Key considerations for choosing a two or four pipe fan coil unit

Team presenting design plan with blueprints displayed on a projector screen

The four key considerations for choosing a two pipe or four pipe fan coil unit for residential or commercial buildings

There are four key considerations when specifying a two pipe or four pipe fan coil unit (FCU) for high-rise residential developments or commercial buildings.  

  1. HVAC requirements
  2. Application
  3. Building type
  4. Aesthetics & space

These factors will vary in influence depending on the project’s specification and building parameters.

HVAC requirement

Simply, this is whether the fan coil unit is to provide cooling only, which would need the specification of a two-pipe fan coil, or heating and cooling which would necessitate a four-pipe fan coil.


The application of a building or space can be a factor, for example in some instances residential developers have different design levels throughout a building. This means some apartments may have heating and cooling delivered by an FCU, or the specification might mean cooling is delivered by an FCU and the heating is derived from radiators or underfloor heating.

Likewise, in commercial spaces such as receptions, cooling could be through an FCU, however, due to budgets or the design, the heating will be delivered by electric radiators or convectors. This can potentially help to reduce the pipework required on new build projects, and in the case of a refurbishment project, reduce the need for new pipework.

Office team working with building blueprints on a table

Building type

New builds and refurbishments will offer different levels of flexibility when installing new pipework or adapting current pipework, which can be a key consideration when choosing a heating and cooling solution for a project. For example, this could include the availability of space within risers or ceiling voids.

Aesthetics and space design

This largely comes down to how the designer or specifier envisages the space’s usage, or if there are restrictions dictated by the space, in which case how they decide to deliver the heating and cooling will be driven by these parameters. This will in-turn impact whether a two pipe or four pipe unit is selected.

Because each project varies in scope, these four considerations will have varying impacts on selecting the right fan coil to suit a particular need. Speaking to a reputable manufacturer will ensure you get the right advice in selecting the best solution for your project.

Fan coil units offer the designer flexibility to scale their HVAC solutions within a project to meet the specification, as well as providing an adaptable solution should the space’s requirements change in the future.


If you want to discuss the best way to use fan coils in your project, Ability is here to help. From early specification decisions to finding reliable fan coils that fit in with your lead times, we have advanced experience in the fan coil world.

Want to learn more?

bsi multischeme logo
safecontractor logo