Commercial HVAC: Start to Finish

Installing a residential HVAC system takes a particular talent and specialized knowledge, but is also fairly straightforward as the contractor picks a unit appropriate for the size of the home and installs ducts and vents according to building code. Commercial HVAC systems, although it follows the same concept to some extent, becomes a much more intricate process simply because of the size of commercial buildings and the way in which space is used, whether for storefronts, offices, manufacturing and warehouse areas, or a combination.

Design and Engineering

Design is the first step of building an HVAC system, whether as part of a new building’s systems or as a replacement during a remodel of an older building. The experience of the engineer comes into play to determine a balance of efficiency, which is the cost of running the system, how well the system heats and cools as needed, and the immediate budget. A company’s concern for environmental issues can be a factor in determining the final decision, as is the comfort of employees who work in the building, clients, and guests.


Installation requires an experienced contractor and crew as well. Ideally, the designer and the contractor can work together. Sometimes, practicality “on the ground” requires changes which weren’t apparent when working with the blueprints and schematics. Although the installation crew has the knowledge and experience to make necessary changes, it’s always better if the designer is available to approve the solution to such issues as they come up to assure the integrity of and reasoning behind the original design.

Ongoing Inspections and Maintenance

A fact of life with any HVAC system is it needs ongoing inspections and maintenance. Maintenance is always going to be less expensive than repairs and replacement parts, so it makes sense to find potential problems before they lead to a complete failure. Changing filters is something a building maintenance team can conduct, but checking fluid levels and inspecting compressors and motors for full efficiency requires a specialist. Often, a solution requires more than just fixing the symptom but determining the cause to prevent it from happening again.

The bottom line is there is more going on in an HVAC system than the layman may realize. It takes the knowledge and experience of a specialized HVAC contractor to design, build, and maintain the system in a commercial building.