5 Common Types of Commercial Air Conditioning - Kitchen Services (2022)

What is Commercial Air Conditioning?

From small to big commercial settings, commercial air conditioning is utilized to chill, heat, and dehumidify the air. Commercial air conditioning units can be used in offices, shops, cafes, restaurants, schools, leisure centers, gyms, and any other sort of commercial property. In order to maintain a comfortable temperature and air quality for customers and/or employees in the summer and winter.

These commercial systems work on the HVAC system working principle that is by drawing air from within a room and turning it hot or cool. Depending on what temperature we want to have. It is the same air that is again recycled back into space in order to maintain the temperature.

Air conditioning systems are also known as AC. There are so many various systems in the market with varied heating and cooling capacities and settings. This is why it’s critical to hire a professional commercial air conditioning company to help you choose the best system for your business and property.

Types of Commercial Air Conditioning

Most commercial areas, from small stores and cafés to big offices and public places, have commercial air conditioners. In order to meet the diverse needs of today’s world, Air conditioning systems come in a variety of heating and cooling capacities. Along with varied configurations and layouts. Following are the most common types of commercial air conditioning systems:

  • Central Air Conditioning
  • Ductless, Mini-Split Air Conditioner
  • Multi Split Air Conditioner
  • VRF and VRV
  • Chillers

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Difference between Commercial and Industrial Air Conditioning

Industrial air conditioning systems are the ones used in huge retail shops, warehouses, or malls. However, when talking about commercial air conditioning, the overall focus is on restaurants, bakeries, grocery shops, offices, etc.

Requirements of Industrial Air-Conditioning:There is a certain set of features that an industrial air conditioning must have. That includes:

  • Air humidification
  • Air dehumidification
  • Heating of air/water
  • Cooling of air/water
  • Ventilation
  • Air filtering
  • Making use of indoor/outdoor air

Central Air Conditioning

It is with the help of ductwork that the Central Air Conditioning system moves air throughout your space. It combines the supply air ducts that spread conditioned air throughout the area with return air ducts. That is responsible to bring the conditioned air back to the system.

This type of air conditioning unit not only makes the air cool, in fact, it also removes some part of the moisture present. This makes the area comfortable.

A good quality commercial central air conditioning would cost you around $1500 to $2500. Although central air conditioners are an ideal fit for residential settings. Smaller commercial settings like a tiny café, a small eatery, etc. can also have this one.

Ductless, Mini-Split Air Conditioner

In its most basic form, a ductless mini-split system consists of one outside unit and one indoor unit connected by refrigerant tubing and electrical cabling. The interior unit, which is usually wall-mounted, provides heated or cooled air directly into the living space, eliminating the need for ductwork. A single-zone system is meant to give heating and cooling comfort to a single area. Hence, this one is also perfect for a small enclosed kind of setting.

The cost for a single-zone ductless mini-split air-conditioner would range from $3000 to $7000. And for a dual-zone system, it would be around $5500 to $9000.

Multi-Split System Air Conditioning

Multi-split systems operate similarly to single-split systems, except they allow you to connect multiple interior units to a single outside unit. Restaurants, businesses, and offices frequently employ this approach. The fewer outside units you require, the less room they will take up and the more appealing they will be to the eye. This can also be used for commercial air conditioning units.

Depending upon the system, the cost for multi-split air conditioning would vary from $3900 to $4900.


VRF (variable refrigerant flow) serves as an ideal HVAC solution for medium to big applications, such as hotels, workplaces, and retail stores.

Heat pumps and heat recovery are used in VRF and VRV systems. Heat pump systems can heat or cool a building at any moment, making them perfect for open floor plans. Heat recovery systems may deliver simultaneous heating and cooling to multiple areas at a time. This makes them a good choice for a structure with multiple rooms.

Commercial HVAC systems that are efficient collect waste heat from the building and use it to heat water and other areas. You may cool one room while heating another with the heat recovery system.

Based on the square foot of the conditioned area, the cost for VRF is around 15% higher than your traditional commercial ducted air conditioning.


For commercial settings, chillers are also widely used. There are two types of vapor compression chillers available in the market.

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1.Air-Cooler Chiller: This kind of chiller takes the heat out into the atmosphere that is produced by the heat exchanger. The cost for an Air-cooler chiller is around $350 to $1000 per ton, depending on its size.

2.Water-Cooler Chiller: A cooling tower chills water refrigerant in a water-cooled chiller. The cost for a water-cooler chiller is $350-$450 per ton. The price only increases from here depending upon the capacity, model, and size.

Absorption chillers, which are a type of water-cooled chiller, use extremely little electricity. It’s used in the central air conditioning systems of mid- to-large-sized buildings as a heat source refrigeration system.

The purchasing cost of a brand new commercial air conditioner and then its installation cost becomes very difficult to manage. That is why people often look for second-hand commercial air conditioning units. Some businesses opt for second-hand as this reduces their purchasing cost and they don’t have to go out of their budget.

Types of HVAC Systems in Hotels

With so many options to choose from, it becomes difficult to see which type of AC is best for your commercial use. Sometimes, central air conditioning is preferred in hotels and sometimes it’s thermal, so people often get confused.

When it comes to hotels, they usually have three preferred types of HVAC systems.

  1. Packaged terminal air conditioners (PTACs): PTAC is a unit that you have seen against the wall behind a window in hotel rooms. These self-contained units do not make use of outside air, instead they utilize the air present inside the room only.
  2. Vertical Terminal Air Conditioners (VTAC):Smaller, wall-mounted air conditioning units. VTAC can heat and cool a large number of rooms. Since it consumes air from the bottom and releases it through a duct on top in order to heat or cool the area.

That is why they are installed in a corner setting. They employ the samecooling and heating methods as PTAC systems.

  1. Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF)(mentioned above)

Types of Commercial Kitchen Cooling Solutions

A food-based business’s nerve center is its commercial kitchen. Any issues in the kitchen can quickly spiral out of hand, causing harm to the employees, customers, and even the company. Not only does a well-run kitchen necessitate a dedicated crew, but it also necessitates a well-designed HVAC system.

If the kitchen lacks an appropriate make-up air unit, it can make working in the kitchen riskier and have a cascade effect on everyone. Whoever is exposed, including affecting customers’ dining experiences and damaging the business. Hence, it is very important to come up with commercial kitchen cooling solutions. Some of these solutions are:

  • An ideal HVAC system
  • Ventilation System
  • Evaporative Cooling Strategies
  • Making use of Fans

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Commercial HVAC System Components

All of the components that together make up the HVAC system are equally important. The system is most likely to collapse even if one of its parts is not functioning.Some of the most significant HVAC components are:

  • Condenser Systems
  • Thermostat
  • Heat Exchanger
  • Air compressor
  • Air handler
  • Evaporator Coils

Large Commercial Air Conditioning Unit

Different air conditioning systems are used for different types of buildings. However, when it comes to large commercial air conditioning units, one has to mention Daikin, Ingersoll Rand,and Johnson Controls as the largest HVAC manufacturers.

Apart from the large units used in commercial settings, they offer portable commercial air conditioning units which are now gaining popularity. These 5 ton, 7.5 ton, or even 10 ton portable units are moveable and can be used for commercial settings. For example, meeting rooms, hospital waiting areas, lobby, etc.

When it comes to commercial air conditioning installation and commercial air conditioning repair in Los Angeles, Kitchen Services provides quick and efficient services of all sorts.

FAQs (Commercial Air Conditioning)

What type of air conditioner is most efficient for restaurants?

Wall-mounted split systems are the most prevalent type of air conditioning system in restaurants, and they’re also the most cost-effective because they only require drilling holes for the cable and attaching the unit.

What is the principle of HVAC?

Thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics are principles on which an HVAC system operates. All of these elements are used in various HVAC components. IAQ Indoor air quality refers to the air quality inside a building or structure as it relates to the health and safety of its occupants or the items/goods stored there.

Which AC is used in hotels?

The most commonly used AC units in hotels are packaged terminal air conditioners (PTAC).

What is the central air system?

This is a system where air cools from the central location of the space and is spread across to and from the rooms with the help of ducts and fans.

How do air conditioning work in hotels?

PTAC are units that you have seen against the wall behind a window in hotel rooms. These self-contained units do not make use of outside air, instead, they utilize the air present inside the room only. That is how air conditioning works in hotels.

What is the average life of a central air conditioning system?

If taken proper care of, your central air conditioning system can last upto 15 up to 20 years.

What does PTAC mean?

PTAC stands forPackaged terminal air conditioners.

Is PTAC central air?

No PTAC isn’t a central air unit. It is a standalone unit that is installed through a wall.

Can you have air conditioning in a commercial kitchen?

Yes, it is okay to have air conditioning in a commercial kitchen. This will keep the place cool and comfortable to work in.

How do restaurant kitchens stay cool?

Restaurant kitchens stay cool by using ventilation systems, evaporative fans, or even an HVAC system in order to stay cool.

Originally published at Kitchen Services - Commercial HVAC company Los Angeles

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