Commercial HVAC Components
The purpose of commercial HVAC components is basically to provide comfort, both for the people and contents inside, and to ensure their health and productivity. It does this by combining HVAC components to work together in either a complex or simplistic manner, depending on the company and its needs.
This synergy between the components is a fine-tuned dance where all the pieces must do their part for optimum performance. Naturally there are variances, but typically the businesses here in Seattle utilize an interconnected combination of some common commercial components to great heating-and-cooling success. The professionals at Electromatic Refrigeration know how to create the best HVAC system to suit each business’s particular needs.
Purposes of Commercial HVAC Systems
The majority of commercial HVAC systems are assembled with specific purposes. The unique needs of each business dictates the customized, specific components needed to work together for a suitable system. However, in general, there are four main purposes of a commercial HVAC system:
- Control of air temperature
- Control of moisture content in the air
- Movement of air
- Purification of air
Basic HVAC Components
Of course, each business and building is unique in its needs and requirements. One building may be twelve stories high, with each floor housing a different type of business, and another may be a small coffee shop. But though they’re unlike in their purpose and may have different detailed needs, they are alike in the sense they need an HVAC system to heat and cool their business.
The nuances lie in how these components are connected with one another, the size and type of each component, and the purpose of the system. There are an infinite number of ways to combine these components, and if you were to ask a knowledgeable technician about what’s generally recommended, he or she would most likely respond, “Hmm. It just all depends.” The following components are typically part of most commercial HVAC systems:
Some larger companies only utilize packaged units, or rooftop units (RTUs), where either a furnace or heat pump works together with a cooling component and maybe an air handler in one unit, installed on a rooftop. Other companies may use a furnace located on a rootfop (not to be confused with an RTU) or a boiler located in a basement. There are endless options for setups and combinations for these heating components, but commonly most companies will have one of the three as their heating source.
The cooling component in a commercial system will be either an air conditioner, chiller, or heat pump (and even sometimes just a cooling tower). An air conditioner can be a split system, just like a residential setup, with part of the system located inside, the other outside. But these are typically used in a smaller business scenario.
Larger businesses (though some smaller ones too) require the use of a chiller. Chillers differ from air conditioners in that they remove heat from the liquid (usually water) running through the component, which then cools the air. (Air conditioners actually remove the heat from the air.) Chillers can be water cooled, air cooled, or evaporatively cooled.
The third component is a heat pump. Heat pumps can be used in a cooling-only capacity, or they can be used for heating as well. If the heat pump is used for cooling only, and a company is in a climate where heating is also needed, a furnace or boiler will need to be part of the system. However, most companies find a combination heat pump (for both heating and cooling) more efficient. A heat pump can also be part of a packaged unit, or RTU, along with a cooling tower. Just like chillers, cooling towers also remove heat from liquid, but use a different method. Both chillers and heat pumps can be paired with cooling towers for higher efficiency.
These cooling components also help to control the humidity in a building. Again, all these components need the expertise of an experienced and skilled HVAC technician to engineer their combinations and usage.
The ventilation component in a commercial system will be an air handler and ductwork. An air handler, or air handling unit (AHU), works in tandem with the ductwork, as well as blowers, dampers, heating and cooling elements, and filters, to condition and circulate the air as part of the HVAC system.
Smaller units are known as terminal units, and handlers that condition 100 percent outside air, no recirculated air, are known as makeup air units (MAUs). MAUs can be part of an RTU. The ductwork that works with the air handler (when and if part of the system), heating, and cooling incorporates dampers and fans to allow for zoning in different areas of a building. It’s also a necessity that the HVAC ductwork is the correct sizing for the system. If it’s wrong in either direction––too large or small––larger issues affecting the efficacy and longevity of the entire system can occur.
The thermostat component in a commercial system is the brains of the outfit. From here, all the rest of the complex components are controlled with a simple action––either turning the temperature up or down. This one thermostat action will interact with all the components, instructing them to work together, work alone, and when to do anything. In multizoned systems, there may be several thermostats involved.
Engineering a complete commercial HVAC system is a professional specialty skill. With the customization needed for each business’s demands, a highly trained HVAC company, like Electromatic Refrigeration, implements its skills and knowledge to produce the best HVAC system possible with the individual components. It’s imperative that they interact with each other correctly. Call and speak with any of our knowledgeable technicians at 206-624-3370 to discuss your company’s HVAC needs.
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