Your Roof with HVAC
Your Roof with HVAC
As Floridians, if there is anything we know, it’s that summers can get hot! And no one wants to work or shop in a sweltering business in the Florida heat. In addition to heating & cooling air, HVAC units are also one of the biggest culprits to roof-related problems. To stay away from this, building owners need to be informed on what kind of HVAC system works best for their roof and how to make that system last its intended lifetime.
What is HVAC?
HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning. The unit generally will consist of the following components: a furnace, boiler, condenser, compressor unit, and a heat pump. In addition to the unit itself, appropriate ductwork is required to move the “conditioned” air throughout the building. A properly designed and maintained HVAC system will provide comfortable indoor air year in and out.
Position of HVAC Unit
During the construction of a building, contractors, engineers, and service managers decide what kind of HVAC system will best fit the project, including deciding if it will be mounted on the ground or the roof. In terms of cost and efficiency, building owners tend to prefer roof-mounted HVAC systems. While an obvious reason for this is the increased operational space within their business that is freed-up by the removal of the unit on the ground floor, other factors also play a role into the favorability of roof-mounted systems. The ease of installation during construction, a combined heating & cooling unit, and hiding the unit for decor all make the roof-mounted system more appealing for many building owners, but your unique system may be different.
While rooftop HVAC units are convenient and efficient, they come with the collateral damage of roofing problems. Too often, having an HVAC unit on the roof causes owners and managers to forget about the unit and the maintenance it requires. HVAC units need to receive maintenance regularly to keep the system working efficiently, even when it’s hidden from sight on the roof!
As a consequence of producing cold air for your building, the HVAC unit produces condensation, that if left uncontrolled, can lead to localized ponding water in roof areas near the unit. Ponding water not only can damage your roof and leak to interior leaks, but causes mold, vegetative growth, and discolors the actual roofing material. The solution to this is often designed during installation of the unit but may be corrected when problems arise. The condensation from the HVAC unit needs to be directed away from the surface of the roof, either to interior discharge lines or lines that lead to the nearest roof drain.
RAMCON and other professional roofing contractors can assess the level of damaged caused by condensation from the unit and possible design modifications they can make on your roof to combat the issue.
While the service technician you hire may be looking out for the welfare of your HVAC unit, he/she may not be necessarily as careful with the roof surrounding the unit. To reduce the possibility of damage during maintenance, it is advisable to have another person, preferably a RAMCON service technician, observe the maintenance/inspection to ensure that the roof is left in proper condition once they’re finished. An additional method for preventing problem areas around HVAC units is to install walkway pads around the area near the unit to guide walking traffic from the unit.
HVAC and an Old Roof
The optimal time to install an HVAC unit is during the initial construction of the building. This assures that the curbs, drainage lines, tubing, and electrical lines are all in the proper places before the unit is installed. However, if you need to install an HVAC unit onto an existing roof, the process is a little trickier. After the construction of a building, you will need to consult with a roofing contractor (like RAMCON) prior to installing the units to avoid improper wind uplift and to evaluate if the roof can handle the additional weight of the units.
While problems on your roof may seem to spring up out of the blue, a RAMCON technician can inspect your roof prior to becoming full-blown, expensive disasters. A little bit of care and oversight of your HVAC unit can extend the life of your whole roofing system. Call RAMCON today to have your roof and HVAC units professionally inspected! 877-RAMCON-1