Things to Know About Commercial HVAC Systems


Both residential and commercial HVAC systems serve the same purpose: to cool, heat, and ventilate. However, as you would expect, commercial or corporate HVAC does it on a much grander scale. They also vary in terms of mechanisms and parts.

What is an HVAC system supposed to do?

All HVAC systems strive to keep temperatures comfortable, which is generally around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, they aim to keep indoor humidity consistent at 40-60 percent and air quality high, with CO2 less than 1,000PPM (Parts Per Million). That means that of one million gas molecules 1,000 would be carbon dioxide, and the other would be other gases.

Although there are different types of commercial HVAC systems, they all operate similarly:

  • Air conditioner units lower temperatures by expelling hot air through HVAC refrigeration or water-cooled systems.
  • Heating systems do the opposite, using water, radiator coils, or gas to heat the air.
  • Ventilation systems use fans to circulate the air and pass it through filtration systems to clean it.

How do commercial HVAC systems differ from residential systems?

Residential systems are less complicated than commercial systems and differ significantly:

  • Size: As you would expect, commercial systems are much larger than residential systems. They also have different thermostats, condenser fans, compressors, evaporators, blowers, and dampers.
  • Location: A residential HVAC system is usually placed outside the house or on the roof, in some locales. A commercial system, on the other hand, maybe located in a building’s swamp cooler or on the roof. The latter is a great space saver, which also makes for better noise control and easier access for maintenance.
  • Drainage: An individual AC unit may just have one drain or drain tray, but a commercial system has many pipes and drains to collect condensation.
  • Mechanism: This depends on both the structure and location. A residential HVAC system is usually a standalone unit, but commercial systems are generally modular. The parts in a commercial system are located in one spot, making it easier to upgrade or replace them.
  • Equipment: A commercial system is often massive and customized for the most efficient and heating for the size of the building and its use.
  • Costs and maintenance: Commercial HVAC systems are much more expensive because of their complexity, and they should be installed, serviced, and maintained only by experienced commercial HVAC contractors and technicians.
What is an HVAC system supposed to do?
All HVAC systems strive to keep temperatures comfortable, which is generally around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
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How do commercial HVAC systems differ from residential systems?
Residential systems are less complicated than commercial systems and differ significantly:
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What are the different categories of commercial HVAC systems?
Building size can often determine what type or combination of HVAC system works best to heat and cool it.
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What are the different categories of commercial HVAC systems?

Building size can often determine what type or combination of HVAC system works best to heat and cool it. Although there are variations, most can be narrowed down to three main categories:

  • Single split system: Popular and affordable, this system is often found in smaller commercial buildings and allows for individual heating and cooling control of each space. If it’s an office building with a server room for computer equipment or a restaurant, this would be ideal. This system features a combination air conditioner/furnace that passes air through refrigerant lines and circulates it via air ducts. However, for each space you want to control, it requires a separate outdoor unit.
  • Multi-split system: Up to nine indoor units can connect to one outdoor unit, resulting in better energy efficiency and a smaller outdoor footprint. Sensors detect temperature changes and can be adjusted as needed. However, multi-split systems take longer to install and can be more expensive.
  • VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) or VRV (Variant Refrigerant Volume) systems: These work best in large mixed-use buildings, such as big office buildings or hotels, where both heating and cooling of different spaces could be needed at once.
Is there an industrial HVAC installation guide?

Many business owners know they need to get a new HVAC system, but they may have little knowledge of HVAC. They might also have trouble understanding the installation quotes or equipment requirements they get from commercial heating contractors. If they follow a few guidelines, they may be more confident when choosing a contractor and/or commercial HVAC system:

  • Ask for a complete breakdown of costs. When you talk to potential contractors, have them submit price quotes that cover all aspects of installation, from start to finish.
  • Learn about the latest heating and cooling technology, system types, and manufacturers. Compare systems, costs, and benefits.
  • Remember to include the cost of ductwork in your installation budget. Ductwork and piping can add a lot to installation costs, so you need to budget for them if you can’t use existing ducts and pipes.
  • Budget for system controls, such as thermostats. Depending on your building’s size, you could need dozens—or hundreds—of thermostat control points.
  • Talk to your contractor about regular maintenance. Getting a new system installed can be costly, but not planning for regular maintenance can make it even more expensive. Ask your contractor if they guarantee their parts and labor and if they include scheduled maintenance services.
How do you become HVAC technician?

You can enroll in a Coyne College HVAC program to get hands-on instruction from industry professionals who will teach you to install, troubleshoot, and service domestic and commercial HVAC-R systems. Earn your diploma in as little as 42 weeks. You’ll be prepared for a rewarding, in-demand career that O*NET OnLine reports will grow 11 percent—much faster than average for other jobs—through 2028. Illinois expects to see job growth of 13 percent.

Contact Coyne College Chicago today to get the HVAC training you need to succeed.

Everything You Wanted to Know About HVAC Installation


An air conditioner operates by taking in warm air and pulling it over a coolant system. In an HVAC system, there is also a heating component that can be adjusted depending on whether you want your home to be cooler or warmer.

HVAC Installation Guide

The air conditioning unit is a key component of your HVAC system, especially during the summer months when the temperatures start to soar. It is important to maintain the air quality to ensure your comfort and maintain your home’s energy efficiency. If planning to update or install a new system, then this HVAC installation guide can help you select a properly sized unit, connect the air conditioner to your central heating system, determine the cost of installation, and find the best location for your AC unit.

Sizing Up the Air Conditioner

The size of the unit makes a crucial difference in terms of air quality. If the unit is too small, then the air in your home cannot be properly treated. A unit that is too big can risk undermining energy efficiency and may even shut off before the air has fully run through the system. When considering how to install an air conditioning unit, it is best to consult with a technician on everything, including matters of unit size.

The heat gain of your home also factors into the size of the unit. When inspecting your home, the technician will determine how much heat is filtered into the living space. Everything from the placement of doors and windows to the position of your home in relation to the sun affects the heat gain calculation. Knowing how much heat is regularly retained by your home will help the technician select the most energy-efficient unit for your space.

Keeping Your Home Energy Efficient

Energy efficiency is determined through the SEER, or season energy-efficiency rating, which your technician will calculate during the inspection. The rating varies depending on much electricity the air conditioner uses to operate. Higher SEER ratings mean a lower cost for you, and the technician will ensure that your HVAC system continues to maintain your home’s energy efficiency.

The Best Place for the AC Unit and Thermostat

Any AC system is liable to make some noise, so you want to consider keeping the new unit tucked away from you and your family. Try to avoid placing the unit’s outside components near any bedrooms, as this might cause some annoyance in the future. The technician will know the best place to install the unit so that you can maintain the peace and comfort of your home.

You also want to think carefully about where to install the thermostat, which allows you to set the temperature in your home and regulates the entire HVAC system. It is best to keep the thermostat indoors and away from any draftiness that could affect its readings of the overall temperature. The thermostat should also be kept away from ducts, which will direct air toward the device and likely tamper with temperature readings. To improve energy efficiency, you can install a smart thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature reading to create optimal living conditions.

HVAC Installation Guide for Homes with Central Heating

If you have a central heating unit already in place, a technician only needs to make a few modifications to your system. There should already be a duct system that connects to your furnace or central heating system, and the air conditioner simply needs to be introduced to this ductwork. It is important to have a technician check to make sure that the ducts are properly connected. Otherwise, the system could possibly leak and reduce energy efficiency.

Even with existing ductwork, you might need to make some changes to your system to make sure that the new unit can properly function in relation to the heating system. Possible alterations include having your furnace or heating system altered to accommodate the introduction of the air conditioner and modifying the duct system so that quality air is spread effectively and efficiently through your home.

Installing New Ductwork

No HVAC installation guide would be complete without addressing what do if your house needs an entirely new duct system. Not every home has ductwork built-in, but this is not a problem for a trained technician. If your home needs to be outfitted with new ductwork, then your technician will create a floor plan and determine how to complete the installation in an unobtrusive way as possible. The best places to put ducts are spaces that are hidden from view such as closets or if you have multiple floors, attic ceilings. The technician will make sure that every aspect of your HVAC system is installed without making major renovations to your home.

The Cost of Energy Efficiency

With any new installation come cost considerations. There is not a set price for this type of renovation, and the cost of installing a new unit varies and depends on multiple factors:

  • Size of your home
  • Quality of insulation and electrical system
  • Number of doors and windows
  • Condition of ductwork

A technician will inspect your home prior to completing the air conditioning installation and can provide a cost estimate. The technician will check every element of your existing heating and cooling system to determine what is best for your home.

Build Your Expertise

There are many considerations to keep in mind when installing a new air conditioning system. As temperatures start to rise, you will want to have the perfect HVAC system to control the air quality of your home. With the help of an HVAC installation guide and a trained technician, you can ensure that your home is comfortable, energy-efficient, and ready to take on the heat. In addition to seeking out a technician, you can learn more about the finer points of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning by registering for HVAC programs at Coyne College. Our instructors have the expertise and help you become a top technician. Heating and cooling systems are an integral part of any building’s infrastructure, and through our training programs, you can gain expert-level knowledge of these essential systems.

HVAC System Summer Preparation Tips


Prepare for a hot summer with a tuned-up HVAC system. Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, system is designed to provide comfortable interior temperatures year round. Without routine maintenance, your system may be costing more in monthly utility bills or operating inefficiently. Learn more about hvac system summer preparation tips and how to receive professional training at a HVAC program near you.

What Is an HVAC System?

There are many components that work together to create comfortable indoor temperatures. Your home uses one or more of these systems to adjust the temperature and purify the air of your home:

  • Furnace
  • Ductwork
  • Thermostat
  • Central AC system
  • Window AC unit
  • Ductless air conditioner

Many homes are equipped with a central AC system or a ductless system. These systems come with a SEER rating to describe the energy efficiency of the unit. A qualified AC technician can inspect a system and determine whether it needs maintenance, repairs or if you should consider replacing your unit.

HVAC System Works

How Can I Prepare an HVAC System for the Summer?

Prepare for a summer in Chicago by following these maintenance steps and considering an HVAC upgrade. Be sure to inspect your air conditioner before summer starts to avoid causing additional damage to your unit or to spend days or weeks without cool air.

Summer is also a great time to inspect your furnace. After you turn off your furnace for the last time, inspect it to see if there are any signs of damage or needed maintenance. Summer is a great time to repair your furnace and have it ready for a chilly fall.

  1. Check the Filter

    The most common summer maintenance task is to check your HVAC filter. Window AC units have their own filters and central AC systems use the same blower and filter as your furnace. Most filters need to be replaced every three months, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations before replacing. Choose a quality filter to improve your indoor air quality this summer.

  2. Clear the Area

    Outdoor units can become clogged with leaves, branches and other debris. Check your air conditioner before turning it on for the summer. Use caution when clearing any brush and try to have at least two feet clear around your AC unit.

  3. Clean Out Vents

    Air ducts are an efficient way to spread cool, comfortable air throughout your home in Chicago. Unfortunately, they are also prone to clogging. Professional cleaning services can remove dust, debris and mold that may be residing in your ductwork. This will increase the energy efficiency of your AC system this summer and dramatically improve your indoor air quality.

What Are Common HVAC Upgrades?

Look for signs that you need an update as you check your system. An older AC may still be operating, but it could be increasing your monthly energy bill. A local trade school has more information on the state-of-the-art HVAC features available for your home.

1. Window Treatments

An affordable and low-tech option for upgrading the efficiency of your system is using new window treatments. Curtains, blinds and drapes not only provide privacy but also reduce the amount of heat that penetrates your windows. This is particularly important if your home has large windows.

2. Modern Thermostats

The latest thermostat options allow you to program your system and adjust features from your smartphone. A programmable, smart thermostat can dramatically reduce your costs and offer more personalized comfort. Compare the latest thermostat options to find out how you can tailor your home to match your lifestyle. A thermostat requires professional training to safely install, so be sure you have the proper training before tackling this upgrade.

3. New Fans

Modern ceiling fans are far more energy efficient and quiet than older models. If you’re tired of a loud, slow fan or you need to add fans to increase air flow, professional HVAC training can help you determine the best placement of new fans.

What Are the Signs I Need HVAC Repairs?

Some systems just need a tune up. If you have a damaged air conditioner or other component in your HVAC system, essential repairs can improve the convenience and cost of your system. At Coyne College, you can learn more about how to diagnose these signs and repair your system.

1. Inefficient Operation
Is your AC blowing hot air? An inefficient AC unit may need to be recharged or repaired. A refrigerant leak or a condenser coil issue can affect the temperature of the air blowing through your system. A skilled technician can inspect the condenser, filter, blower and ductwork to find the cause of the inefficient operation and make any necessary repairs.

2. Costly Energy Bill
A clogged air filter or refrigerant leak can result in inefficient operations. This causes your blower to blow for longer to achieve the same results. Don’t let a simple repair issue increase your monthly bill and decrease the lifespan of your blower.

3. Annual Maintenance
Most air conditioning systems should be maintained every year. A professional cleaning, inspection and sealing service offers great results and keeps your system going. This service requires a trained technician, so it’s important to receive professional training before maintaining your air conditioner.


Where Can I Learn More About HVAC Systems?

Ready for an exciting new career or a jumpstart on your HVAC career? Receive quality HVAC training at Coyne College in Chicago to learn all the skills you need to become a professional HVAC technician. Learn more about our program or call us at 800-720-3990 for more information about our dynamic, hands-on training program.

Types of Furnaces: Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning


A furnace heats the air that is circulated by your home’s Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. A thermostat has a direct link to a furnace so that changes in the thermostat will immediately trigger a furnace to turn on or off. When considering a replacement or upgrade for your home’s (HVAC) system, the type of furnace that will be best for your home depends on the way your house is shaped and designed. That is why it is beneficial to know the four different types of furnaces and to understand the features of each one.

Keep These Things in Mind

As you start your search for a furnace, be mindful of come of the features of your home that will limit or necessitate certain options. Is your climate dry or humid? Do you experience cold and icy winters or relatively mild ones? You may also need to consult a professional to determine what level of heat you need to generate to properly warm your home. You need to be able to know the amount of British Thermal Units (BTUs) that you require a furnace to produce.

Propane Furnace

Propane furnaces are used in about 10% of households in the U.S. As a byproduct of the production of gas and oil, propane can be just as effective as any other natural gas. The downside to these furnaces is that you have to change the propane tank every so often. However, in some areas, oil and gas are not easily accessible. If your home does not have a natural gas pipeline, then you will probably be looking at propane furnaces.

Electric Furnace

Electric furnaces use an electric heating element to transfer heat to the air that cycles through them. They are less efficient than natural gas furnaces, but they have the advantage of being smaller, allowing them to fit into more compact spaces. They tend to rack up more costs on your energy bill, but they end up being cheaper than most natural gas furnaces.

Again, if you do not have a source of natural gas connected to your house, and you don’t want to haul propane tanks around, an electric furnace could be a good option for you. Your decision may also ride on the cost of electricity in your area.

One advantage of electric furnaces is that they can last as much as ten years longer than gas or oil furnaces. If you are doing the installation yourself, you will also find that an electric furnace is easier to install. Be aware that there can be a safety risk to installing any kind of heating system in your home without the aid of a professional if you are not properly trained yourself.

Oil Furnace

An oil furnace burns oil to produce a heating flame. One of these may be the better option if you are not looking to spend as much money as you would on a natural gas furnace. You can expect to pay approximately 25 percent less on average compared to a natural gas furnace.

Do be aware, however, that natural gas furnaces tend to run more efficiently. An oil furnace will usually run at an efficiency of 80-90 percent. A lot of homes in the northeastern U.S. use oil furnaces.


The most widely used heating source in America, natural gas furnaces can be found in about half of all U.S. homes. They do a great job of providing even heating throughout an entire home. Jets of gas are propelled along a burner to make a big directional flame that makes hot air, which is then circulated through the HVAC ducts via fans.

These furnaces are highly effective but can be a bit pricey compared to electric or oil furnaces. The newer gas furnaces can run at up to 98 percent efficiency. Many of the older types of gas furnaces average at about 65 percent efficiency. If you have an old-style natural gas furnace that is not providing enough heat for your home, it may be time for an upgrade. Either way, natural gas furnaces tend to make less of an impact on the utility bill, due to the lower price of gas.

Modulating Furnace

A modulating furnace combines the efficiency of natural gas with the cost-effectiveness of a cheaper furnace. While these furnaces require a bigger investment upfront, they end up saving you money on your energy bill thanks to their extremely energy-efficient design. In addition, these furnaces have a much more precise heating capability, typically landing within half a degree of the target temperature, compared to the 4-6 degree margin of error found on other types of furnaces. This is made possible by a design which, rather than shutting off and on, modulates a continuous flow of gas that adjusts based on the ratio of the home’s temperature to the temperature on the thermostat.

Become a True Expert

Are you interested in learning more about the ins and outs of the different types of furnaces? If you see yourself advising people on their HVAC systems and installing furnaces in their homes, consider getting an education in Electrical Construction and Maintenance or Electrical Construction and Planning at Coyne College. Our instructors have years of experience in the field and have given many students the tools of success. The HVAC industry has a lot of opportunities, as there will always be a need for people who know how to install and repair these systems. For more information, call our admissions department at 800-720-3990.

Learn How HVAC Systems Work

How HVAC Systems Work

If you want to learn how to become an HVAC technician, you’ve come to the right place. Coyne College’s HVAC Refrigeration program will help prepare you for a career in an in-demand profession.

Before we dive into how you can learn all about how HVAC systems work by enrolling in Coyne College’s HVAC Refrigeration program, let’s refresh our memories on what HVAC technicians do.

HVAC technicians are widely skilled trades workers in terms of the skills they use on the job each day.

An HVAC technician’s main duties include installing, maintaining and repairing various indoor climate control systems like furnaces and air conditioners. Each of those tasks is more complex than can be described in this post (that’s where Coyne’s program comes in). Installation, for example, can require HVAC technicians to use some or ALL of these skills:

  • Reading blueprints
  • Testing electrical components 
  • Testing tubing and piping 
  • Using power tools 
  • Providing great customer service
  • And more! 

In addition to possessing a variety of skills, HVAC technicians can work in a variety of settings. Such work environments include:

  • Homes
  • Schools
  • Factories
  • Office Buildings

Any building that needs heating or air conditioning, whether it’s residential or commercial, has been visited at some point by an HVAC technician.

HVAC System Works

Their work helps HVAC systems work as well as they can, increasing the quality of life for the building’s occupants. They also help people and companies save money on their electric or natural gas bills, as well as reducing the effect of heating and cooling on the environment. 

As mentioned in the open, now is a good time to be getting into the HVAC field. The HVAC technician employment rate is projected to grow by 13 percent through 2028. The continued construction of building and an increased prevalence of service contracts, especially during slow seasons, are reasons for the strong growth rate. 

The BLS suggests that the workload for technicians who focus on installation, especially of newer, greener systems, may experience periods of unemployment after initial installation booms. However, service contracts are becoming more common and will help technicians stay working during down periods.

As more and more people continue to need refrigerators, heating systems and air conditioners, the employment future for HVAC technicians should remain healthy.

There are a number of certifications that HVAC technicians can earn that showcase mastery of additional skills. For example, HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants are required to pass an exam administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Certifications help make technicians more marketable to contractors and other potential employers. 

Before achieving such certifications, most HVAC technicians begin by enrolling in an HVAC training program like the one at Coyne College. HVAC training programs are gaining popularity due to the demand for qualified HVAC professionals. 

Speaking of such programs, let’s get to what you can learn as a student in Coyne College’s HVAC Refrigeration program. 

Coyne College is a career training institution in Chicago and Chicagoland with a rich history of preparing skilled trades workers to back it up. For more than 110 years, Coyne has offered programs like its HVAC Refrigeration diploma program to set students up for career success.  

Coyne College’s HVAC-R program will prepare you to perform the essential functions of an HVAC-R technician, including installing, maintaining and repairing HVAC-R systems in a multitude of settings.

In our program, you gain an in-depth understanding of how HVAC systems work. Our curriculum features instruction on the parts of HVAC systems to help you know them inside and out. 

Our experienced instructors will cover HVAC basics with the goal of you understanding HVAC to build a foundation from which to launch your career

In Coyne College’s HVAC program, you will gain the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the HVAC profession. Some of the required courses in the program’s curriculum include:

  • Gas Heating
  • Commercial Controls and Applications
  • Troubleshooting Systems and Installation
  • Air Conditioning, Electric Heat and Heat Pumps
  • And more!

In the program, you will become well versed in the intricacies of HVAC by learning from experienced instructors who have significant experience in the field. At the end of the HVAC-R program, you will be ready to enter the workforce as an HVAC-R technician and do things like fixing a heating system and performing air conditioning unit repairs.

Our HVAC program is available both during days and at nights to accommodate your busy schedule. The program can be completed in as few as 42 weeks and is offered at our Chicago Loop campus at State and Madison.

At Coyne College, support goes beyond the classroom. As a student, you’ll have the opportunity to take advantage of career assistance resources, including mock interviews and resume help. These resources can help students secure apprenticeships after completing the program.

You’ll also have the chance to take advantage of our extensive network of connections in the field that can help you find employment at the conclusion of their training programs.

At Coyne College, you’ll receive a well-rounded education that will serve as the foundation of your skilled trade career. 

What do you say — are you ready to get to work? Heat up your career at Coyne College by visiting  


Spring Checklist for your HVAC System

Spring HVAC Checklist - Coyne College

Spring is the perfect time to start over and clean things up around your home. Your HVAC system is no exception. It helps increase the comfort of your home. Here are some tips for ensuring your HVAC system performs well throughout the spring and into the summer months.

These tips can help you get your HVAC system ready for spring and summer. Scheduling routine maintenance can help prolong the life of your furnace and air conditioner as well.

You can join the many talented HVAC technicians by starting your career at Coyne College in Chicago. Coyne College’s HVAC Refrigeration program will equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to enter the field with confidence.