Originally published Nov 12, 2012. Updated on May 24, 2023.

While the heating system in a detached house is somewhat complex, commercial heating systems are far more intricate. The main idea though is virtually the same: use a heat source to add heat to your home or condo. In this blog post, we discuss the differences between residential and commercial heating systems.

How Detached Home Heating Systems Work

Your home heating system, no matter what kind you have, has a pretty simple goal: to heat your home. If you have a boiler or a furnace, it uses a fuel source, like electricity or gas, to create heat. If you have a heat pump, it moves heat from the outside into your home. In the case of a heat pump or a furnace, these systems use a fan to blow the heated air through your home. With a boiler or a radiant floor system, they move heated water through your home, and the heat radiates out into the surroundings.

But when you start thinking about a high-rise condo, the heating system starts to get trickier. Here are some of the difficulties that are faced by commercial high-rise condominiums.

  • Billing – With a high-rise condominium, each unit needs to be billed for the amount of energy that they have used.
  • Heating vs. Cooling Demand – Each unit needs to be able to operate individually from one another. A family in one room might want cooling when the person next door wants heating. The system needs to accommodate separate households in the same building
  • Energy Efficiency vs. Maintenance Costs – A certain level of efficiency must be maintained in order to satisfy occupants’ budgets. However, there are some systems that cost more to install and others that cost more to maintain and repair. A balance must be struck between the two.

Types of Commercial Heating Systems

There are a few different ways to solve these issues. We’ve put together a very brief list below to outline how these systems work.

Centralized System

As its name implies, a centralized system operates from a centralized mechanical room. They provide both heating and cooling from this one location. They are complex and typically used in buildings with 5-7+ floors. They also don’t allow for accurate measurement of individual unit energy consumption. However, when a two-pipe water source heat pump is installed, it is a smaller initial investment overall.

Decentralized System

This high-rise HVAC system offers the most accurate measuring of individual energy consumption. This system is used mostly in building with 6 or less floors. Each unit gets its own heating and cooling unit which allows for precise energy measuring. However, these systems typically require more repair service and have a shorter lifespan.

Need Help With Your Condo HVAC System?

If you have any questions about the heating system in your high-rise condo, call the residential and commercial HVAC experts at Advantage Airtech Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer comprehensive heating and air conditioning services for both homes and businesses throughout the Durham area.

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