How Installing A HVAC Unit On The Roof Can Damage The Roof
Rooftop HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems have their advantages, but they also present some challenges to your roof. Here are some of the complications you may face if you install an HVAC unit on the roof:
Damage Due to Poor Installation
The installation period presents the greatest risk to the roof, especially if the HVAC unit is being added to an existing roof. The installer has to make sure that the HVAC system's parts are well coordinated with the rest of the roof systems including the drainage and electrical installations to prevent damage. For example, it's possible for the HVAC unit to block the existing drainage channels, and this increases the risk of water ponding.
Roof leaks usually begin around rooftop installations, for example, if the junction between the installation and the rest of the roof isn't properly sealed. Therefore, when installing the HVAC unit, it's essential to ensure that the seal and flashing around it is properly done to reduce the risk of leaks.
Roof Traffic during Repairs and Maintenance
Roof traffic is a common source of concerns for commercial roofs. Anything that involves climbing on the roof increases its risk of damage; for example, the tools used in the repair can fall and puncture the roofing membrane and the repair personnel can slip and fall (thereby damaging the roof). Even the mere act of walking on the roof can damage it due to the foot friction.
This presents a conundrum because the roof needs to be inspected regularly or when damage is suspected. At the same time, even small damages should be fixed as soon as possible so they don't blow up into serious issues. Ideally, only those who have experience walking and working on the roof should be allowed to do so.
Lastly, the rooftop HVAC unit may also instigate condensation issues on your roof. Ordinarily, rooftop HVAC units shouldn't cause any condensation issues because they are designed to vaporize the water and let it escape into the air. The problem occurs when the HVAC unit malfunctions and the produced isn't vaporized. In such a case, the condensation will pond around the unit if it is not cleaned away, this will damage the roof and make it susceptible to leaks.
The best way to preempt these problems is to have all rooftop installations handled by experienced professionals who know what they are doing. If the damage has already been done, however, contact a roofing contractor for a solution.