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South Metro Atlanta’s Choice

Family-Owned & Operated Since 2001


Premier Heating & Air Blog

Why Are Most Commercial HVAC Units on the Roof?


Did you know we offer service for commercial heating and commercial AC in Dublin, GA? Yes, we’re proud to help out local businesses when it comes to staying cool. We have more than 20 years of history working in the area and we know all about the best way to deliver the ideal climate conditions to businesses, from stores to restaurants to offices to manufacturing.

Here’s one question we often hear from people about commercial HVAC. It’s something that’s tickled their brains for years, but they never thought to just ask about it. “Why are most commercial HVAC units located up on the roof of the building?” With home air conditioning systems, the HVAC cabinet is usually located on the perimeter of the home. 

We sometimes joke that HVAC units are put on the roof because they make convenient obstacles for shootouts and rooftop chases in Hollywood movies. But of course, the truth is a bit more mundane…

The evolution of downtown

One of the basic reasons for locating HVAC units on top of a building comes from the way downtown areas evolved: creating vertical space with taller and taller buildings and leaving little space around them. By the time central commercial HVAC was widely available, downtown areas had already eliminated most of the real estate around them. The larger packaged units necessary for commercial buildings were instead placed up on the roof, the most convenient location in the new downtown layout.

Space-saving in general

Even without the close proximity of downtown buildings, HVAC units would probably end up on the roof anyway because of their size. Rooftop units are packaged systems, which are different from the common residential split system. In a packaged system, all the heat pump components are inside one cabinet rather than split between indoor and outdoor units. This saves space indoors, but it makes the main unit bulky. Most commercial buildings will need multiple HVAC units, so putting them on the roof is a significant space-saving move.

Noise reduction

A benefit of packaged units is that the noisiest components of a commercial heat pump, the compressor and blower fan, are not placed within the workspace where they’ll create noise pollution. Putting the units up on the roof further reduces the effect of the sound from these systems on people within a facility.

Vandalism deterrence

Unfortunately, any equipment located on the ground can become the target of vandalism and damage from people. The units are protected up on the roof, where they’ll last longer.

Ease of maintenance and service

When crucial equipment like HVAC units are put on the roof of a facility, it allows technicians quick access to them without having to intrude into the workspace. The technicians have plenty of room to perform their job, often without anyone working in the facility noticing that they were even there. 

Aesthetically pleasing

HVAC equipment doesn’t look beautiful. So why not put it up on the roof where most people will never see it?

Experience the Premier Difference! Premier Heating & Air has been family-owned and operated since 2001.

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