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Rooftop HVAC Units: How to Tell They Need Service or Replacement


The standard for commercial heating and cooling in most facilities is the packaged rooftop HVAC unit. These are types of heat pumps that have all their components housed in a single cabinet and then connect to the ventilation system for the rest of the facility.

Rooftop units have numerous advantages: they remove most of the operating noise to outside the building, they’re easy to access and service for technicians without interrupting workflow, and their location prevents damage from vandalism. 

But because these units are up on the roof, out of normal sight, it can sometimes be difficult to tell when they’re starting to malfunction. You want to move quick when it comes to servicing or replacing rooftop HVAC units in Toronto, ON so you aren’t suddenly caught without any heating or cooling in your facility. In this post, we’ll look how you can detect you’ve got trouble with rooftop units so you’ll be able to get us out to help before the situation worsens.

Inconsistent temperature and fluctuations

One of the earliest signs of an HVAC unit that’s losing its capacity is uneven temperatures around a facility and temperature fluctuations. A smoothly operating HVAC system (provided it was accurately sized and installed) won’t struggle with even temperature distribution and will create steady indoor conditions. This uneven air distribution might be the fault of blocked or damaged ducts, improperly balanced airflow, or dying components within the unit. Whatever it is, have professionals check it out immediatley. 

Sudden efficiency plunge

We recommend you always keep a close watch on your energy bills to look for sudden spikes in costs that may be connected to heating and cooling systems. (Using a building automation system will help immensely here, as these systems can specifically monitor HVAC efficiency and how much it affects energy consumption.) A sudden loss in efficiency usually points toward a repair need, while a slow decline often means the system is near the end of its service life.

Unusual noises and odors

You might wonder how you’ll hear strange noises from a rooftop HVAC unit when it’s located on the roof. The best way is to pay attention to sounds coming through the vents. Foul odors (musty or acrid) may also waft down through the vents, another major warning of problems—not only in the unit itself but also affecting indoor air quality.

Humidity shifts

Standard rooftop HVAC units do not have humidity controls, although you can purchase them with these options or have dehumidifiers-humidifiers added. However, they do remove some humidity from the air they condition, so when they start to fail, one of the effects the facility will experience is shifts in humidity balance. 

Unit age

Often you get ahead of an emergency replacement situation by simply assessing the age of the HVAC unit. The average packaged rooftop heat pump has a life expectancy of 15–20 years (provided it has regular maintenance). If your equipment is coming to the end of that range, we recommend having technicians come out to give the system an inspection and see if it’s ready for a replacement.

Advantage Airtech Commercial Ltd. is the Double “A” Name with the Triple “A” Rating. Call us today for all your rooftop HVAC unit needs. 

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