Rooftop AC Units & When to Use Them

Choosing the right heating & cooling system for your home or business is an essential part of maximizing interior comfort. Beyond elements like brand and cost, you should think about size, occupancy, and potential installation locations. For most, there is always room on top of the roof, but can a rooftop AC deliver the comfort and performance you want?

Ideally, you want your system to control interior climate without disrupting your property’s inhabited spaces. The difference between rooftop AC and ground AC installation can be confusing. Is one method really better than the other? What are the pros and cons? Understanding why someone would choose a rooftop AC unit over a split level system will aid you in deciding which setup best meets your needs.

Split System AC vs. Rooftop AC: What’s the Difference?

A central air conditioner split system contains two components - an indoor air handler and an outdoor condenser. This is the most common system installed in the country today. The outdoor unit either disperses or collects heat from the environment, depending on the need. The indoor unit circulates conditioned air throughout the building via ductwork.

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Rooftop AC units are known as package units. They are an all-in-one heating and cooling system contained in a single cabinet directly connected to ductwork. Because all of its components are together, a package unit is for buildings without the space for an interior air handler or coil. This setup is very common in commercial spaces. However, rooftop installation does make sense in private homes when a homeowner has limited area around their house or they want to maximize available yard space.

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Benefits of Rooftop AC Systems

One major benefit of a package rooftop AC is the compact footprint. Unlike split level systems, package units are contained in a single cabinet installed on the roof or next to the building. For a home, this can free up valuable living space. For a business, rooftop AC installation allows more room for everyday work tasks. You don't have to lose a closet to an air handler.

Another benefit of the package unit rooftop AC setup is noise control. Because the cabinet is installed on the roof, you are less likely to be bothered by the noise of the HVAC system running. A great example of this setup is in large commercial buildings. They often have multiple package units in operation, but you rarely hear them. That's because the noisy part of the system, the compressor, is up on the roof away from where people shop or work.

Rooftop AC installation also makes maintenance relatively easy due to a single access point. With all system components in one place, heating & cooling repairs and routine maintenance are easier to perform. If you value taking a simple approach to issues, going with a rooftop AC unit might be the best choice for your building.

When Should You Choose a Rooftop AC Unit?

Saving Space

Is space is at a premium in your building? You may want to choose a package rooftop AC unit to meet your HVAC needs. In most buildings, the roof is unused space. It makes sense to install HVAC equipment away from valuable indoor areas that have more important functions than unsightly equipment storage. Rooftop installation allows you to maximize the aesthetic potential of your interior. Which is always a benefit to any business or commercial space trying to maximize the bottom line.

Easy Installation & Maintenance

Rooftop installations can be easier than other multi-unit jobs, since a package AC can be ready with minimal prep. Access to the rooftop unit is also easier for technicians performing maintenance. A tech won't have to squeeze into a narrow attic to perform repairs. Instead, they can easily move around the unit to access critical components via simple panels. This saves time and that can save you money.

Avoid Noise Pollution

Noise is often a non-issue with a rooftop ac. Rooftop installation is especially ideal for commercial and businesses spaces that need to cultivate a calm and inviting interior space for employees and customers.

Do your customers want to browse your showroom in peace? Or do you have employees that need quiet to maximize productivity? In either case a rooftop AC will deliver the peace and comfort everyone needs.

Energy Efficiency Really Matters

Sure, we’re all concerned with being eco-aware and energy efficient in our choices. But when it comes to cooling a very large space, the type of heating & cooling system that you choose matters a lot.

Traditionally HVAC systems rely on internal ductwork to distribute conditioned air throughout a property. But because a rooftop AC system is located on the top of a building, cooled air naturally sinks toward the ground. Which means your system needs less energy to move air.

And, because rooftop AC package units are designed in modules, you won’t need to redo the entire HVAC system should you choose to expand. With a rooftop system, you can simply add more power, switch out systems, or upgrade without lengthy interior overhauls.

Control Air Quality

Newer HVAC models include lots of customization options that allow you greater control over your indoor climate. Rooftop AC models can be customized to achieve specific humidity levels and to allow fresh air to flow indoors. They can also be modified with advanced filtration systems to maximize the quality of indoor air.

A Rooftop AC is Great For Business

Determining the best heating & cooling system for your home or business depends on several factors.  What is size of your space? How is the space used on a day to day basis? What is your plan to address maintenance issues in the future?

When you’re concerned about maximizing indoor square footage or lack an attic or crawlspace, installing a rooftop ac package unit may the solution. These units save space, are easy to install, and are extremely accessible. Those factors make them a great choice for business and commercial applications.

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