Industrial Mechanical Contractors, commercial heating systems

Commercial Heating Systems Explained


It’s snowing outside, and you’re in your office keeping nice and warm. But with so many windows and large spaces, surely it’s difficult to keep a comfortable temperature. You’ve noticed that it’s colder in the spaces of your home that have large windows, so how does the office stay warm?

Commercial heating systems fill a different need than those in a home. Each commercial building has its own heating and cooling needs. A pharmaceutical laboratory may be subject to specific temperature requirements, while a general office may not. 

How do facilities maintain proper heating with all of these challenges? This guide will help you understand how different types of commercial heating systems work. 

Boiler Heating System

A commercial boiler system uses water to heat a space rather than air. People have used hot water to heat spaces for centuries. Modern technologies have made the heating process more efficient over the years.

A fuel tank holds the heat source, usually oil or gas. The fuel is pumped into a burner and is burned in the combustion chamber. This reaction creates hot air, which heats water through conduction.

The water circulates through pipes to heat the building. It warms the heat radiators and then is pumped back into the boiler to start the process over again.

The heating process generates carbon monoxide, which gets vented out of the building.  

The boiler system has many parts, including an aquastat which ensures the water stays between 160ºF and 180ºF degrees. Safety valves make sure the pressure of the system does not get too high. 

Boilers provide an efficient commercial heating system, but there are some drawbacks to using one. Boilers require fuel in order to run, so you need to be mindful of fuel storage.

Boiler heating systems have many parts, all of which must be adequately maintained. These include a low-water cutoff, electrical pumps, and expansion tank. Proper maintenance ensures that your system operates safely and efficiently.

Commercial HVAC Systems

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are common in commercial buildings. An HVAC system controls humidity, temperature, and ventilation within a building.

Because HVAC systems maintain so much control over the indoor environment, it is a popular heating choice for hospitals, laboratories, and schools. Many other industries find that HVAC suits their needs best, especially if their products require specific environmental conditions.

There are three major types of HVAC systems. A centralized system is one unit that controls the environment in the entire building. These types of systems are typically large and complex, often occupying a zone of a building.

A packaged HVAC system is common in small spaces. The heat pump and air conditioner come in one unit, and a thermostat controls the system.

Individual systems, also called decentralized systems, operate through multiple units. The units are spread out over the building and are easy to control. Air conditioning units for a specific room are an example of a unit in a decentralized HVAC system.

While HVAC systems may provide the best heating option for some facilities, they are complex systems that require proper maintenance. An unexpected increase in your energy bill may be the first sign that something is wrong with your HVAC system. If you notice an increase in energy consumption, you should have the system inspected.

Another indicator of a problem with a commercial HVAC is an unpleasant odor. A good cleaning may solve the smell problem. But a foul smell may also indicate a more serious problem.

A more obvious sign of a problem with HVAC is difficulty with controlling temperature. If one room is too cold or one is too hot, there might be a problem with your system. If you suspect any problems with your system, have them checked out right away.  

Air Source Heat Pumps

Air source heat pumps operate like a refrigerator. They absorb heat from the outside air and transfer it to the inside of a building. These types of systems are usually installed on the exterior of a building.

Heat pumps function as air to air heat or air to water heat pumps. Air to air heat pumps transfer the outside heat to indoors through a fan system. Air to water heat transfers the heat through a central heating system in a building.

When it comes to usage, air to air heat systems are mainly used to heat a space, whereas air to water heat systems can provide radiator heating, underfloor heating, or hot water heating. 

Also, air source heat pumps are environmentally friendly. Because they use the air already outside the building, the heating system requires less energy and produces lower carbon emissions. Air source heat is an efficient heating system and can also be used to cool a building. These systems are low maintenance and last for a long time. There is no need to have fuel storage with an air source system.

One drawback to this type of system is that efficiency decreases when the temperature drops below 32ºF. Although advances are being made in air source technology for cold climates, consider where you’re located if you’re thinking about this heating option. 

It is also more expensive to install underfloor heating. This system also has a lower heat supply than a boiler. This means you will need a larger heat radiator to get the same amount of heating as a boiler.

Your building must already be well insulated in order to get maximum efficiency with an air source heat system. If heat escapes through the walls and windows of your building, it will take more energy to heat it.

Get Help With Your Commercial Heating Systems

Proper heating keeps your employees comfortable and your product safe. Commercial heating systems fill a specific need for businesses, and it’s important that they are in proper working order. Get regular maintenance from a trusted company to make sure your heating system works efficiently for you.

Industrial Mechanical Contractors can help you with your commercial heating needs. Get a quote from us today, and one of our representatives will happily assist you.

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