Residential and commercial air conditioners serve the same general purpose of cooling and ventilation – beyond that, they are distinctly different. Read on as HVAC air conditioner repair and installation company Dittmer Air and Heat discusses the difference between residential and commercial air conditioning systems.
The Cooling Cycle
To better explain the differences between the two types of air conditioners, let us first take a quick look at how air conditioners work. Regardless of the make and model, an air conditioner’s cooling cycle undergoes four steps:
- A substance known as a refrigerant or coolant, in a cold and liquid state, absorbs heat from the room in the evaporator, located in the indoor-facing side of the system. A fan or blower pushes air through the cold tubes to generate cool air. At this stage, moisture from the air is drawn and eventually drained through the condensate pipes.
- The refrigerant then changes into a gas. The compressor, housed in the outdoor part of the air conditioner, compresses the gaseous refrigerant to increase its temperature and then releases it into the condenser.
- The pressurized refrigerant quickly passes through the condenser coils, transferring the heat to the outside air.
- The refrigerant is depressurized by a thermostatic expansion valve, causing a drop in temperature and returning the refrigerant to its cold and liquid form, flowing back into the evaporator and beginning the cycle anew.
Residential vs. Commercial Air Conditioning
Both residential and commercial air conditioners use the same cycle described above, but they differ in the following aspects:
- Size. Commercial properties are generally bigger than residential ones, but it’s not just the size. Commercial air conditioners may be required to deliver up to 10 times cooling because of certain applications, like restaurant refrigeration.
- Modularity. A home’s cooling requirements stay more or less the same for a long time. A commercial building’s requirements change more often, and modular air conditioners allow quick installation of additional units when needed.
- Drainage. Water from an air conditioner doesn’t seem to be that much coming from a home conditioner and can be handled by a small tube and pan. However, the water drawn by a commercial system requires a much larger piping and drainage system.
- Location. The outdoor units of residential systems are typically placed on the ground. Commercial systems, on the other hand, have their outdoor units placed on the roof – it removes the noise away from office spaces, allows for easier expansion, and allows HVAC technicians to work without interfering with the work inside.
Dittmer Air and Heat provides HVAC services, including indoor air quality testing, to customers in Cocoa, FL, and the surrounding communities. Give us a call at (321) 637-0170, or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.