HVAC Considerations for a Commercial Renovation

Published on: February 27, 2016
Inside hvac ductwork | AC Southeast®

Whether you own a retail storefront, an office building, or a service-industry structure, the HVAC system is one of its most critical components. If you’re starting a renovation on your commercial building, the following HVAC considerations deserve your attention.

Layout Changes Might Necessitate Ductwork Reconfiguration

Your commercial building’s existing ductwork was designed for its present layout. If you plan to build walls, tear walls down, or use an interior space for a new purpose, you might have to reconfigure the ductwork. Otherwise, you could experience reduced efficiency and comfort as well as other problems with the HVAC system.

Alternatively, you might want to consider a commercial ductless mini split system. Installing new ductwork can add considerable time and expense to your renovation, and a ductless system eliminates that need entirely. It can increase your building’s energy efficiency, as well.

Renovations Introduce Dust and Particulates

Depending on the size of the building and the nature of your business, you might need to conduct your commercial renovation while people continue to work inside the structure. While this can help keep your business running, it can also prove dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions.

Renovations produce dust and other particulates that can trigger allergy symptoms in building occupants. The reduced indoor air quality might become hazardous to the health of your employees or tenants.

It can also present problems for your HVAC system. If your air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump continues to run throughout the renovation process, your ductwork and system components will receive more exposure to dust and particulates. It’s often best to turn off the system entirely or to block off portions of the building as they’re renovated.

It’s possible to seal your ductwork before a renovation. No dust or particulates can enter the duct system, so you won’t have to worry about cleaning them out after your workers leave.

Your Old HVAC System Might No Longer Work

In some cases, commercial renovations introduce the need for a new HVAC system. Maybe you’re adding a new storage area or receiving bay to the building, for instance. In this case, the added square footage will force the HVAC system to work harder and will introduce more wear and tear.

The same goes for adding an industrial freezer or refrigerator to the space. Although industrial cooling systems generate cold air for that space, they give off heat to the surrounding area.

You might need to replace the HVAC system to meet the requirements of the renovated building. While this adds to your total cost, it will save you money in the long run. Our experienced HVAC technicians will determine what size air conditioner, furnace, and other components the building needs to use as little energy as possible.

Proper Cleanup Is Essential

After a commercial renovation, dust and debris might remain in the space. It’s essential to clean the building thoroughly so those particles don’t circulate through your HVAC system. Otherwise, you’ll see higher energy bills, and you might have increased wear and tear on the system’s components.

If you’ve hired contractors for a renovation, make sure the estimate includes cleanup. Alternatively, you can hire a cleaning service to complete the work after the renovation is done. If your HVAC system includes ductwork, consider having the ducts cleaned before you resume business.

Increasing Occupants Can Change HVAC Needs

People generate heat, which means they impact your HVAC system’s efficiency. If your commercial renovation involves increasing the number of building occupants on a daily basis, you might need a new air conditioning system that can handle the increased heat generation. Similarly, you might not need as powerful a furnace during the winter.

Consider setting up a meeting with an HVAC specialist to discuss your plans for the renovation. He or she can help you determine whether or not you need any system upgrades so that you or your tenants can use the building effectively after the renovation is complete.

If you’re planning a commercial renovation, rely on AC Southeast® to schedule an appointment with an experienced HVAC technician before work begins.