Rooftop AC Unit Installation Pros and Cons

Rooftop ac installation comes with many pros and cons

Avoid confusion when you are considering whether to install a rooftop AC unit. Knowing where your AC unit will perform best will help make informed decisions when it comes time for installation.

elearning-training.com gathered essential information about the pros and cons of installing an AC unit on your roof.

Pros of Rooftop AC Installation

Having your AC unit installed on your roof can offer some interesting benefits that may be surprising. Here are a few of the pros:

  1. Rooftop units can dramatically reduce your energy usage, saving you money.
  2. You and your guests won’t have to deal with the sometimes startling sounds the unit makes when it starts up
  3. Your yard gains the space that otherwise would’ve been occupied by the AC’s condenser unit
  4. Installing the unit on the roof removes it from harm’s way (accidental damage and thievery)
  5. The unit is safe from overgrowing vegetation and flood damages

Note: A rooftop location ensures that the wires, hoses, and housing that connects the system components are close together to maximize operational efficiency.

Tip: Installing a pathway or reinforcing the roofing system around the AC unit will help prevent damages during installation or routine maintenance.

Cons of Rooftop AC Installation

The following are some of the drawbacks of an AC roof installation:

  1. You are less likely to detect visible and audible signs of trouble before they become significant issues
  2. A rooftop installation will result in multiple roofing system penetrations, which can ultimately lead to leaks
  3. Over time, the weight of the unit may cause your roof to sag, interrupting its ability to efficiently shed rainwater
  4. With a rooftop installation comes increased foot traffic on your roofing system, potentially leading to wear or damages
  5. Reduced accessibility for regular inspections and maintenance

Tip: Roof location is a key factor when installing an AC unit. Your unit should be installed closest to necessary connection points and ventilation access.

Weather Conditions

Rooftop ac installation is often affected by a regions weather

Before deciding on a rooftop AC installation, your region’s climate should be taken into consideration. If you are situated in a region that experiences intense heat or severe storms, a rooftop AC installation will require more frequent maintenance visits and physical shelter/protection to keep it in top working condition.

Rooftop AC Maintenance

With a rooftop AC unit, common issues may be harder to detect in their initial stages because your unit is out of sight and out of mind. If such issues are only addressed during your AC system’s regular maintenance visit, they can quickly spiral into significant and costly system malfunctions. Some of these issues may include:

  • Leaks
  • Odd sounds
  • Blocked vents
  • Vibrations

Tip: For rooftop AC installations, consider increasing the number and frequency of maintenance visits to prevent or detect any potential mechanical issues.

Interior HVAC System Location

Under normal circumstances, AC units are installed outside of a home. They are purposefully installed within close proximity to the interior portion of the HVAC system. This location helps optimize the wires, hoses, and unit housing to maximize the unit’s efficiency. 

Note: An interior HVAC system located on your home’s ground floor or in your basement may benefit from the compressor being installed in the yard. If your interior HVAC unit is located on a top floor or in your attic, the roof may be the ideal location to keep the two unit components close together.

Rooftop ac installation is often not possible and ground floor units can be installed

Roofing System Load Capacity

Before considering or planning for a rooftop installation of any equipment, including an AC unit, the roofing system should be inspected and prepared or reenforced to properly support the additional weight of the equipment.

Tip: Contact a professional roofing company to evaluate your roofing system and recommend a course of action for reinforcing the roof, equipment penetrations, and walkway installation or surface traffic protection.

Rooftop AC Installation

In this article, you discovered pros and cons of rooftop AC installations, the effects and consequences they can have on your roofing system, and how keeping unit components in close proximity can increase your unit’s efficiency.

Carefully considering your roofing system’s capacity, your region’s weather patterns, and your unit’s location will help you reach a well-informed decision when it comes time to install your AC unit.

Not knowing the pros and cons of a rooftop AC unit can result in costly roofing system or equipment failure.

Sources:
energy.gov/energysaver/central-air-conditioning
gsa.gov/cdnstatic/High_Efficiency_HVAC-508-11-15b.pdf

Central Air Conditioning How it Works

Central air outside units

Avoid the costly mistake of having the wrong air conditioning unit installed in your home. Knowing how different systems work will help you make informed decisions and save money when the time comes to install or replace your air conditioner.

elearning-training.com gathered information about central air conditioning components, how it works, types of air conditioners.

What Is a Central Air Conditioning Unit

An air conditioning system, more commonly referred to as a “split-system air conditioning system” or simply “central air,” is typically comprised of the following components:

  • An analog or digital thermostat that regulates the system’s operation
  • A fan, condenser coil, and compressor housed in an outdoor unit
  • An indoor unit located in the attic, basement, or centrally located space, housing a fan and the evaporator coil (this component circulates cooled air)
  • Insulated copper tubing guiding the refrigerant flow between the indoor and outdoor units
  • An expansion valve regulating refrigerant flow to the evaporator coil
  • Ductwork from the indoor unit, guiding or circulating cooled air throughout the space and back to the unit

The same components and principles comprising a residential air conditioning system are found, on a larger scale, in industrial/commercial units.

How a Central Air Conditioner Works

When you turn your thermostat down, machinery whirrs up and cools down the air. Right? Let’s better answer what happens when you turn your thermostat down:

  1. The thermostat is adjusted to regulate the amount of cool air to be distributed
  2. The compressor (outside) pumps refrigerant between the condenser coils (outside) and the evaporator cooling coils (inside) to cool indoor air
  3. Evaporator cooling coils remove heat and humidity from the air
  4. A fan or blower moves air over the cooling coils and disperses it through the ductwork
  5. A fan blows air over the condenser coils (outside) to release/dissipate the collected heat
  6. As ambient air is cycled back into the system, it passes through a filter(s) to remove particles and other impurities.

Note: The quality of air filter(s) used with your air conditioning system can significantly influence ambient air while keeping dust and impurities out of your system. Get an HVAC Inspection if you suspect a problem with air quality, impurities, or circulation.

Air Conditioner Types

Depending on your geographic location, how you prefer your air-conditioned, and the size or configuration of that space, there are three primary types of systems. Consider how the following air conditioning systems work:

Packaged Air Conditioner – This system, more common in the south and southwest of the country, contains the condensing coil, evaporator coil, blower fan, and compressor all in one unit. Packaged air conditioning units are ideal when there isn’t enough interior space for a split system or where rooftop installations are desired.

Like other systems, packaged air conditioning units remove warm air from the structure via return air ducts, forces it over evaporator coils, then returns that cooler air back to the structure through supply ducts. In the same manner as other systems, undesired heat is released outside by way of the condenser coil.

Split-System Air Conditioner – These systems are the most common air conditioning solutions. They contain an outdoor unit (compressor, condenser coil, and fan) and an indoor unit (evaporator coil, blower, and filter).

Split-systems can support varied (fan/cooling) speeds, allowing for single, two-stage, and multi-stage systems. Split-system air conditioning provides consistent, economical, and reliable temperature control throughout the entire structure.

Note: Two-stage and multi-stage air conditioning systems are more common in larger, renovated, and newer structures. They are often found in areas with severe cold or hot weather. These units will have a setting or switch presenting “low, medium, and/or high” options.

Ductless Air Conditioner – These systems are ideal for structures built without ductwork. Their installation is less invasive than other systems and can deliver chilled air to targeted areas within the structure. The indoor unit (blower fan and evaporator coil) connects to the outdoor unit (compressor, condenser coil, and fan) via copper tubing, which carries the unit’s refrigerant.

Central Air ductless unit

Installation of the indoor unit can occur on the ceiling, a wall, or the floor. With some systems, multiple indoor units can be connected to a single outdoor unit. Regardless of the number of indoor units, the operation of a ductless system is remarkably similar to that of a split-system.

Note: Today’s air conditioning systems operate on the same principles Willis Carrier applied when he invented the first modern air conditioner in 1902.

How Central AC Systems Work

In this article, you discovered essential information about air conditioning components and configurations, how these systems work, and types of air conditioning units.

Knowing how air conditioning systems work allows you to select the most efficient and economical system for your home or business.

Not knowing how AC units can be configured and installed can leave you with a structure riddled with uneven and uncomfortable air conditioning and costly utility bills, as your system will always have to overcompensate to meet your desired temperature.

Sources:
energy.gov/energysaver/central-air-conditioning
vistacollege.edu/blog/careers/trade/heating-ventilation-air-conditioning-terminology-need-know/
douglas.k-state.edu/docs/homeandfamily/library/Select_Home_Cooling_System.pdf
sites.austincc.edu/hart/resources/how-does-air-conditioning-work/

5 Common HVAC Problems and Solutions

HVAC units often malfunction due to neglect or a lack of regular maintenance visits

Prevent your HVAC unit from failing and potentially damaging your roof when extreme weather and temperatures settle in for the season. Knowing how to spot trouble with your HVAC unit and get it taken care of will help you save money and prevent more severe problems in the future.

elearning-training.com gathered information about 5 common HVAC problems, the inconveniences they can cause, and how to solve them before they cause expensive damages to the unit or the structure it’s meant to regulate.

What are the most common HVAC problems?

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit uses various technologies to control the temperature, humidity, and air purity in an enclosed space. The ultimate goal is to provide continuous thermal comfort and reasonable indoor air quality.

There are multiple reasons your HVAC system may stop functioning properly, and here are 5 of the potential reasons, the damage they can cause, and how to get them fixed:

1. Dirty Filters

HVAC units often malfunction or develop severe problems due to dirty air filters

Dirty air filters are one of the most common and repetitive issues affecting your HVAC’s performance. A dirty filter is also one of the most straightforward problems to fix. Your air filter(s) should be changed regularly. Replacement intervals will depend on your local air quality, whether you have pets, if you smoke, or even how/what you cook. You may need to change your filters every month.

At the most basic function, air filters remove impurities like dust, pet dander, or (higher grade filters) bacteria from the air that flows through the system. This improves the air quality within your home and protects your HVAC system from damage.

Solution: Maintain a schedule that reminds you at a set interval to inspect or replace your HVAC system’s air filters.

Tip: For those suffering from allergies or may have a compromised immune system, HEPA filters are designed to remove a minimum of 99.97 percent of particles in the air 0.3 microns or larger. This title is endorsed by the Energy Department. While most commonly used in commercial settings requiring ­extremely clean air, like hospitals and laboratories, they can be used in residential structures.

2. Clogged Drain Pipes and Water Leaks

Air conditioners and high-efficiency furnaces tend to produce condensate. Drain pipes are used to encourage proper and consistent water drainage. However, furnaces can leak water if the drain lines are either clogged or develop cracks. In residential structures, this problem can be avoided by helping keep the drain lines clean by pouring bleach down the drain periodically.

Other potential leak sources may be the collector box, heat exchanger, or drain pan. A professional service technician should be contacted to determine the source of the water leak and repair options.

Note: Water leaks can go on for weeks, months, or years depending on their location and how frequently your HVAC unit is serviced. According to atlantacommercialroofingcontractors.com, these leaks can result in costly structural damage to your home (when the HVAC unit is installed on your rooftop, this problem can lead to roofing system failure).

Solution: Have your HVAC unit thoroughly inspected at least once per year by a professional, licensed technician.

3. Lack of Maintenance

One of the more common causes of HVAC problems and mechanical failure is disregarding regular system maintenance. Regularly scheduled maintenance by a professional, licensed service contractor is necessary to keep your system in top working order.

Many typical furnace or system repairs can be avoided with regular maintenance by a certified professional service contractor. Home heating and cooling systems are typically expensive investments. Why not protect that investment?

If you neglect to perform regular maintenance, you will most likely experience unexpected and costly structural damages, increased energy cost, and poor unit performance, or complete breakdown.

Solution: Scheduling regular HVAC unit inspections will help you stave off or permanently avoid expensive HVAC repairs or replacements.

4. Thermostat Problems

HVAC units often malfunction due to aging or poorly programed thermostats

Thermostat technology has changed how we interact with our heating and cooling, and even when controlling your HVAC unit on-site or remotely. Smart, programmable HVAC thermostats can help you economize on energy costs while maintaining a more comfortable environment.

Programming the correct thermostat settings for your home may take some time and effort on your part. Whichever thermostat you settle on for your home, read the instruction manual to ensure that you’re getting the most out of its features and capabilities.

Even the best or most sophisticated thermostats can malfunction. If you’re having difficulties maintaining specific temperatures in your home, a maintenance inspection may identify thermostat sensor problems or other developing problems.

Solution: Know the capabilities of your thermostat and how to use them to your advantage. When you encounter a glitch, don’t hesitate to get a professional involved to guide you through it.

5. Pilot or Ignition Issues

Ignition problems can result from several malfunctions. A dirty pilot, change in airflow, obstructed flame sensor, or clogged burners can cause a pilot outage, furnace lockout, or delayed burner ignition.

This problem could also result from a gas supply problem or wear and tear of an ignition component. When pilot and ignition issues arise, it is best to have them seen and handled by a trained service technician familiar with the dangers and required protocols for handling natural gas and high voltage.

Solution: Your HVAC’s pilot system, gas connection, and exhaust should all be regularly inspected and serviced to avoid potential gas poisoning or explosions.

What Can Go Wrong With HVAC?

In this article, you discovered 5 common HVAC problems and how they can be treated or avoided altogether.

Keeping your HVAC unit properly maintained and serviced will help you avoid air conditioning interruptions, structural damages, and premature unit replacement.

Ignoring HVAC problems can lead to catastrophic damages to your home, lower breathing air quality, and even lead to potentially fatal gas leaks.

Sources:
energy.gov/energysaver/common-air-conditioner-problems
epa.gov/iaq-schools/heating-ventilation-and-air-conditioning-systems-part-indoor-air-quality-design-tools
energystar.gov/campaign/heating_cooling/maintenance_checklist

Commercial HVAC System Types

Commercial hvac system external units

Avoid losing money with an inadequate HVAC system serving your commercial building. By knowing which commercial HVAC system best serves your commercial building, you can easily keep your entire building comfortable without straining your budget.

elearning-training.com gathered information about the different types of HVAC systems and how they keep your building’s climate controlled.

What Are the Types of Commercial HVAC Systems?

Purchasing a heating and cooling HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning) system for a commercial building, whether a new building or replacing the system in an existing property, can be overwhelming without knowing what types of HVAC systems are appropriate for your property.

The following are three categories under which you can classify most HVAC systems:

• Single Split Systems
• Multi-Zone (Multi Split) Systems
• VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) or VRV (Variable Refrigerant Volume) Systems

Single Split Systems – This affordable and very popular type of HVAC system is an excellent option for most small commercial buildings. Since this system allows individual heating and cooling, it is a popular choice for apartment buildings, hotels, schools, and multi-use buildings, housing restaurants, shops, offices, etc.

A single split system is comprised of one indoor installation and one corresponding outdoor installation connected by a refrigerant line and communication/electrical cables. The indoor installation houses a fan, a cooling coil, a heating section, and air filtration. The outdoor section consists of a compressor and a condenser.

Since each indoor unit of a single split system requires a dedicated outdoor unit, location and space may become problematic depending on the number of units needed. If the outdoor units are to be located on the building’s roof, the roof’s load capacity should be considered to avoid surpassing the roof’s dead load capacity.

Multi-Zone Systems – A multi-zone HVAC system uses a single compressor to power multiple air outlets. Unlike a single split system that works off one thermostat for temperature control, a multi-zone system provides individual control for each room’s temperatures.

Multi zone commercial hvac unit

Multi-zone systems are great solutions for new and existing constructions with non-ducted systems. They are an exceptional choice for room or office additions where extending or installing ductwork is not feasible. Multi-zone systems are a popular choice for small and medium-sized commercial buildings.

A multi-zone system is comprised of multiple indoor installations connected to one outdoor installation and connected by refrigerant lines and communication/electrical cables. Like single split systems, the indoor installation houses a fan, a cooling coil, a heating section, and air filtration, while the outdoor section consists of a compressor and condenser.

VRF or VRV Systems – A VRF or VRV system is a multi-zone type of system. With a single outside unit that may contain multiple compressors. This is connected to several inside units (up to 60 for some models) by refrigerant piping, electrical, and communication wiring.

Like single and multi-split systems, VRF or VRV systems use a refrigerant to heat and cool the air in the system. This refrigerant can be conditioned by a single unit or multiple outdoor units as it is circulated throughout the property to multiple indoor units. Unlike other types of systems, energy consumption can be reduced by allowing varying degrees of cooling in specific areas.

VRF or VRV systems can offer an excellent heating and cooling solution for larger commercial buildings due to its precise control over the refrigerant flow. Thanks to the system’s electronic expansion valves, each internal unit receives the exact amount of refrigerant needed to adjust or maintain the room it is in.

HVAC Interconnected Systems

Commercial buildings can benefit from various interconnected systems providing heating and cooling to individual floors, rooms, or spaces. You may see the following in a large-scale commercial HVAC system:

Heat Pumps – Uses heat extracted from air or water for heating. In a heat pump with a water source, water is piped through the structure to supply the heat pump.

Roof Top Units – These units can be found on the roof or ground, and duct conditioned air into the building. These units are very common in commercial HVAC applications.

Chillers – These units produce cool water distributed to cooling coils through piping systems.

Heaters – These come in two types:

• Hot air furnaces that burn fuel to heat the air
• Radiant heaters that use infrared radiation to heat objects directly.

The size and configuration of a commercial building’s HVAC system will be determined mainly by the amount of space contained in the building and its construction.

Tip: Keep your HVAC system operating at peak performance by having it serviced bi-annually, once in the spring and again in the fall.

Commercial hvav maintenance and repair

Types of Commercial HVAC Systems

In this article, you discovered the different types of HVAC systems, how they control your building’s climate and interconnected systems that aid in that process.

By installing an HVAC system that adequately controls the heating and cooling of your commercial building, you can absorb initial installation expenses and save money over time.

When an inadequate HVAC system is installed in a commercial building, expenses will increase dramatically from over-use and eventual upgrades or replacement of the system.

Sources:
energycodes.gov/sites/default/files/becu/HVAC_Systems_Presentation_Slides.pdf
energy.wsu.edu/Documents/DuctlessHeatPumps_Nordeen_2009.01.pdg.pdf