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What is the life expectancy of a commercial HVAC unit?

Feb 25, 2021

No matter what type of business you own, it’s important to make sure that your customers and staff are comfortable in your store or office space. Having a commercial HVAC unit that works efficiently is essential to be a successful business owner.

Types of Commercial HVAC Units

Single Split System

Single split systems are most suitable for smaller commercial buildings as they heat and cool individual rooms versus an entire building, making them perfect for cafes or single offices. The advantage of this type of HVAC system is that it’s more affordable to install than a central system and energy-efficient for small spaces. Plus, single splits are self-contained units—if one breaks down, the others are unaffected—and easy to add as your business expands. 

Multi-Split System

Also called ductless or mini-split, this type of HVAC system works similarly to a single split system but can be connected to a bigger outdoor unit. Upfront installation costs tend to be higher than single split systems, though multi-splits offer several added benefits. Multi-split units are often used in restaurants and larger retail and office spaces. The units are mounted on a wall and then connected to an outdoor expression. Many business owners prefer this system since the number of outdoor units required is low. 

Variable Refrigerant Flow and Variable Refrigerant Volume

VRF and VRV are the same type of commercial HVAC unit; the terms can be used interchangeably. Medium to large corporations such as hotels and retail spaces often benefit from this type of HVAC system. VRFs and VRVs operate using heat pumps and heat recovery, making them great for open spaces. They also are capable of cooling and heating at once, making them useful in buildings with many individual rooms, such as a hotel or a corporate building with many offices. 

Commercial HVAC Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of your commercial HVAC system varies depending on the type of HVAC system, frequency and intensity of use, and how well you keep the system maintained. Be sure to use professional commercial HVAC services for commercial HVAC maintenance, as the equipment used and training required differ from residential HVAC services. 


Check out these estimations of commercial HVAC life expectancy, depending on use and maintenance:


  • Single Split System: 10 to 20 years
  • Multi-Split System: 20 years
  • VRF System: 10 to 15 years

Tips to Help Your Commercial HVAC System Last Longer

Change Air Filters Regularly

Air filters should be checked and replaced regularly to keep your system working optimally. A good replacement timeframe to keep in mind is every 30 to 90 days. Running HVAC units with dirty air filters force the system to work harder to circulate air, which can lead to burnout and other malfunctions.

Schedule Tune-Ups Twice Per Year

Routine maintenance is highly important to keeping your commercial HVAC system working well and catching minor issues before they become severe. Schedule commercial HVAC inspections and cleanings at least twice per year, typically during the spring and fall as the seasons change from heating to cooling and vice versa. 

Upgrade Your Insulation

If your building is poorly insulated, your HVAC system will have to work much harder to keep temperatures regulated, wasting energy and money. In addition to upgrading your building’s insulation, make sure all windows and exterior doors are properly sealed and weatherproofed. 

Signs of Commercial HVAC Failure

  • Strange, unusual noises coming from within the HVAC Unit
  • Fluctuating airflow throughout the day
  • Fould or unusual odors are coming through air vents
  • Air is distributed inconsistently throughout the building
  • Utility bills have increased significantly and outdoor temperatures haven't drastically changed

Schedule Commercial HVAC Services Today

CroppMetcalfe’s expert commercial HVAC specialists provide 24-hour emergency service with prompt response and superior quality work. Commercial HVAC services include air conditioning, heating, refrigeration and ventilation installations as well as first-class repair and retrofit solutions. 

Contact us today for information about our Preferred Service Policies for your commercial building.


What Our Customers Say...

"I've been a CroppMetcalfe customer for 9 years and you have always provided outstanding service. I just had my semi-annual maintenance done, and I wanted to thank George for the truly outstanding service, professionalism, and excellent advice. He is definitely one of the best 5-Star Technicians I've had! Thank you CroppMetcalfe!"

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