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What to Consider When Purchasing a New Rooftop Unit

Spring has finally sprung here in Minnesota. Many business owners and facility managers are turning their thoughts to the rooftop units that will soon be responsible for cooling their manufacturing facilities and commercial buildings. With an average life cycle of approximately 15 years, rooftop units aren’t something most people purchase often, and a lot may have changed since the last time you kicked the coils on a new unit.

There are a few telltale signs your rooftop unit is nearing the end. If you’ve experienced multiple refrigerant leaks, or are replacing components with greater frequency (particularly electrical items), you can be fairly certain you’ll be in the market for a new rooftop unit soon.

If that time is now, you should consult with an expert. Not all rooftop units are created equal and the available options and controls vary greatly. You also want to purchase a unit that is optimized for your space—bigger isn’t necessarily better. An oversized rooftop unit or incorrect setup can result in energy inefficiency due to running larger fans than necessary or conditioning more outside air than is required for your building.

At Yale Mechanical, we install multiple rooftop units every week. We help our customers select the right unit for their building, manage the design and installation process, and provide preventive maintenance. We’ve seen it all when it comes to what units are available, how efficiently they operate and what conditions they’re best suited for. While price certainly plays a factor in any major purchase, here are four other tips to consider when selecting the right rooftop unit for your building to get the most out of your investment:

  1. Pay Attention to the SEER Rating. The rating of a rooftop unit reflects the overall system efficiency on a seasonal basis. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient it is and the more you can expect to save in utility costs.
  2. Take Advantage of Available Rebates. Utility companies offer substantial rebates for the purchase and installation of more energy-efficient HVAC equipment. But knowing what rebates you qualify for, completing the paperwork correctly and meeting the deadlines gets complicated. We take care of all of the details for our customers.
  3. Know Your Room Specifications. Depending on the type of building or industrial facility you manage, the room temperature and humidity specifications may need to be very precise. Make sure you’re investing in a rooftop unit that is equipped with features (such as an economizer, low ambient kit, demand control ventilation, etc.) to meet your requirements.
  4. Consider Drop Locations for Replacement Units. Where your unit will be located is another consideration that impacts what brand and model is appropriate for your building. If it’s on grade, on the roof, and whether it will need horizontal or vertical ductwork all need to factor into the equation. Otherwise you may be looking at higher installation costs or get less efficiency out of your new equipment.

Taking these factors into consideration can be the difference between years of hassle-free operation and years of headaches. Be sure to consult with an expert so you can be confident you’re purchasing the right unit for your building, and your budget. Please contact me if you have any additional questions.

Blog Author

Marlin Klabo

Marlin Klabo helps oversee the design process at Yale Mechanical as the Lead Mechanical Engineer. He has expert knowledge of many market areas including medical, data centers, commercial and industrial. Marlin ensures that each project satisfies the client’s needs while meeting industry code and Yale’s standard of excellence. He regularly connects with customers to discuss options. Mr. Klabo helps them discover how Yale’s custom Mechanical Contracting Solutions (including HVAC, Piping, Plumbing, Controls, Service, and Millwright) can fulfill their unique needs.

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