Rooftop vs Ground HVAC Units

Most homes nowadays come equipped with residential air conditioning, but it’s not altogether uncommon for them to be without it. What is strange these days is a commercial building without an industrial air conditioning system installed. When it comes time to update, or entirely replace these systems, it’s important to keep in mind the options for placement of the systems. Take the time to decide which is best for this building: on the rooftop or the ground?

Rooftop commercial air conditioner benefits

Rooftop commercial air conditioners are more efficient overall than the “side yard” versions. Since the side yard version has to force air further to get into the building than the rooftop version, there’s going to be extra energy spent on getting the air cooler, and then getting it back into the building. And because heat rises, the air is going to naturally flow back up to the commercial air conditioning unit and then sink back down when it’s cool.


Rooftop units are also all-inclusive, unlike their side-yard counterparts. The side-yard versions require parts of the systems to also be inside the house to make them function correctly. The rooftop versions don’t have this struggle.

They’re also the smaller and more visually attractive option. These types of commercial air conditioners are always improving, shrinking, and becoming more visually appealing.

Side yard commercial air conditioner benefits

Despite being bulky and slightly less efficient, the side-yard commercial air conditioners have more options and settings available. They’re overall more customizable than the rooftop version and can comfortably be outfitted to just about any specifications necessary for the comfort of the whole building.

Because they’re still the standard, it’s far easier to have a side-yard commercial air conditioner repaired and if need be, replaced, than a rooftop version. They’re more easily accessible than the rooftop version, and more technicians have the skills and the tools to service it when it needs repairs.

Drawbacks to either commercial air conditioning system

A rooftop air conditioning unit is exposed to more weather, and as a result, will likely need to be serviced more often. Harsh winds and sunlight are damaging to the integrity of the system. A simple workaround for this is to build a small shed on top of a flat roof that can house the system. It would protect it from the weather, but also come at an additional cost. It’s also crucial to make sure that it’s okay to have the commercial air conditioning unit enclosed: ensure that it’s okay with the HVAC specialist who installs it.

A side-yard unit is unsightly and will take up space in the lawn or parking area. This minor inconvenience added to the troubles of inefficiency and having to divide up the system to make it work has some serious points against it. There are no practical workarounds with these problems, other to make smart landscaping choices, and keep the installation far away from the parking areas.

Either route is going to be effective, but it depends on the needs of the building and the advice of the HVAC specialist who will be installing it.

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