Commercial roofing with a rooftop HVAC system

High-functioning HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) units are important for your commercial building: they provide comfortable air temperatures for everyone inside! But, what’s that have to do with commercial roofing?

Many business owners choose rooftop HVAC units because they eliminate excess sound, improve the look of the building exterior (and are all-around more secure). But, while rooftop placement has many benefits, there is a delicate balance that should be maintained between your commercial roofing and the HVAC system itself. If you move your HVAC unit to the roof incorrectly, it can cause damage to your roofing system. And after installation, it should be a part of your regular roof inspection and maintenance. 

When making that final decision, talk with a roofing professional before moving your commercial HVAC unit to your roof!


The Benefits of HVAC Roof Placement

There are a lot of benefits to utilizing rooftop HVAC units for your commercial building. These benefits include both aesthetic upgrades and practical improvements. 

Saves Space

One of the biggest reasons behind having a rooftop HVAC unit is that it saves space around your commercial property. Ground-level HVAC units take up a lot of room, which could otherwise be used for additional parking spaces or other practical uses. (Not to mention, a large unit like this in front of your building can be a huge eye-sore.) When you move your HVAC unit to the rooftop, you’re keeping it out of sight from potential customers or clients. Plus, office space real estate can get expensive. Changing to a rooftop unit can quickly save square footage.

Compared to ground-level, it is easier to install and maintain rooftop HVAC units. Many commercial properties have multiple HVAC units. When this is the case, they are often spread out around the facility, which makes installation and repairs much more time-consuming. It is easier to get to each unit when they are all located on the roof. 

Improves Security

Having a rooftop unit also prevents damage and potential security issues. HVAC units are often stripped of their metals by those trying to sell the parts, but it’s harder to steal materials and vandalize rooftop HVAC units because outsiders don’t have access to the rooftop of your commercial property. As a result, vandals will be less likely to break into your unit and strip its parts if it’s located above your business.

Rooftop units are also less susceptible to accidental damage by cars, delivery cars, and more. Units on the ground level have no protection from the environment. 

Preserves Energy

Rooftop commercial HVAC units are more energy-efficient. They typically have more temperature control options and good SEER ratings (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), which represent how efficiently your system runs during the summer months. This is especially beneficial for businesses located in areas where climates change drastically throughout the year. 

Prepare for Roof Maintenance

While rooftop HVAC units have more than enough benefits to make them worthwhile, you must keep in mind the potential problems they can cause to your commercial roofing system, too. 

Thanks to their accessibility, rooftop units are easy to install and maintain on flat roofs. However, that much foot traffic can cause roof problems and eventually damage your roofing structure if not managed with care. One way to avoid this risk is to install walkway pads along the most traveled portions of your roof (aka a path to each of your HVAC units). This way, when HVAC unit work is needed, technicians can travel safely on your roof without causing damage. (However, it might still be beneficial to have a roofing contractor present to make sure roof travel is safe for both you and your roof system.) 

Additionally, HVAC equipment is heavy itself and without proper preparation, it can put a huge strain on your roofing membrane. When installing or repairing rooftop HVAC units, have a trusted roofing company there to assess and make sure no roof damage occurs. Before scheduling your HVAC installation, have a roofer inspect your roof and evaluate if it is strong enough to handle the weight. (This is a crucial first step to avoid roof damage.) 

Roof curbs are often used to minimize damage and prevent penetrations by lifting structures so no direct contact is initiated. When installed correctly, these can help alleviate the pressure from the concentrated weight onto your roof. They can also prevent water damage since the units are lifted and are less likely to trap moisture. 

Minimize Risk of Roof Problems

HVAC technicians should work closely with roofing contractors to make the initial installation a success. Incorrectly installed HVAC units can create a lot of damage to your roof and even cause the need for roof replacement. This is especially important with any ductwork that will be going into the building from the roof. If improperly done,it can lead to roof leaks in your commercial building. Additionally, different types of roofing are more susceptible to certain problems than others. Roofing professionals will be able to guide you through the project without causing damage to your commercial or industrial roof

During your regular roof inspections, be sure to inspect the area around your rooftop HVAC unit. HVAC units can produce excess condensation which collects on your roof surface and leads to leaks or other water damage to your roofing material. If your unit is causing ponding water on your flat roof, call a trusted roofer and commercial HVAC technician. Your trained HVAC/roofing specialist can work to prevent further condensation build-up while also making any necessary roof repairs along the way. 

Trusted Commercial Roofers with HVAC Expertise

When it comes to managing your rooftop HVAC units, always work with a trusted, knowledgeable company. TEMA Roofing Services is a leader in the roofing industry and can make sure your roofing projects and HVAC units run smoothly. 

TEMA Roofing Services has decades of experience in the roofing industry, with a combined 112 years of experience through three generations, and a level of expertise that includes service knowledge for a wide variety of rooftop commercial HVAC units.

Get the most out of your commercial roofing and HVAC system. Contact TEMA Roofing today to get a commercial roof inspection or to learn more about our services. The benefits of rooftop HVAC placement pay for themselves, and we want to help you reach this goal!