Commercial Air Conditioning FAQs

If you’re thinking about having commercial air conditioning installed in your business or office, you’re likely to have a lot of questions regarding the design, installation, and maintenance of such a system. To help you out, we’ve put together a guide containing some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding commercial air conditioning.

What is commercial air conditioning?

Commercial air conditioning is used to control the air in small to large commercial properties and is frequently used in places of work such as offices, restaurants, cafes, leisure centres and schools.
The purpose of commercial air conditioning is to provide an optimal temperature and maintain the quality of the air – either by heating, cooling, or dehumidifying it.

Air conditioners are used to keep staff and customers cool during humid, summer spells and warm in the cold winter months. It’s often referred to as AC, A/C, or air con, and there are a variety of systems on the market offering different heating and cooling capacities and settings.

How does air conditioning work?

An air conditioning system works by sucking in the air of the room and then heating or cooling it to the specified temperature. The air is then recycled back into the room to maintain your desired temperature.

Generally, most systems circulate a compressed gas known as the refrigerant, and the role of the refrigerant is to cool and dehumidify the air inside the unit.

In a forced air system, the air is circulated through the ducts with the help of a blower. The refrigerant is then cooled and condensed with the assistance of a fan which pulls air across the exterior of the system.

What’s the difference between commercial air conditioning and domestic air conditioning?

There are a few differences between the air conditioning unit you may have installed at home, and one you’d find in a commercial setting.

The main difference is the amount of power needed to operate the system, and calculating how much power it’ll use. This is obviously far higher than the amount you’d use – or require – at home.  

This is why a significant amount of technical skill is required to ensure the installed system provides the right level of BTUs for cooling, without the risk of the system completely draining your power or short-cycling. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, and is used to quantify the amount of heat that is removed from the air per hour.

What are the different types of commercial air conditioning units?

● Central Air Conditioning
● Ductless, Mini-Split Air Conditioner
● Window Air Conditioner
● Portable Air Conditioner
● Hybrid Air Conditioners

How do I know which commercial air conditioning system to choose?

Every air conditioning system, regardless of the type or brand, will have a BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating which indicates the proportion of heat it can remove from a room.

In order to calculate how many BTUs you require, you’ll need to calculate the square footage of the room or building you’re intending to install the unit in.

Here at Sovereign PSL, we offer a free site survey so you can get a good idea of what type of system will best fit your needs and space

How is commercial air conditioning installed?

Commercial air conditioning requires professional installation by engineers who are experienced in planning, designing and fitting suitable air conditioning units for commercial spaces and businesses. These will be specialists who are capable of installing and maintaining the pipework, vents, electrics and gas.

What qualifications should a commercial air conditioning engineer have?

It’s essential that you choose a qualified professional to install your commercial air conditioning unit, and a qualified engineer will have the practical skills and academic knowledge to install and maintain your system to a high standard.

Generally, a commercial air conditioning engineer should have one or more of the following:
● Apprenticeship in a related subject
● Level 1 Certificate in Introduction to Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Skills
● Level 2 Diploma in Access to Building Services Engineering
● Level 2 Diploma in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
● NVQ Certificate in Servicing and Maintaining Air-Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
● NVQ Certificate in Installing and Commissioning Air-Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
● NVQ Diploma in Servicing and Maintaining Refrigeration Systems

What skills does a commercial air conditioning engineer have?

As well as the practical and technical skills required to install complex air conditioning systems, a commercial air conditioning engineer should also have the ability to understand technical plans and designs, a strong attention to detail, the ability to solve problems quickly and efficiently and good communication and teamwork skills.

What do refrigeration and air conditioning engineers do?

Refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) engineers design, install and maintain cooling systems in commercial buildings such as supermarkets, offices, schools, hospitals, processing plants, retail spaces, restaurants, factories, leisure complexes and many more medium to large-sized buildings. Broadly speaking, their work will cover two key areas:

● Refrigeration – this involves designing, installing and maintaining cooling systems
● Air-conditioning – this involves installing and servicing systems that control air quality, temperature, and humidity

What should you do if you are thinking about getting commercial air conditioning installed?

If you’re considering getting commercial air conditioning installed, it’s worth doing some research online about the type of air conditioning you’re interested in for your building. You can then get in touch with the company.

Here at Sovereign, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your commercial cooling and heating requirements. Once these have been established, we’ll then design a tailored solution using state-of-the-art CAD software to bring the design to life and allow you to visualise exactly how it will fit into your premises.

What should you do if you have a problem with your commercial air conditioning?

If you’re having an issue with your air conditioning system, you should get in touch with the company that installed it to arrange an emergency repair as soon as possible.

Here at Sovereign, we provide a 24-hour repair service, 365 days a year to cater for businesses operating outside of – as well as within – the average 9-5 working day. This means that regardless of the time of night or day if your air-con system breaks down, we’ll aim to get it repaired and back up and running as quickly as possible.

Does a commercial air conditioning system purify the air?

Air conditioners help circulate and filter indoor air, which can otherwise feel stale and stuffy. By increasing air circulation in a room or building, you’ll reduce indoor air pollution, particularly if the air quality outside of the building is also poor.

The effectiveness of the air conditioning system relies on how regularly it is cleaned and maintained to ensure it’s operating optimally to filter the air and maintain the chosen temperature. Without regular maintenance, it’s likely the performance of the air conditioning system, and it’s ability to purify the air, will decrease with time.

How do you maintain a commercial air conditioning system?

In order to properly maintain your commercial air conditioning system, you should ensure it is checked, serviced and cleaned at least once a year to keep the components of the system functioning optimally and to prevent any issues further down the line.

This will help you avoid encountering issues when you are most reliant on the system – for example, to keep you cool in the summer or warm in the winter.

Why should I have my commercial air conditioning system serviced?

A commercial air conditioning system is made up of filters, coils and fins, and requires regular maintenance in order to ensure effective and efficient operation and to prevent future issues.

Without regular maintenance checks, the unit is likely to steadily decline and will be less durable and energy-efficient, costing you more money in the long run.

How often should I have my commercial air conditioning unit serviced?

How often you should have your system checked depends on the usage of the unit(s). However, it’s worth noting that if an item has more than 3kg of refrigerant then under the F-gas legislation you are legally required to have it leak-checked at least every 12 months.

Why would I consider installing commercial air conditioning?

A quality air conditioning system can enhance the environment of your business for both staff members and customers.

A working environment that is too hot or too cold will impact customer experience and will have a negative impact on staff members, particularly in terms of their health and well-being.
It has even been proven that a comfortable working environment can dramatically increase your team’s productivity, which is even more reason to install commercial air conditioning.

How is commercial air conditioning an environmentally-friendly heating solution?

Air conditioning systems are a more environmentally-friendly option as they work by taking low-level heat from outside and converting it to usable heat inside the property. For every 1Kw of electricity used, on average, an air conditioning unit will provide approximately 4Kw of heat. Increasingly, air conditioning engineers are working hand-in-hand with renewable energy technologies to enhance energy efficiency.

Sovereign PSL are passionate about energy efficiency and the environment, and also promote the Carbon Trust’s goal, which is to make businesses more energy efficient with 0% loans. The Carbon Trust offers loans for funding energy-efficient air conditioning systems for businesses, all you need to do is call Sovereign to find out if you are eligible for the scheme. Once the loan is repaid, your business will not only have a brand new air conditioning system, but you’ll also be saving money on energy bills.

What is the best commercial air conditioning system?

There really isn’t a ‘best’ air conditioning system, as it depends more on your business’ needs and the size of your property.

Here at Sovereign, we’ll design and install a bespoke air conditioning unit based on your interests, whether it’s a single split air conditioning unit, a VRF system with multiple indoor units, or a complete mechanical installation.

We’ll also digitally calculate the heat loss and the heat gain of your business to create an energy-efficient solution which is best-suited to your commercial property’s size and design. As a trusted commercial air conditioning contractor, our work is guaranteed to be compliant with all relevant British Standards and refrigerant regulations.

How much will it cost to install a commercial air conditioning system?

There is no set cost to installing air conditioning in a commercial building, as this depends on the type of system you’re having installed and the size of the area you need to heat or cool.

Air Con Systems can range from around £1,000 per indoor single unit, with a six-room multi-split unit costing around £6,000. If you are installing an air conditioning system in a large building such as a factory or leisure complex then the costs will be much more, but it all depends on the complexity of the installation and design.

At Sovereign PSL, we’ll offer you a free site survey so you can get a better picture of the type of installation and system you’ll require, as well as the financial cost.

If you are looking for a new Commercial Air Conditioning system, updating your existing system or you need a service or repair then we can help. Contact us on 0800 243 638 and we will offer expertise, integrity and responsiveness every time.