What is an HVAC System? HVAC’s meaning is actually an acronym for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning used in both domestic and commercial environments. The HVAC system is a combination of components that regulate both the heating and the cooling within a building. It also includes peripherals such as HEPA filtration systems, Humidifiers, Air Exchangers, Heat Recovery Systems, Negative Pressure Systems and other devices.
There are a variety of sizes styles and ages of buildings, and as such, there are lots of different ways to heat and cool each and every one of these buildings as well!
Forced Air Furnace:
The forced air furnace is probably the most known HVAC system for residences in Ontario, especially due to the cold climate – often paired with an AC unit for summer – sharing the same set of duct work. Forced air furnaces typically use natural gas or oil for fuel.
AHU (RTU – Roof Top Units) Fan Coil Units – Mainly Commercial Applications:
AHU’s (Air Handling Units) are designated by Tons for example: 5Tonne or 20 Tons units and beyond. Variable Speed Air Handlers have a variable motor and can offer more consistent cooling or heating, can save a whopping in 49% in energy costs too over other methods.
Types of AHU’s include – Four pipe vertical stack, Chilled water Fan Coil, Ductless Mini-Split Air Handlers, Hydronic Air Handlers and more. Air Handler Units connect to an air conditioner/heat pump provide air regulation for an indoor space. Often a fan coil system using two pairs of water lines (one pair for hot one pair for cold). This has good response time and has a great deal of comfort for the occupants.
Boiler & Radiator Systems
Industrial and Commercial boiler systems are more common and conducive to extremely large spaces as they work more efficiently than other heating systems in this setting. Mainly used for multi-residential complexes, condos and apartments for the same reason.
Humidity Control: Not just for climate-controlled conditions, but for health on a multitude of levels including asthmatics, breathing comfort-ability, but viral control as well. Studies by MIT and Harvard and found that humidity over 49% had the capacity to eradicate viruses faster than at lower humidity levels. Consider having the humidifier checked, or installed as an add-on unit. HEPA filtration systems can add on to existing units as well.
Heat Pump Air Conditioner Combos
Heat pumps which also act as air conditioners are great for in-unit use and the heat (or air) temperature in that unit is controlled by the occupant. They are exceptionally energy efficient as the technology is vastly different from a window air conditioner. Heat Pumps do not require duct work; no windows need be retrofitted (conversely, the building gets its windows back). More secure for safety and rodent reasons, among others, such as drafts.
Multiple heat pumps can be connected to one condenser for cost effectiveness, or each heat pump can have its own condenser. There is no duct work required, however there will need to be a small hole for the cables to pass through from the inside unit to the outside motor. These units are very quiet, extremely efficient to both install and run.
Heat Pumps work on multi levels as well – if the building has an upper-level unit and lower, a dual heat pump can operate both the upper heat pump / air conditioner combo as well as the lower level. Each unit inside is operated individually by a remote.
HVAC Repair & Maintenance:
An HVAC system requires regular maintenance to keep them functioning. Since an HVAC system is a significant investment, and typically has a lot of moving parts, it requires regular maintenance to ensure everything is running as effectively and efficiently as it should. One of the most common reasons a system will need repair is improper maintenance or complete lack thereof.
Installing a humidifier in your home or commercial facility is not only beneficial to each human’s health, but also to the health of your residential and commercial structure as well as your furnishings, electronics and equipment. Low humidity also results in dry floorboards, plants and flowers drying out and warping of door frames and other wooden fixtures.
Improper humidity levels in offices, commercial or industrial warehouses, retail store fronts, can put your equipment, merchandise and inventory investments at risk. Static shock due to static electricity is also a major concern, for both staff and equipment.
The incidence of absenteeism for respiratory infections was found to be higher among employees working in environments with low humidity. Installing humidifiers in a home or office can address these issues, and also help to reduce your utility costs.
If you can maintain the desired 35-50% humidity in your building, you can save on your Hydro bills, as humans feel comfortable even at lower temperatures when the humidity is at ideal levels. It has been established that humidified air feels much warmer than dry air, providing you with clean, warm and moist air in winter.
Purified Air & HEPA Filters:
Purified Air Depends on the Number of ‘Air Changes’ Per Hour (ACPH or ACH)
Another big consideration is – how many Air Changes per hour do you want in the building? The more changes per hour the purer the air. For example, a hospital patient room has approx 6 air changes per hour, whereas an operating room or surgery room has anywhere from 30-60 air changes per hour.
The more changes per hour, the better the filtration, however, the bigger the system requirements will likely be.
Air Change = a measurement of how many time the air within a room (space) is replace (generally per hour – standard measurement)
HEPA filters are a specific type of filter, and are standardized to be required and tested to filter 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns and above.
This doesn’t mean smaller particles are ignored by the filter, many do get trapped, just not at the 99.97% level (some 0.2 or below may be trapped at the 99.95% level, but to be considered a HEPA filter are unable to advertise that fact). The more the air circulates through the system, the more particles and pathogens are trapped.
Exhaust Heat Recovery Systems: (Recycling warm air)
Dry Waste Heat Recovery System aka Furnace Exhaust Heat recovery is a waste heat recovery system that recaptures that exhaust, processes it and recycles it back into the house before it gets to the furnace, such as the furnace is partially being fed pre-warmed air instead of converting only cold external air.
Exhaust Heat Exchangers for Water (generally Commercial application) – Exhaust heat exchangers for water can be used with natural gas, diesel and bio-fuel engines. They remove the thermal energy from exhaust gas and transfer it to the water circuit system. This now extracted heat is used for heating hot water, space heating (including radiant floor or wall units) and any industrial process that requires hot water. Some units can reclaim up to 60% waste heat from an engine, and also think of the savings of not also having to provide additional energy costs for heating the now useable hot water.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list, but just some examples of the variety of HVAC systems and components that are available.
Which begs the question… Do you have the best type of commercial heating for your facility? Is there a more efficient, yet cost effective option than your current heating system for your unique workspace requirements? Does your work space have access to natural gas; if not, should you consider a commercial heat pump as an ideal alternative or perhaps zone heating? Would dedicated digital controls be helpful for building management?
Ask us about all types of repairs, installs, maintenance of all aspects of heating equipment including boilers, rooftop unit installs replacements or servicing, zone heating, furnaces, or apprise us of your unique situation, and a creative and effective solution will be found.
However, keep in mind, every building is unique, and each building’s HVAC System should be discussed on its own merit.
Types of Buildings Heating Ontario Services:
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