What is an RTU HVAC System?

Are you looking for a RTU HVAC for your business?

If you are looking to add or replace air conditioning and heating equipment in a building, you might be recommended an RTU HVAC unit.

RTU means roof top unit. This piece of HVAC belongs on a roof. It is a stand alone unit that supplies heat and air conditioning for various buildings and stores.

How is an RTU HVAC different from other HVAC systems?

There are also other types of units that could be installed onto a roof. For example split-system air conditioning condensers and water-cooled chiller systems. But what makes a RTU different than the rest of them?

An RTU which may also be referred to as a “packaged unit”. It has all the parts to the AC and heating system inside of one box. Below is what you would expect to find in the unit:

  • an AC evaporator coil, which absorbs heat
  • an AC condenser coil, which releases heat
  • an AC compressor, the heart of the AC system
  • a heat source
  • a fan to blow heated and cooled air through ducts
  • an intake for outside air (Improves ventilation)

The unit will provide all the heating and air conditioning that you need for your building. The heated and cool air reaches different sections of the building through ductwork and registers. You will also have return registers that will pull air back into the system.

Other types of systems have separated parts. With an air-cooled split system, the condenser is usually located outside with the fan and evaporator located on the inside. Also, you would have to have a separate furnace or boiler for heat when using a split system.

Why would you choose to have an RTU? Here are a few of the positives and negatives:

RTU HVAC pros:

  • Because the components have been assembled inside of a factory under great conditions. The system uses less energy and with great efficiency. Because of this the bills related to the system will cost less for you.
  • The whole unit is on the roof (except the ducts) saving costs on indoor space to fit the equipment.
  1. The majority of the job has been done in a factory. Which makes the installation simple and usually cost less than other systems.
  2. If you are replacing a system you may already have the existing ductwork in place.
  3. Quick and simple repairs, due to being contained in one place on the roof.

RTU HVAC cons:

  1. They require accessible space on the roof and the space for installation, these units are built to last so maintenance may be required over the years to come, which could come at a greater cost if it is hard to acces.
  2. The unit is exposed to all weather conditions which over time may have an effect on the unit.
  3. Animals may be able to find access to the rooftop which can cause damages due to being outside.
  • RTU HVAC systems are built best for building that are under ten stories high to work effectively and efficiently. Anything higher and it is simply not suitable for the job.
  • Where the system is not seen on a daily basis it is easy to forget about so it may be accidentally neglected, This can cause the longevity of the HVAC to shorten.

Is an RTU HVAC right for your space?

The unit is mostly used for big spaces such as warehouses or shopping centres. While an RTU may be used in a multi story building (under ten stories) due to accessibility and conditioned air quality single story buildings are best suited. Another application for RTU HVAC units is in restaurant kitchens. This provides extra ventilation and conditioned air that is vented out through stove hoods.

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