Should You Place HVAC Units On Your Commercial Roof?

Should You Place HVAC Units On Your Commercial Roof?

A commercial roof is a significant investment for your property. It needs to protect your business interests from a variety of different external threats. Climate change, for example, is causing more storms to occur. That can result in an increased risk of environmental hazards like possible hail damage.

However, a commercial roof can also be beneficial in other ways. Because it covers a larger area, a commercial roof is sometimes capable of housing additional structures. One such use is to put HVAC units on the roof itself, instead of at ground level, but is this something you should do?

Why The Roof?

A commercial roof is very different from a residential roof. One of the biggest differentiators is that a commercial roof is flat. The majority of homes have the typical sloped roof, allowing gravity to work on the water and let it drip down to a gutter. However, it costs a bit more to have a sloped roof, and when you scale that up to the total area of a commercial building, that cost quickly escalates.

As a result, many commercial roofs are flat, which makes them ideal for the placement of additional objects. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units or HVAC are a common choice for placement on a roof. They’re a common sight on many commercial buildings and even residential buildings if they are taller condominium/apartment dwellings.

The Advantages

HVAC units are cumbersome, and they expel waste materials. Depending on the time of year, and the type of HVAC unit, anything from steam to hot air may be discharged. This can sometimes be inconvenient at ground level, especially if maintaining temperature in certain areas is critical, as it can be in an industrial setting.

By placing HVAC units on the roof, however, businesses accomplish two things. They put their units in an out of the way place where they can’t make the immediate, ground-level environment less pleasant. They also put the HVAC units out of harm’s way. On a roof, they are far less vulnerable to vandalism, or even the wear and tear and comes from falling leaves getting into the units.

The Risks

HVAC units placed on a commercial roof must, however, have this work done carefully. Depending on the type of HVAC unit being used, and the scale of the building, these can be small or very large, the size of small rooms. This means that any decision to place an HVAC unit on the roof is not one that should be done quickly or impulsively.

The size and mass of these units can damage a roof if proper precautions aren’t taken ahead of time. In some cases, the poor installation of these units has resulted in pierced roofs with leaks and water damage. However, with proper structural reinforcement and placement, this can be a smart decision.

If you want to make sure your commercial roof is in good shape, we can help. Contact Gulf Tex Roofing & Services, and we can inspect your commercial building, look at the state of the roof, and either maintain what’s there or upgrade it if that’s what you have in mind.