Requirements For A Solid Commercial Air Conditioning System

25 June 2018
 Categories: , Blog


Commercial air conditioning units are used for a variety of applications, from cooling stores to seeing that warehoused goods are kept dry. At a commercial scale, a lot more goes into the job than simply placing a system in a window. Before you move ahead with a project, take these 5 issues into account:

Calculating Needs

On a daily basis, a good rule of thumb is that one person in a building for an 8-hour work day will likely require about 380 BTUs of cooling. To simply cool a 5,000 square foot area, you can expect to need roughly 120,000 BTUs of capacity. A/C system capacities are commonly measured in tons, with 12,000 BTUs of capacity converting to one ton. A commercial-grade system is typically considered anything with a capacity above 5 tons.


Providing air conditioning for any building large enough to house a commercial enterprise is likely to consume a great deal of electricity. A 1.5-ton A/C unit -- what's usually considered the smallest residential configuration -- should cover an area between 120 and 200 square feet, consuming about 3.5 kW of electricity. While commercial options are typically more efficient, this figure offers a conservative starting point for calculating electrical consumption.


All that evaporated water has to go somewhere, and most A/C systems use copper piping to handle the job. Commercial-grade models are typically designed to store about 5 gallons of water at a time. Yours should displace upwards of 60 gallons of water per day, so normal drainage requirements shouldn't call for any additional piping to be added to a building.


A commercial air conditioning setup is normally comprised of both indoor and outdoor elements, respectively called the evaporator and condenser. Thanks to improvements in materials and efficiency, you can expect a 5-ton setup to require about 1,000 square inches of space. This includes room that allows the built-in air filters to breathe a bit.

Long-Term Maintenance

The reality is that at some point you might need air conditioning repairs performed on your system. If you have strict requirements for continued use, such as in a warehouse, it may be wise to have a backup system in place to handle downtime. An air conditioning services provider is likely to charge upwards of $900 to work on a 5-ton unit, and contractor costs can be expected to rise according to the size and complexity of the system. For more information about commercial air conditioning maintenance and installation, you can visit sites like