts) of each AC product on third-party wholesale websites


Ask Yourself: Does this unit handle hot summer weather well? 

Depending on your business’s location, as well as your building’s age and design, your employees and customers might feel like they’re inside a toaster oven during the summer months. That is, if you don’t buy the right-size AC unit for your space. 


The right size will depend on your building’s layout. So if it’s too large or oversized for your small office space, you’ll run up energy costs for nothing. If it’s too small for your two-story building, your unit won’t keep up with the demand. 


Commercial HVAC System Repair & Maintenance 24/7 Support

Our facility management services provide you with 24/7 support to maintain all facets of your commercial building, from commercial HVAC repair to plumbing, janitorial cleanup, and landscaping. Schedule your FREE assessment today: 833.360.6642.