How Is a Business AC Unit Different from a Residential Unit?

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Air conditioning is essential for both our homes and businesses, but did you know that the systems that cool each down have some interesting differences? If you want to know just how they differ, read on to learn more!

How Each System Works


The main difference between commercial and residential cooling is the power that is needed to do the job. Commercial spaces have to service more people than private homes, and they usually take up larger spaces. Because there are so many people in a commercial building at a given time, the units are usually stored on the roof to preserve space. Also, on the roof, the inevitable noise is also much less disruptive.

Why would the number of people inside the building matter as far as the amount of cooling power needed? It’s due to human bodies exuding heat. A commercial unit must overcompensate for this phenomenon. This consideration not only applies to employees but crowds of customers in applicable businesses, such as big box and grocery stores.


Central home systems are simply hooked up to ducts. The evaporator is stored indoors, usually in the basement or garage, and the condenser is outside. This is referred to as “split,” because the components are kept both inside and outside. Heat pump units are also split, and they the most common types of home units. They cool in the summer and heat in the winter.

Differences in Installation


There is a certain amount of technical skill needed to install a business unit. Their drainage systems are much more complicated with the multiple pans and drainage pipes that are needed to prevent overflow after the evaporation phase. While residential units need only one pan, the amount of water from the condensation formed by a commercial air conditioner will surely cause a flood without the additional protection.

Commercial air conditioner technicians also need to have experience sizing a unit to fit right. This is about more than just conserving space. The perfect fit ensures that the system will not short-cycle or drain the power while also providing the right amount of BTUs to cool the area.


Home cooling units, having indoor and outdoor components, must have both parts separately installed and maintained. It is also pertinent that both are linked perfectly in order to perform. If ductwork has not yet been installed, that, of course, is a must, unless the homeowner is opting for a ductless system.

Hire the Right Company for the Job

It takes an experienced crew to install both business and home units efficiently. At O. C. McDonald’s, we take pride in our proven track record as one of San Jose’s most trusted HVAC contractors. If you need our highly-skilled technicians to help you cool your home or business, give us a call at 408-295-2182 today.

Hiring a mechanical engineer for building retrofits, rebuilds, additions, or enhancements is the quickest and surest way to obtain the ideal facilities for supporting your operations. Are you ready to make your workplace more modern, efficient, or compliant? If so, we can help.

Call us today at 408-295-2182.


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