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  • Writer's pictureKrystal Morrell

5 Key Differences Between Commercial and Residential HVAC Coils

HVAC Technician works of commercial unit

HVAC systems play a vital role in maintaining comfortable indoor environments, whether it be in commercial or residential settings. One crucial component of these systems is the HVAC coil, which is responsible for heat transfer and ensuring efficient operation. While both commercial and residential HVAC coils serve a similar purpose, they have distinct differences due to varying requirements and usage scenarios. In this article, we will explore five key differences between commercial and residential HVAC coils.

Size and Capacity:

The most noticeable difference between commercial and residential HVAC coils lies in their size and capacity. Commercial buildings generally have larger spaces to heat or cool, requiring HVAC systems with higher capacities. Consequently, commercial HVAC coils are significantly larger and more robust than their residential counterparts. They feature increased surface area, allowing for improved heat transfer and greater efficiency when dealing with higher airflow volumes and larger temperature differentials.

In contrast, residential HVAC coils are designed to handle the specific requirements of smaller homes or apartments. They are typically smaller in size and have lower heat transfer capacities. These coils are optimized for handling lower airflow volumes and smaller temperature differentials commonly found in residential applications.

Construction and Durability:

Due to the demanding nature of commercial HVAC systems, coils designed for commercial use are constructed with durability in mind. They are built to withstand high pressures, frequent use, and continuous operation. Commercial coils often feature heavy-duty materials such as copper, aluminum, or stainless steel, which provide enhanced resistance to corrosion and wear over time.

Residential HVAC coils, on the other hand, are not subjected to the same level of stress as their commercial counterparts. Consequently, they are typically constructed with lighter materials. While these materials offer sufficient performance for residential applications, they may not withstand the demanding conditions of commercial environments.

Airflow Configuration:

Another notable difference between commercial and residential HVAC coils is the airflow configuration. Commercial systems generally employ a parallel or row configuration, where multiple rows of fins are aligned in parallel to enhance heat transfer. This configuration allows for efficient heat exchange and is suitable for the higher airflow rates common in commercial setups.

Residential HVAC coils, on the other hand, typically use a counterflow configuration. In this design, the refrigerant and airflows move in opposite directions, optimizing heat transfer efficiency. The counterflow configuration is particularly effective in residential applications, where compact size and efficient performance are crucial.

Maintenance and Access:

Maintenance and access requirements differ significantly between commercial and residential HVAC coils. Commercial systems are often installed in dedicated equipment rooms or rooftops, providing ample space for maintenance personnel to access and service the units. That is not to say that technicians may not need to enter small or confined areas that require precise maneuvering. But on average, the larger size of commercial HVAC coils translates into well thought out accessibility measures that allow for easier cleaning, repair, and replacement when necessary.

In contrast, residential HVAC systems are commonly installed in confined spaces such as basements, closets, or attics. As a result, accessibility panels or hinged doors that allow technicians to reach the coil for cleaning or servicing are often needed. Depending on the design of the home, these may be much more difficult to get to.

Cost and Availability:

Lastly, cost and availability play a role in the differences between commercial and residential HVAC coils. Commercial coils, with their larger size and higher capacity, tend to be more expensive than residential coils. The heavy duty materials used in commercial coil construction, such as stainless steel or high-grade copper, also contribute to the higher cost.

Moreover, due to the specific requirements and lower demand for commercial HVAC coils, they may be less readily available than their residential counterparts. Commercial systems often require customized or specialized coils, which may have longer lead times for manufacturing and delivery.


While commercial and residential HVAC coils serve the same fundamental purpose of facilitating heat transfer, they differ in several significant aspects. The size, capacity, construction, airflow configuration, maintenance requirements, and cost are all factors that set commercial and residential coils apart. Understanding these differences is crucial for HVAC professionals and end-users alike to ensure optimal performance and efficiency in their heating and cooling systems, whether in commercial or residential settings.

At Re-Coil solutions, we are here to answer all of your commercial HVAC coil questions! Custom coils are our specialty, and our educated sales technicians are here to help you figure out what kind of coil, what materials, and what coatings are best for your system. In addition, we even offer onsite measurement services for potential customers within a 5-hour radius of our office in Longview, TX. This takes the guess work out of ordering, ensuring that you get the right fit the first time. Do not let the replacement of your commercial HVAC coil be a stressor. Call Re-Coil Solutions today.

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