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How Do Commercial HVAC Systems Work?

Technician is checking air conditioner

In order to control the environment inside your commercial or industrial facility, you need a commercial HVAC system. This type of equipment is specifically designed to handle the complexities associated with heating and cooling a large-scale operation, and it’s important to understand how commercial HVAC systems work to help you choose the right one for your needs.

How Does a Commercial HVAC System Work?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and in a commercial application, these components work together to create an HVAC system:


As the heating system is engaged, combustion gases are created by the system’s burners and moved into a heat exchanger. The air from within your commercial space is blown across the heat exchanger, where it is warmed before being dispersed through your ductwork to various parts of the building.


Ventilation is a necessary component of any HVAC system, allowing fresh air to enter your commercial building and contaminated air to exit. In the absence of adequate ventilation, the indoor air would become stale, odors would linger, and there would be a higher rate of mold and mildew growth. Harmful byproducts created during the combustion process are vented to the outdoors through flues and vent pipes, while fresh air is circulated to remove particulates and remove excess moisture.


Air conditioning utilizes the process of refrigeration to cool the air by removing the heat from it. In addition to lowering the temperature of the air, this process also serves to maintain appropriate levels of humidity, using a water-cooled or air-cooled system.
Call AFGO Mechanical Services at (718) 478-5555 to learn more about our commercial HVAC services in New York City, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Long Island, or contact us online today. 

Types of Commercial HVAC Systems

There are three main categories of commercial HVAC systems, but countless ways in which they may be configured, depending on the individual requirements for each building and unique circumstances.

Single-Split System

This popular, affordable option is ideal in smaller commercial applications such as a restaurant, storefront, or small office configuration. A single-split system allows for individualized heating and cooling control for each room, and in larger areas, they can work together to control the environment.

This system will likely be configured to include an air conditioner, furnaces, and an evaporator coil, and it can be controlled using a thermostat or a direct digital control (DDC) system.

The pros and cons of a single-split system include:
  • More economical than installing a central HVAC system.
  • Each unit operates individually, and if one should malfunction, the others will continue to run.

  • Each indoor unit must be connected to a separate outdoor unit, which may conflict with the space restrictions of the commercial facility.

Multi-Split System

A multi-split system works on the same principles as the single-split model with one important difference: up to nine indoor units may be connected to a single outdoor unit. This type of system is often used for larger office spaces, healthcare facilities, and retail stores, and it relies on inverter technology, which allows the compressor to operate at variable speeds.

In a more traditional forced-air system, energy is utilized throughout the day, as the compressor powers on and off each time the unit is engaged in an effort to maintain the desired temperature. With a multi-split system, a great deal of energy is conserved as built-in sensors detect minor fluctuations in temperature and make small adjustments as needed.

The pros and cons of a multi-split system include:
  • Cleaner appearance with fewer outdoor units.
  • Energy savings.
  • Choose between wall- or ceiling-mounted cooling.

  • Higher cost of installation due to additional pipework and labor.

VRF or VRV System

A variable refrigerant flow (VRF) or variable refrigerant volume (VRV) system utilizes either heat pump or heat recovery technology. A heat pump system provides either heating and cooling, which may be beneficial for large open areas, whereas a heat recovery system can provide both heating and cooling simultaneously and is ideal in applications where the space is divided into multiple rooms.

The pros and cons of a VRF or VRV system include:
  • Meets the demands of a large commercial space.
  • Reliable, efficient, and flexible.
  • Quick installation.

  • Higher upfront costs.
  • A backup condenser is needed in case the outdoor unit fails.

Call us today at (718) 478-5555 for fast, efficient commercial HVAC services in the New York City area.

Schedule Commercial HVAC Services in New York City, Manhattan, Bronx, and Long Island

AFGO is family-owned and -operated with nearly a century of experience serving customers throughout the New York City area.

Call AFGO Mechanical Services at (718) 478-5555 to schedule commercial HVAC services, including installation, replacement, and repair, or contact us online today. 

At AFGO, we don’t believe in one-size fits all HVAC systems…
we succeed by providing our customers with alternative HVAC solutions.