There are an estimated 87 percent of residential homes in our country using some type of air conditioning. That’s according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Now although these wall-mounted A/C units and central air conditioners still remain the most popular of choices, rooftop air conditioning units are steadily gaining popularity.
For many years now, only commercial buildings were using rooftop units, and although not every home is a prime candidate for this kind of cooling, residential roof-mount air conditioners are starting to gain ground. But to understand the benefits, you need to know the basics first.
Window air conditioning units will function outside a total home system, providing a small amount of cooling for a single room or floor, all because they don’t run proficiently through your ductwork and are movable as necessary.
Central air units, meanwhile, are either mounted on the side of your home using metal brackets or placed on a concrete pad in your yard. Typically these units are connected to a forced-air furnace and are supposed to push cold air throughout your entire home.
Every central systems is split, meaning that some of their components are commonly found in the air conditioner that is attached to your home and some are located inside your furnace itself. Typically, your furnace will hold a fan evaporative and heat exchanger, whereas the outside unit houses the compressor fan, compressor and a second heat exchanger.
A central system, hence, cannot operate without the required companion parts in your furnace.
Roof-mounted air conditioners, meanwhile, do not suffer from this split-component complication. Alternatively, everything the A/C unit requires to not only create, but distribute cold air, is contained in the rooftop air conditioning unit, which is then attached to the top of your home and routed throughout the ductwork.
Apart from bypassing the furnace, there are various advantages to a roof-mounted unit. Number one is regulating the amount of work that is required from the unit — in turn reducing your energy cost. Always remember cold air sinks, a rooftop install is advantageous of air’s natural tendency. Forced air furnaces, meanwhile, need to push this cooled air up throughout the ductwork in your home, which demands more power and greater fan speeds.
Installing a rooftop air conditioner also has the benefit of keeping all moving parts together. If a part breaks down in a central air conditioner, a repair technician will be required to check your A/C unit the furnace, and all the connections that run in-between them. As a result, troubleshooting A/C issues or even routine maintenance may be costly and time-consuming. If a rooftop unit experiences a problem, a professional HVAC technician needs only to search in one place.
Roof-mount air conditioners are favored with commercial properties, mostly in part because the units can proficiently cool large spaces and in part because they don’t demand any alterations to the existing HVAC work.
Professional A/C installers are now beginning to offer these same roof units to residential customers, but do your due diligence before beginning on an above-ground installation. First, you need to consider weight. While the addition of a second heat exchanger and fan doesn’t considerably increase the overall weight of a unit, you need to ascertain how much your roof can support. Commercial properties are perfect for these types of air conditioners because their roofs are often flat. Now if you have a roof that has damage due to weather or a sharply peaked, a rooftop unit may be a risk to steer clear of.
Furthermore, expect to pay more for a rooftop A/C unit itself as well as the installation. Comparable roof air conditioners can range anywhere from $200 to $1,000. More expensive to purchase and can sometimes cost up to double for the installation. What is the reason you ask? Rooftop units will first need to be hauled up the side of your house, and you’ll require at least a number of properly trained and OSHA required harnessed technicians working on your roof for the better part of a day to finish the task. Keep in mind installing anything two or three stories up comes with a greater safety and property risk obviously, meaning some contractors will charge more for installation.