Why Are Commercial HVAC Systems Placed on the Roof?

Why Are Commercial HVAC Systems Placed on the Roof?

Why Commercial HVAC Units Get Placed on Roofs of Buildings

Commercial HVAC systems are heavy-duty systems used for public or private buildings (not for residential homes), and therefore they need to be treated differently. There are many reasons for these systems to be installed on the roofs of bulidings:

  • Flexibility - The ability to locate two or more units some distance apart may reduce the overall length of ductwork, reducing duct cleaning costs. It may also make it easier to create separate temperature zones within the same building, and permit better sizing of HVAC components.
  • Easier, less-disruptive maintenance - Rooftop HVAC installation provides easy, unobstructed access to the system by HVAC service personnel. More importantly, that access can occur 100% out of the way of your employees. Replacement components, man lifts, ladders and such will never block or stall your employees or customers. Rooftop installation means less maintenance dust, debris, and noise.
  • No loss of useful space - Rooftop installation of HVAC systems never results in loss of usable floor or yard space. All other locations, even basement installations in large buildings take up valuable space. A building with abundant outdoor space for an HVAC installation may still benefit from a rooftop install if it shortens total duct length.
  • Better energy efficiency, more choices - This one's a big deal. Since you have more space on a rooftop, you can select from a broader range of efficiency-enhancing systems and technologies. Fresh air dampers (FAD) are among the many energy-saving technologies commonly available with rooftop HVAC systems. The damper is a flap inside a duct and when opened, permits a stream of cool outside air to mix with the conditioned air from the HVAC unit. Its operation is automatic and programmable. Systems to vary the volume of air flowing through the ductwork — usually by changing the rate of flow — are standard on rooftop HVAC installations. Again, programmed control is the norm.
  • Option to use natural gas - The use of natural gas for the heating part of an HVAC system is well known. Natural-gas air conditioning is widely used, extremely efficient, and is not new technology.

Other Factors That May Favor Roof Installation of HVAC

  • Noise - A commercial HVAC unit located on the ground outside a building may prevent building occupants from hearing the system. It will not, however, prevent workers, customers, or neighboring business from hearing the system's operation like a rooftop installation will.
  • Security - Locating HVAC units on the roof provides security in two ways. It deters theft of valuable HVAC components, and it eliminates damage from vehicles or falling tree limbs.
  • Maintenance - The roof is a cleaner environment so your equipment will stay cleaner and require less maintenance. Ground units lack side and overhead protection that a rooftop installation provides.

Commercial Heating and AC Services in Central Oregon

The heating and cooling needs of commercial properties differ from those of residential homes. As a business owner or commercial property manager, you need to know that you can rely on your property’s heating and air conditioning systems as a matter of health, safety, and comfort. No matter the size or scope of the project, you can rely on our team to get right to work. For more than three decades, we’ve assisted commercial property owners throughout all of Central Oregon to ensure that their businesses continue operating at peak comfort.


Call Ponderosa Heating & Cooling today at (541) 204-2775 or contact us online to find out how we can help you with your commercial HVAC installation, repair, or maintenance needs in Central Oregon.


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