What Are the Most Efficient Commercial Air Handler Options?

Choosing the right commercial air handler can make your business more comfortable, efficient and save you money. This device provides a key element of the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system.

What is an air handler?
Air handlers, also referred to as air handling units (AHUs), circulate and regulate the air from an HVAC unit. The AHU forms the backbone of the HVAC system. Its large metal housing contains the blower, cooling and heating elements, fan, its filter chambers or racks, dampers and sound attenuators. It filters and circulates air throughout the building’s duct system.

Efficient Air Handlers

You’ll find three main types of commercial HVAC systems with air handlers. Depending on the size of your building, the following might be right for your needs:

  • single split system,
  • multi-split system,
  • VRF or VRV system.

Single Split System

A single split system provides an affordable system for small commercial buildings. It lets your heating and cooling individual areas or rooms. This makes it a typical solution for cafes, server rooms, small offices, and shops. While you can combine them since you need one outdoor unit for each indoor unit, it adds to the cost and you need space outdoors too for each unit. This can detract from the landscape.

The advantages of more than one single split though are its cheaper than a central system and since each self-contained unit ensures you still have HVAC if one unit breaks down.

Multi-Split System

A multi-split system functions similar to a single split with one key difference – some systems let you connect up to nine indoor units per outdoor unit. These prove popular with doctor’s offices, restaurants, shops, and large offices.

This choice lets you preserve the aesthetic of your building’s exterior while efficiently cooling and heating the interior. You can use more than one type of interior unit and you can combine wall- and ceiling-mounted air conditioning units. Their complexity does require more pipework than using several single splits which drives the cost up.

VRF or VRV

The two acronyms refer to the same technology. Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) and variable refrigerant volume (VRV) share the same meaning. The VRF/VRV option provides the most efficient solution for medium to large structures such as hotels, mixed-use buildings, large offices and retail spaces.

These systems provide reliability and simple controls with shorter installation times. Two types exist: heat pump and heat recovery. The heat pump option works better in open plan areas to provide either cooling or heating to the structure. Heat recovery options let different areas of the building use heating and cooling simultaneously. This makes them ideal for large office buildings with many individual offices. These recovery systems provide the greatest efficiency since they recover waste heat and use it to heat both hot water and other rooms.

Contact O.C. McDonald today at 408-295-2182 to learn how we can help you choose the most efficient commercial air handler for your business. Ask us how a system with direct-drive fans, fan arrays, and energy recovery systems can help create further efficiency in your building.