What are the Different Types of Commercial Air Conditioning Systems

What are the Different Types of Commercial Air Conditioning Systems

There are various types of commercial air conditioning system, which can bring major benefits to a workspace, including:

  • Better air quality
  • Improved temperature control
  • Better working conditions.

But what types of system are available, and how should you go about choosing the best one for you?

How Do Commercial Air Conditioners Work?

There are two broad categories of commercial air conditioning system:

  • Single or multi-split systems
  • VRF or VRV systems.

Split air conditioning uses more than one air conditioning unit, with an outside, wall-mounted unit, and an interior unit, usually fixed to a wall or ceiling.

The outside unit pumps in refrigerated air to the inside unit, which circulates the air, distributing it using a built-in fan. Traditionally, each single-split unit runs on its own, as a self-contained device.

In multi-split air conditioning systems, a number of internal units link to a single exterior unit.

VRF or VRV air conditioning systems have similarities to multi-split systems, in that one outdoor unit connects to several indoor units. But these centralised systems are more responsive, continually adjusting the refrigerant flow to each indoor unit.

VRF stands for variable refrigerant flow. VRV stands for variable refrigerant volume, but VRV is essentially the same as VRF.

Which Commercial Air Conditioning System Should You Choose?

1. VRF Systems

VRF air conditioning systems can be very effective in meeting the cooling and heating needs of larger buildings.

They run on either a heat pump or a heat recovery system.

With a heat pump system, VRF air conditioning can provide either hot or cool air to a building.

In heat recovery, the VRF system can run in heating and cooling mode simultaneously, recovering waste heat from around the building and using it to heat other rooms, or water supplies. This process is good for reducing heating bills, and it means you can heat one room while cooling another at the same time.

VRF is ideal where you have multiple rooms in a large building. These systems have other benefits too:

  • They take up little space, requiring only the single outdoor unit, offering design flexibility in installation
  • They are modular in concept, so you can expand or reconfigure your VRF system according to your needs

VRF systems can mean higher costs upfront, before you start to see savings, which is why they may be better suited to larger buildings, enterprises or organisations.

2. Split AC Systems

Split air conditioning systems offer cost-effective options for workspace temperature control. Their design is simple, which makes installation fast and straightforward. There are multi-split options for premises requiring more air conditioning.

Split AC units provide low energy use, and, as self-contained units, they allow for a good degree of flexibility. If one single-split unit breaks fails, the others will continue to function.

You can also combine different types of indoor unit.

Split air conditioner units include:

  • Wall-mounted units
  • Ceiling cassette air conditioners
  • Floor-mounted units

Choosing a type of split air conditioning system will depend on various factors, including the size of premises and its layout, and what type of air distribution will work best.

Wall mounted units are smaller, and provide efficiency, controlling temperature for each individual unit.

Ceiling cassette air conditioners are less obtrusive, either hidden in the ceiling cavity, with just the facia on display, or enclosed behind a front shield. This type of split air conditioning is ideal for where space is at a premium, but cooling is a necessity, such as server rooms.

Floor-mounted units offer a flexible and cost-effective commercial air conditioning solution. They are similar in size to an electric storage heater and are usually mounted at ground level, and are convenient for smaller workspaces where wall space is unavailable.

Multi-splits work well for bigger spaces, such as restaurants, retail spaces, health clinics and offices. They are also useful in locations where you want to preserve external building appearances, or where there is limited external wall space.

3. Ducted Air Conditioning

Although technically ducted air conditioning is a split system, it is more suited to large commercial properties, where centralised temperature control will work well.

It involves installing a central unit, with ducts from this unit to each room requiring temperature control.

There is a connected outdoor condenser unit, which contains the refrigerant that cools the air before distribution through the central interior unit and ducts.

Explore Your Air Conditioning Options

Find the best commercial air conditioning system for your premises and needs from fully accredited air conditioning installation companies.

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