Is it more expensive to install an ac unit on my roof?

A new AC system is a big investment, no matter which way you slice it. So when considering what type of system to install and where to place it, the price of the various systems and installations comes into play as well. You may wonder if putting an AC system on your roof will cost more money than a traditional split system that puts the condenser outside and the fan in your attic. After all, the roof is far off the ground, and people have to get the system up there. It’s also hot on the roof with the sun beating down directly onto the unit.

As it turns out, getting an AC system on your roof is not more expensive; in fact it costs roughly the same as having a split system installed.

An Air Conditioner for Your Roof

There are two types of AC systems that most people have installed in their homes or businesses. A split system, which puts the condenser outside and the fan and coil inside, usually in the attic or paired with a forced hot air furnace, and a packaged system which puts everything together.
When you are considering putting an air conditioner on your roof, the system that you are looking at is a packaged unit. This means that the condenser and the fan are all in one unit and not split apart and connected by hoses or pipes. Because everything is together and on the roof, ducts can be run straight down from the unit and throughout the building.

Why It Costs the Same Amount

As you make your decision on which type of system to purchase, you’ve probably considered its location as well. And while you may think that the roof is going to be harder to work on, and therefore cost you more money, this is only partially true.
While it may be more difficult to position and get the air conditioner on the roof, once it’s there, it’s actually easier to install than a split system. Because everything is together, there’s no need to run cables, wires, pipes, or hoses between two points. You also don’t have to worry about installing two separate items, and the time that it takes to get both positioned correctly. Therefore, while the initial moving of the air conditioner up to the roof could be an issue, once there, the installation should go quickly and easily for the technicians, which saves you money.

Making the Right Decision

Because the cost is about equal between the two different types of air conditioning installations, your decision on whether to place the air conditioner on the roof should be made based on other factors.

Do You Have Room for the Condenser on the Ground?

Your condenser needs to sit on a level area that isn’t blocked in so it can get good ventilation. If your home or building is on a hill and most of the land around it is taken up by a deck that is enclosed on the bottom, you may want to consider the roof as a location.

Can Your Roof Handle the Unit?

If you have a condo or office building with flat, reinforced roofs, you probably don’t need to wonder if your roof can take the unit. If you live in a house, however, you need to make sure that there is an area that is level enough for the unit’s install and that that area is strong enough to hold the weight.
Do You Have Ducts Installed Already?
If you already have forced hot air in your home, then you already have ducts that your furnace is using to push the air through. In this case, it may make more sense to use a split system and let the air handler in the furnace work for the AC as well, rather than moving it far away.

Make the Right Choice

Installing an AC system on your roof roughly costs the same as having a split system installed on the ground. So make sure that you weigh your options carefully, and choose the right system for your home or office, without worrying about additional costs.

Precision Air & Plumbing October 5, 2017


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