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How Many Types of HVAC Systems Are There?

January 18th, 2021

Last updated: June 9th, 2023

The HVAC sector is vast, in terms of the different types of commercial sector organisations it needs to service and their differing needs.

This results in there being many types of HVAC systems for commercial buildings, all being designed with different performance criteria, but the common denominator – whether the business needs heating, air conditioning, or ventilation – is that the system has to be good value, practical in terms of installation and operation, and efficient.

In times when energy costs are incredibly expensive and even worrying for a lot of business owners, efficiency is even more of a focus for a lot of premises.

Businesses have different objectives and targets, but most KPIs in modern organisations are based around managing costs of varying sorts and achieving environmental targets. Controlling these outputs is the principle design objective of most HVAC systems, but you still need to choose the right system to suit your operations, your buildings and your business. In general, therefore, HVAC systems are broken down into four basic categories:

Split HVAC Systems

These are possibly the most common systems, and a variant of these are found in many commercial organisations. A split system effectively means you have a unit inside and a unit outside, with air being circulated then by a system of ducting and vents.

Split systems typically carry lower operating costs and are energy efficient. However, installation can be complex because of the need to join the two units and install the ducting in often challenging locations, and therefore a bespoke design is necessary. Typically a split system will have an outdoor unit such as a condenser and an indoor unit which carries out the heat exchange. Split systems can be used for either heating or for air conditioning.

Hybrid Split HVAC System

In principle, this is a more advanced version of a split system, because it uses an electric heat pump to power the unit rather than a traditional fuel, such as gas. This makes it even more energy efficient, and also means that you can use fuel that is totally renewable. If you source your electricity from solar or other sustainable means, this can make it one of the best options for the environment.

The rest of the system is largely the same as a traditional split system, with a condenser and a heat exchange.

Duct-Free HVAC Systems

Usually these will comprise of individual wall-mounted units in each room, linked to an outside compressor. These are even more efficient than split systems because the lack of ducting means there is no air loss and the system is able to react better and faster to temperature needs.

Furthermore, the user has more control over this system, as unoccupied rooms can be turned off when no temperature control or ventilation is required. You may even be able to use sophisticated building management systems with these types of HVAC systems to section off different areas and ensure that you are being as efficient and effective as possible. Installation is much quicker because the individual units are not linked by ducting and operation is also noticeably quieter.

A ductless system can be used in individual rooms, as you don’t need complex designs, but also as a supplement to an existing split system.

Packed HVAC System

This is used for heating, ventilation and air conditioning in businesses where there is limited space. If you have a small office or shop as your premises then this could be one of the types of HVAC systems to consider.

As the name suggests, all the components of this system are stored together in one unit, which is located outside. This is a great system for space-saving and installation, but it does leave the unit vulnerable to damage and extreme weather, meaning it is more likely that you will need repairs and maintenance on a regular basis.

How to Choose HVAC Systems

There is a lot that goes into making the decision on which type of HVAC system to install. If you are the owner of a business premises then you will want to make sure you install a very efficient system that costs less to run, but you could also be limited by budget constraints and even the nature of the premises. For instance, you might not have room for an outdoor unit to go with the indoor unit, and this could lead to your choices being more limited.

It’s always best to get the advice of the professionals, and at Robinsons Facilities Services we are always happy to discuss your needs and help you to design the system that suits your own specific workplace.

Your Local Yorkshire HVAC Company

At Robinsons Facilities Services, we are HVAC repair and maintenance provider and deliver HVAC maintenance solutions across Yorkshire. Did you know we also have an HVAC maintenance calculator to help you assess how much it will cost to keep your building switched on? Try it out!

If you need any help at all with your HVAC system, our team of accredited engineers will be happy to discuss your needs and give you the best possible advice on installing or maintaining a system that will work for your needs.

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