Upgrading and Installing Your HVAC System on the Roof
Upgrading your HVAC system to a rooftop unit could be the solution to many of your A/C unit problems. You may have grown tired of the constant loud breathing of your A/C unit or the lack of space in your living room because of its location. In any case, upgrading your HVAC system is important.
As you would expect, installing a rooftop HVAC system is expensive. However, the efficiency and location may make up for its cost of installation. That said, it is safe for you to consider this option.
The rooftop HVAC systems are common in commercial and industrial facilities and have been for quite a while now. This is aided by the fact that most commercial and industrial facilities have flat roofs, making the installation and maintenance of a rooftop HVAC system easier.
Whereas, in single-family homes, the reverse is the case, as homeowners consider the installation of rooftop HVAC systems too costly. And as such, resolve to central air systems.
Central A/C units are the most common HVAC systems in residential buildings. And if you are part of this train, chances are, your A/C’s location is outside your home, on a concrete pad. Although this is a fair location for central A/C systems, it is not free of challenges. Some of these challenges may include;
- Attracting debris
- Its open location to children can also result in inadvertent damage.
- Tedious and expensive maintenance.
However, the location of rooftop systems ensures that these challenges are averted.
Because of the working principle of rooftop systems, maintenance is easier than that of central air systems. It is common knowledge that cold air descends, hence, the HVAC systems on rooftops do not have to do much work. Causing the system to operate with reduced fan speeds, hence less power consumption and higher efficiency.
Upgrading your HVAC system and placing it on your roof is very beneficial. However, you need to carry out some research and planning to make sure you have a successful project. Such as:
1). Determine the system capacity
Before thinking of your budget for a new HVAC system or an upgrade, you need to know the size that matches your home. Too large or too small systems are usually inefficient and would result in poor conditioning. However, with the right size, you will have an efficient and comfortable indoor conditioning.
Now the question is how do you know the right size? A professional, or an MEP engineering firm, can help you in determining the right size for your home. However, if you are feeling rather self-sufficient, multiplying your total floor area by 25 BTU will do the trick.
However, this calculation is not accurate and can only point you in the right direction. For precise results, seek HVAC services from good MEP engineering firms.
2). Determine Your Roof Support System
Once you are aware of the size of your system, the next thing you should consider is whether your roof can support this size. It is possible for you to estimate this by yourself with the help of your HVAC contractor. However, it is very risky. To be on the safe side, consult a structural engineer.
And depending on the calculations of the structural engineer, your roof condition and design. It may be necessary for you to reinforce or replace your roof.
Now that your roof can support the system, the location of the system is the next point to consider. The best location would be one that offers enough clearance around the unit. Hence ensuring the adherence to safety requirements.
Your engineer and HVAC contractor can work together to come up with the best location for your system.
3). Ensure Envelope Integrity
The process of rooftop HVAC system installation requires that penetrations are made through your roof. However, penetrations must be to the minimum. You don’t need penetrations for the whole system, it should be for ductwork and necessary reinforcements.
Minimal penetrations will enhance the acoustic advantage of the rooftop system. Additionally, reducing vibration transmission into the building is imperative and can be achieved using isolators.
The envelope of the penetrations must be of good quality. Your roof needs to continue functioning as a normal roof and keep out the weather. Your roofing contractor will make sure of this.
Once everything is in place, you can begin to enjoy your new air conditioning. Take advantage of the benefits of rooftop HVAC systems and upgrade your HVAC system.