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Comprehensive Guide: How Does a Commercial Heating System Work?

If you are serious about the comfort of your employees, visitors, and clients, one of the things to take seriously is the installation of a heating system in your commercial space. But before you do that, it is important that you learn how the commercial heating system works. For example, the major factors to consider when trying to figure out the differences between commercial heaters are the type of building and the type of system itself. Also, each system varies in materials, cost, and efficiency. In addition to these differences, you will also need to consider extra features such as boilers and zoning systems.

In this article, we give a comprehensive guide on how commercial heating systems work and other important things to note before you install one in your commercial space.

The different types of commercial heating system

There are four different types of commercial heating systems, and each of them has different functions and efficiency. The differences between these heating systems largely depend on the kind of substance that powers the system. For example, some of them are powered by fuel, others by renewable energy, while some make use of neither. There are heating systems whose installation is not expensive, and some save you money on your monthly electric bill. If you’d like additional information on commercial heating services, please visit

Below are the four main varieties of commercial heating systems and how they work:

1.    Steam Heating Systems

These kinds of heating systems are not common in modern commercial facilities today as they are considered to be one of the least efficient means of heating a commercial building. This inefficiency is largely due to the fact that they function by burning fuel. Using a boiler, this system converts heat extracted from burned substances (such as gas) into steam. What the boiler does is evaporate water through a heating mechanism, after which the steam diffuses throughout the building.

2.    Heat Pump

This is a very efficient system that can be used to heat up a commercial facility. A heat pump functions by taking the heat from the building’s exterior and pumping it back into the building without requiring oil or gas to regenerate. In a process similar to that of a refrigerator, a heat pump does its work with the help of refrigerant and coils. Depending on your immediate needs, a heat pump can serve the dual role of heating and cooling.

3.    Water-based Heating Systems

Rather than using steam, this kind of system does its work by using hot water. With the use of a boiler, the water-based heating system transmits the hot water through a network of pipes all over the building. With the hot water flowing throughout the building in pipes, the building is effectively heated up. As soon as the hot water cools to a set temperature, it is returned to the boiler where it is reheated and the cycle is then repeated to heat up the building again.

4.    Natural Heating Systems

Beyond a doubt, this category of commercial heating systems is the most eco-friendly because it makes use of natural energy sources. For example, heat can be extracted from solar energy and then directed into the commercial heating system of the building. Also, heat from underneath the earth’s surface can be extracted through geothermal heating to raise the temperature of the entire building. Although implementing these systems can be expensive, they will likely reduce your monthly expenses in the future.

How does a commercial boiler system work?

Although more usually seen in older buildings, boilers remain a major component in the varieties of commercial heating systems. There are steam boilers that are used in the steam heating systems, where they convert water into steam using a heating mechanism, and then transfer the heat through the heating network of the facility. As soon as the water is heated to a high temperature and converted to steam, it diffuses at the top of the section and is then concentrated. This is where it is then released into a network of pipes throughout the building and warms every room.

The main distinguishing components among boilers are the fire tubes and water tubes, the main difference being in the way they heat the water.

The water tube and the fire tube heat water in virtually opposite ways. The fire-tube boilers heat the water by sending heated substances through tubes immersed in water. With water tube boilers, water is sent through tubes that are immersed in heated substances, thereby converting the water to steam in the process.

While there are pros and cons to these two systems, choosing between them ultimately comes to your preference.

Heating systems and zoning

Zoning is one of the important features of commercial heating systems. When your system is zoned, it allows you to customize the heating and cooling of the building so that everyone is comfortable. It works both in commercial and residential heating systems.

With zoning, different temperatures can be set for different sections of the building based on the needs of each part of the building. While you can set multiple temperatures, it is the same unit that produces heat for all the zones. In other words, just one system can produce multiple temperatures for the building. One of the major advantages of zoning is that it helps to save cost on your heating bill by allowing you to direct and control temperatures to only areas where they are needed, thereby preventing unnecessary energy generation.

Installing your heating system

The installation of your commercial heating system will have to be done by experienced and reputable professionals. Once you contact one, they should inspect your commercial space, know your requirements, and come up with an estimate based on your needs.

It is important that you do proper research on the contractor that you want to hire before making financial commitments. Check their ratings and see what past clients have to say about their work. A good resource to read about contractors is the Better Business Bureau.


Irrespective of what a commercial heating system runs on, it is very important to the comfort of your employees, clients, and visitors.

Some of the important features that you need to understand when it comes to commercial heating systems are boilers and zoning. Good knowledge of these two features can go a long way to make your heating system more efficient, make your building more comfortable, and most likely help you save money on monthly energy bills.

Having learned about how commercial heating works, you will be able to better communicate and negotiate with heating professionals with a clear picture of what you have in mind.

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