Commercial vs Residential HVAC: What's the Difference?

When it comes to commercial vs residential HVAC, what's the difference? If you are wondering the same question, click here today!

In 2018, over 14 million HVAC units were sold in the United States. By 2025, that number is expected to increase significantly as the HVAC industry continues to register an impressive CAGR of 9.7 percent. 

The demand for energy-efficient commercial and residential HVAC systems has been on the rise over the years.  The modern American consumer is interested in products that guarantee health and comfortability. Most modern residential and commercial heating and air conditioning systems excel in these aspects.

Both commercial and residential HVAC systems serve a common purpose: to provide heating, ventilating, and cooling of living and working spaces. However, these two systems have distinct differences too. That's because addressing the comfort requirements of a home can vary from addressing those of a workspace.

In this post, we outline five ways a residential HVAC system varies from a commercial one. Read on to learn more. 


Generally, residential HVAC units are much smaller than their commercial counterparts. That's because a residential HVAC system needs to heat cool a smaller space than the working area a commercial HVAC system must serve.

The components of a commercial HVAC unit also differ in size compared to those of a residential unit.


Usually, residential HVAC units are placed on the sides of the house or in the backyard. 

A commercial HVAC system, on the other hand, is placed on the roof of the building or in a swamp cooler. That's because:

  • Placing the unit on the roof conserves working space

  • Noise in the working space is minimized

  • Repairs and maintenance of the unit do not disrupt activities below


Commercial and residential HVAC units also vary significantly when it comes to structure. A commercial unit needs to be more adaptable to accommodate the type, use, and size of the building. 

The commercial unit's complexity can vary based on the product you manufacture or sell in your company. It's the reason you should always work with a seasoned HVAC contractor when it comes to its installation, so you get everything right.

Residential units have a much simpler mechanism since their sole function is to provide comfort for people living in the house.


Another notable difference between residential and commercial HVAC systems is the mechanism. Commercial systems are modular. Parts can be added to increase the cooling and heating capacity or taken away for the opposite effect.

The parts of a commercial HVAC system are usually housed together, which allows for easy upgrading and maintenance. By contrast, residential HVAC units are manufactured as standalone systems. Their parts are split between the indoors and the outdoors.


Both residential and commercial HVAC systems need regular maintenance to function well for a long time.  Their maintenance needs and costs differ, but since commercial HVAC units are larger and more complex, they're more demanding when it comes to preventative maintenance and repairs than their residential counterparts.

Understand the Difference Between Commercial and Residential HVAC

As you can see, there are major differences between commercial and residential HVAC. It's the reason you should address their installation, repair, and maintenance needs differently to get the best out of them.

Are you looking for reliable HVAC services in your area? Please contact us today.

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