Guides ‐ What is commercial air conditioning?

Published: 20/08/2021

What is meant by commercial air conditioning?  

Air conditioning is used to manage (or condition) the air in a given space. This may mean heating, dehumidifying or, cooling air. Commercial air conditioning is a system that is used in any commercial property. Commercial air conditioning can be used in any commercial property, big or small, including offices, shops or restaurants. By adding an air conditioning system in commercial premises, businesses can ensure customers and employees keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter months.

There are several different types of systems and different manufacturers. Each system has different capabilities and power so it's important to ensure you have the correct system for your commercial space to maximise performance.


What is the difference between commercial and domestic air conditioning?         

Commercial air conditioning and air conditioning in the home have very different requirements due to the size of these spaces. Therefore, the amount of power needed and how often the system will be used all matter when it comes to selecting the right air conditioning system for you. 

In domestic properties, the air conditioning system will be required to heat a much smaller space, such as specific rooms, and will more likely be used as required throughout the day.

Air conditioning in a commercial property is typically a much larger space and will often be used continuously for hours on end, for shops for example this could be on for 24-hours non-stop meaning a powerful, reliable system is required. Choosing the right system for your commercial property is critical for strong performance as sizing the right system requires an expert to prevent the system from breaking or delivering performance less than British standards.


 How does commercial air conditioning work?

Commercial air conditioning systems are hugely complex, but at heart, all have the same basic components. These include a compressor, condenser coils, evaporator coils and fans or blowers to circulate the air around the building.

An air conditioning system uses a very similar process to commercial refrigeration, cooling the air by removing the heat from it. This is done by quickly raising the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant (a specialised chemical) from gas to liquid and back again, taking warm outdoor air and reducing the temperature before circulating indoors.

Heating systems use combustion gases created by burners before moving into a heat exchanger. In much the same way as cooling, this warmer, heated air is then circulated throughout your commercial property.


 What are the types of commercial air conditioning?

There are three main types of commercial air conditioning unit

  • Single-Split System
  • Multi-Split System
  • VRF or VRV System

Single Split System

A single split air conditioning system allows each room in a commercial property to be heated and cooled individually. These are often used in smaller commercial properties, popular in small offices and restaurants.

These consist of an outdoor unit for every indoor unit which means external space can take up quite a lot of room if you are looking to air condition multiple rooms in your business. However, as this is often positioned for easier installation, it can often be the cheapest option for smaller businesses.


Multi-Split Systems

These air conditioning systems work in much the same way as a single split system. However, the main difference is that multiple indoor units are all connected to a single, outdoor unit. Due to the nature of these air conditioning systems, they often require more piping or ducting which can make them more expensive to install.

Multi-split systems are often used in larger commercial premises, where offices have multiple floors, rooms or walls. As fewer outdoor units are required, these are often used to save external space and to preserve the exterior appearance of buildings. Plus, with multi-split systems, there is a lot of flexibility with plenty of options for indoor units and combinations, whether you wanted wall or floor mounted systems for example.


VRF or VRV System

Both variable refrigerant (VRV) and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) are the same just with different names, very confusing. These are the ultimate in air conditioning systems for businesses, especially medium to large properties.

These operate slightly differently in that they have multiple air handlers which are all controlled individually. Each of these can be controlled individually as the refrigerant which flows to each can be changed. Heat pump systems are perfect for open-plan offices as all areas will either be cooled or heated. Heat recovery systems however are highly efficient as they can use heat from rooms to heat other rooms in the same building, perfect for energy-conscious businesses.

Both of these systems offer the most flexible options for businesses today. They can heat and cool at the same time, offering complete control over the office environment. they can also be expanded if needed by linking additional units to increase power and capacity, perfect for growing businesses that may expand into new offices or floors in future.


Airkool Commercial Air Conditioning are Yorkshire's leading air conditioning specialist. With a team of expert engineers, we can help advise, plan, install and maintain your commercial air conditioning.

We also have teams of commercial electricians, plumbers and commercial refrigeration experts for all your commercial HVAC needs.