Whether you’re in a commercial or residential setting, people want to be at a comfortable temperature while indoors. We don’t often have major hot streaks in Western Washington, but when the outside temperatures are over 90 degrees or under 50 degrees, you’ll be happy to have an HVAC system in working condition.
What is Light Commercial HVAC?
Commercial and residential customers have different HVAC needs. Commercial units are built to cover larger areas, whereas residential units are built to be used inside a single-family home. However smaller office buildings don’t need the coverage that multi-floored high-rise buildings need, which is where Light Commercial HVAC systems come into play. Light Commercial HVAC units are a middle-ground option between the smaller residential units and the larger commercial ones.
Types of Light Commerical Systems
Light Commercial HVAC falls under three main categories: Single split, package unit, and geothermal heat pump systems.
Single split systems are a popular choice because they are generally more affordable and are suitable for retail shops, restaurants, and buildings with a few rooms and smaller offices as they allow you to control the temperature in individual spaces. In a split system, there is an inside and an outside unit. The indoor unit’s fan circulates the inside air to pass across the evaporator fins. As the heat is removed from the air, the air is cooled and blown back into the house. This process repeats until your home reaches the temperature you’ve programmed into your thermostat.
Some package unit systems can be considered “light” commercial HVAC but systems can range between three and twenty-five tons. Often package units are more expensive to operate, but because they’re contained with one unit (usually on the roof) they are a great option if you’re needing to save space. Check out our page on Package Units for more detailed information.
Geothermal heat pumps, also known as ground-source heat pumps, are highly efficient. Instead of producing heat, they use electricity to move existing heat, making them a renewable source of energy. Because of this, they’re becoming increasingly popular in small commercial buildings and households across the US.
Selecting the right unit for your needs
You may be considering a light commercial HVAC system because you’re in need of more power when it comes to heating or cooling your space, and the best course of action is to choose one that meets your needs but doesn’t far exceed them. The larger the unit, the more expensive it is to operate, maintain, and repair. We recommend having an HVAC professional like Lifetime Heating & Cooling assess your space. Taking into account the space, environmental factors, number of people in the building, and your budget – expert help can save you money in the long run.
Light Commerical HVAC Maintenance & Repair
If you’re experiencing any of these, your system likely needs attention:
- Not heating or cooling appropriately – your system is shutting off before the thermostat reaches the desired temperature is a major sign that your system is requiring maintenance.
- A spike in your energy costs – you can expect seasonal changes, but if it’s uncharacteristically high for that time of year, this is a sign to look into your HVAC.
- Musty Odor – musty or pungent smells can be a sign of mold or mildew. Pacific Northwest residents aren’t shocked by damp, moldy, or mildewy situations, and you probably know these are best contained immediately!
- Air filters – you may experience a funky odor if your air filters are overdue for replacement.
- Burnt Smell – if you or your employees are smelling burnt or burning and it’s coming from the HVAC, turn off your system immediately and call a professional. There could be electrical shorts or melted wires to repair.
- Noises – rattling, cranking, and squealing are signs that something has come loose, has broken, or is not working properly.
- Increase in sick days – with poor air quality & circulation comes an increase in people taking days off due to increased symptoms of allergies, colds, and migraines. If your employees are needing more sick days than normal, and it’s not cold & flu season, it may be time to check your HVAC.
Don’t delay if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms in your HVAC system, broken systems usually cost more to operate since they aren’t fully efficient, and the longer you put off repair, the more expensive the repair can become. Lifetime Heating & Cooling has over 20 years of experience with HVAC systems, their problems, and repairing them. Call for more information or an estimate.