How to Choose the Right HVAC System For Your Commercial Building

Posted by NorthStock, Inc. on Jul 20th 2022

Choosing the right commercial air conditioning unit is essential for the health and comfort of your employees, visitors, and clients. An efficient, reliable unit can have an impact on your bottom line, as well, helping you reduce utility bills and maintenance costs while improving productivity and protecting your products and machinery.

There are a wide variety of commercial air conditioning systems, including:

  • Single-Split Systems: Common in offices, classrooms, and hotels, single-split systems are compact and cost-effective. Because they're controlled individually, you can maintain different temperatures in each room to help you save money and energy.
  • Multi-Split Systems: This is a space-saving solution that requires ductwork and often a more involved installation process, but it allows you to cool multiple rooms at the same time from a single outdoor commercial air conditioning unit.
  • Ducted Systems: These are most common in big buildings, like warehouses and distribution centers. You still have the option to regulate the temperature in different parts of the building by zoning your ducted system.
  • Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems: You can cool and heat different parts of the building at the same time, making this an ideal solution for medium-sized spaces with variable temperature needs.
  • Portable Air Conditioners: These are used for supplemental or emergency cooling in large warehouses or temporary outdoor work areas, like construction sites or event tents.

When investing in an AC for commercial use, you'll want to consider the following factors:

Size of Your Facility

The size of the building, whether it's an open plan or divided into several rooms, and whether it's a single story or multiple levels will help determine the best commercial air conditioner for your needs. For small spaces like bathrooms and hallways, you might install ceiling cassettes to help you save precious wall and floor space. In a large facility with heat-producing equipment, you might add a through-the-wall air conditioner to supplement the cooling power of your central HVAC equipment. In all cases, you'll need to check the unit's cooling capacity to ensure it can meet your needs.

Regional Climate and Temperature Control Needs

If you live in a warm climate, or are regulating the temperature in a room that must stay cool, you probably don't have any need for an HVAC unit with heating capabilities. However, in climate regions that experience both hot and cold temperature extremes, you may need a PTAC unit with electric heat or a heat pump PTAC unit for your offices, medical facilities, assisted living communities, hotels, and more. Evaporative coolers are ideal for garages, barns, storage units, classrooms, and other facilities in dry climates, but they're far less effective in humid regions.


The best commercial air conditioners are energy-efficient, which not only helps you save money on utility bills, it makes it easier to regulate the temperature in the room to ensure employee and visitor comfort and safety. Look for a high energy-efficiency ratio (EER) or choose a unit with an Energy Star label.

Air Quality

Your commercial air conditioning unit can help improve the air quality in your facility as long as it has a good filtering system. The filter should be changed and the system should be serviced by a qualified technician on a regular basis to prevent the growth of mold and the build-up of dust and debris. Large facilities may require a separate ventilation system to ensure healthy air exchange. This may be as simple as an air purification unit or a ceiling fan, or you could install an energy recovery ventilator to expel stale indoor air and bring in fresh outdoor air, warming and filtering it at the same time to reduce the load on your HVAC equipment.

In the end, the best commercial air conditioner is the one that's designed to meet your unique needs. At NorthStock, we maintain an unparalleled inventory of commercial air conditioning systems, heating systems, ventilation solutions, and replacement parts from the industry's top manufacturers. Contact us to learn more about your many options and find the unit that's right for you.