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Fan Coil Unit (or FCU) is a simple device that uses a coil and a fan to heat or cool air in the room without connecting to ductwork. It is part of an HVAC system found in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Fan draws the air in a space into the unit, air moves over the coil, which heats or cools the air and then the same fan pushes it back out into the room. FCUs can be less expensive to install than ducted HVAC systems, and are available in ceiling, floor-mounted and freestanding configurations.

Ductless mini-split systems can be a great alternative to FCUs, they offer similar installation ease and flexibility, but can provide greater comfort and energy efficiency.


Pros & Cons

  • High level of flexibility in terms of subdivision and rearrangement of space
  • Poorly suited to open plan spaces, as adjacent units can operate in conflict
  • Does not have the ability to use outside air for free cooling, making the system less efficient in cooling particularly in spring and autumn
  • Chilled water valves and hot water valves in ceiling can be a maintenance problem

Applicable buildings

FCUs are found as a secondary HVAC system in most building types but are less common as a primary HVAC system type, except in shopping centres and smaller offices.


Energy efficiency

FCU systems are of average efficiency only but if well maintained and operated can produce a good level of efficiency.

Maintenance implications

FCUs are simple to operate and are relatively straightforward to maintain, but the components that require most maintenance – the temperature controllers and the valves – are in the occupied space and therefore maintenance can be intrusive.