Rooftop HVAC System Maintenance Tips

If your commercial building is like most, your entire commercial HVAC system is probably located on the roof. While this keeps it out of the way and minimizes ground level noise, it does present a few maintenance challenges. The following are a few tips for you or your maintenance crew to implement to avoid some common issues.

Tip #1: Protect against birds

Birds often seek shelter and create nesting sites next to or even inside of a rooftop HVAC unit. This blocks the vents and can tangle up the fans, leading to poor performance or even a burnt out motor. Fixing this issue requires vigilance. Your maintenance crew should check around the unit and inside the casing monthly for any debris or nests, and remove them promptly if found. Caging in the unit with a fine mesh cage can help keep birds and debris out of the actual unit, but the cage will still need to be swept free of any debris that blows up against it.

Tip #2: Watch for flooding

Rooftop flooding can be another concern. Ideally, your HVAC system should be installed upon a raised vibration dampening pad. If it isn't, then you need to bring in a commercial contractor as soon as possible to install one. Most flat roof are constructed so they slow slightly from the center outward, or they have integrated drain systems. For sloping roofs, your crew needs to make sure that the drain outlets along the edges aren't blocked by debris, otherwise water can collect on the roof and get into the HVAC system. For roofs with integrated drainage systems, the drain openings need to be kept clear and clean. Blocked drains aren't just an HVAC problem, they can also lead to roof troubles.

Tip #3: Increase your winter vigilance

Winter can be the toughest time on a rooftop system. While most commercial HVAC systems can withstand normal weathering, including wind, cold, and rain, they still need an a little extra care when heavy snows or ice storms hit. After each storm, shovel snow away from the HVAC unit. You don't want the snow to block the vents on the unit, since this can cause it to overheat and lead to a burnt out motor. Ice storms can be more problematic. If the unit is encased in ice, you need to turn it off until either the ice melts or until you can get an HVAC contractor out to safely remove the ice.

For more help, contact an HVAC contractor in your area.