In Phoenix, Arizona, air conditioning is nearly ubiquitous. A casual drive around the city will reveal a unit on nearly every residential roof, and those that don’t have air conditioning units mounted on the roof will have them on the ground. Sometimes the units will be accompanied by another box that looks like an air conditioner, but isn’t. This additional device is most likely a swamp cooler. There are several differences in the configuration between roof and ground mounted units, and homes that feature the addition of a swamp cooler and those that don’t.
Swamp coolers are often not added to homes that already have an air conditioner, but are a remnant from a time before air conditioning was popular or feasible to most people. Swamp coolers use only a fraction of the energy of an air conditioner, and in dry weather can be almost as effective at cooling the interior of a home. But when humid weather or storms strike swamp coolers can make life miserable.
Roof mounted units are common. An air conditioner is composed of two main parts: the air handler and the condenser unit. The air handler contains fans and is connected to the main air ducts in the house. In Phoenix, Arizona air ducts are centralized around a roof-mounted unit that contains both condenser coils and an air handler. Building the unit in one piece is cheap and easy to install. Replacing the unit is a little tricky, but not a problem for professionals with the proper equipment.
However because the Phoenix sun is so intense, roof mounted units get hot. Electronic parts sometimes get fried in the heat, meaning that the unit doesn’t last as long. Because of this, many homeowners opt for a split unit. In a split unit, the air handlers and condenser are in completely different places. The air handler is still located centrally, but everything else is placed on the ground, outside. Good home planning will situate the condenser in the shade, preferably on the north side of the building.
This configuration is easier to maintain than a roof mounted unit, since most of the unit can be accessed from the ground. One possible disadvantage is that the Freon lines must be much longer, which can diminish efficiency very slightly if they are not insulated properly. The Arrowhead Aire LLC team has decades of experience in the air conditioning business. Don’t hesitate to call with any questions regarding your air conditioning unit service and repair or any other air conditioning related needs.