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Choosing the Right HVAC System: Older Building Air Conditioning

Choosing the Right HVAC System: Older Building Air Conditioning

Renovating your business space in an older building? Let’s talk about choosing the perfect HVAC system for your needs. Now, I know you’ve got a lot on your plate with floor plans and furnishings, but don’t overlook the importance of selecting the right HVAC system. It may seem daunting, but fear not! I’m here to guide you through it.

Dealing with Space Limitations

One of the biggest challenges when replacing air conditioning in older buildings is limited space. These charming old buildings often lack the generous amount of space we desire. But hey, that doesn’t mean we’re out of luck. There are some great options available to us.

Ductless Systems and Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF)

If space is a concern, you can consider a ductless system or a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system. These alternatives can be lifesavers when traditional options don’t fit the bill.

Consulting with a qualified HVAC installer is crucial, especially if your building is a designated landmark. They can work closely with preservation professionals who understand the renovation regulations that might impact your HVAC system choice.

Ducted Air Conditioning: Is it the Right Choice?

Ducted air conditioning systems are quite popular in homes, residential complexes, offices, and commercial buildings. But does it make sense for your older building? Let’s find out.

Working with Existing Ductwork

If your older building already has appropriate ductwork in place, you might want to consider keeping it. By replacing only the central unit(s), you can save some money. So, if the ductwork is in good condition, why not take advantage of it?

Advantages of Ducted Systems

Ducted systems are a great fit for restaurants and other businesses that produce a lot of humidity. They excel at removing moisture from the air, ensuring a comfortable environment. Plus, if airflow is a concern, ducted systems can circulate the air more effectively and balance the pressure throughout the space.

Oh, and did I mention aesthetics? Ducted systems keep the ductwork hidden, so if you care about maintaining a clean and sleek look, this might be the way to go. And hey, they’re less expensive to maintain too. Who doesn’t love saving some bucks?

Going Ductless: An Alternative Worth Considering

If your older building doesn’t have the luxury of accommodating ducts, fear not! Ductless systems are here to save the day.

Individual Climate Control

Unlike traditional systems that rely on one central unit, ductless systems consist of smaller air blowers that can be individually controlled. This feature makes them a popular choice for businesses with varying climate control needs, such as computer rooms or storage areas. You can have different settings in different parts of your space without any hassle.

Say Goodbye to Dust

Maintaining a dust-free environment is crucial for certain businesses. Ductless systems are perfect for this scenario. With no ducts to worry about, you can enjoy cleaner air and a healthier workspace.

VRF Systems for Preservation and Efficiency

Sometimes, older buildings with historic designations come with preservation challenges. If you need to preserve ceilings, floors, and the outward façade without making significant changes, ductless or VRF systems might be your best bet.

VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) systems are versatile and capable of supplying both heating and cooling to different locations within the same building. They consist of small air handlers that can be individually controlled. This is a fantastic option for historic buildings that house precious collections that require specific preservation conditions.

VRF systems are a great fit for restaurants, retail stores, and offices in cities like Las Vegas, where space is a premium. Not only are they quiet, but they are also energy efficient, thanks to their variable speed compressors. These compressors only run at the necessary capacity, depending on the current conditions. Keep in mind, though, that VRF systems tend to be more expensive upfront.

The Importance of Choosing the Right System Capacity

Now that we’ve explored the different types of HVAC systems suitable for older buildings, let’s talk about system capacity. Believe it or not, size matters!

Avoid the Pitfalls of Oversized Systems

Contrary to popular belief, bigger is not always better. Choosing an oversized HVAC system can lead to higher upfront costs, increased maintenance expenses, and unnecessary energy usage.

When a cooling system is too large for the space, it won’t run for sufficient periods to remove moisture from the air. As a result, many people end up lowering the thermostat to keep the system running longer, which in turn leads to higher electricity bills. We don’t want that!

The Right Capacity for Optimal Performance

To ensure comfort and efficiency, it’s crucial to choose an HVAC system with the appropriate capacity for your space. By getting a system that is correctly sized, you’ll enjoy effective dehumidification, lower energy bills, and an overall comfortable environment.

To determine the right system capacity, it’s important that your HVAC provider properly calculates the load requirements. Square footage is just one aspect of the equation. Other factors such as the building’s construction, weather conditions, insulation quality, and window and door thermal efficiency all play a role. Look for a contractor who utilizes computer software programs for accurate load calculations.

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