Are Roof Curbs Essential for My HVAC System?

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Self flashing pitched roof curbs

Dozens of products work together to make your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system effective and efficient. If your HVAC equipment is mounted on your roof, chances are you also have roof curbs. Let’s look deeper at the different types, how they are installed, why they’re essential, and how to incorporate a roof curb into your HVAC update.

What Are HVAC Roof Curbs? 

Even though the roof of your office or other commercial building is made to last, that doesn’t mean it is made to automatically accommodate powerful HVAC units, skylights, or other equipment. Roof curbs are raised frames that help protect and support engineered openings installed in the roof. They are also critical for ensuring that any equipment installed on the roof is compatible with the opening into the architecture itself.

Roof curbs are designed to accommodate the following accessories:

  • Chiller intakes and exhausts
  • Skylights
  • Stovepipes
  • HVAC units
  • Chimneys

In addition to support and protection, they are also designed to help facilitate airflow. Air is moved in and out of the building through these, another reason why the HVAC unit must fit perfectly with the curb.

How Do Roof Curbs Work?

They work by providing a metal frame and support for the accessories that are installed on your roof. These objects may sit on top of the roof or penetrate the roof’s surface. Roof curbs are essential for providing a safe, sturdy, and level platform for objects to be installed on.

Regardless of how the roof curb platform is placed, it must consider a few important aspects:

  • Preventing moisture
  • Stability
  • Securing against debris

Types of Roof Curbs

They are available in many different styles. Some of the most popular roof curb styles are:

  • Roof Curbs for a Metal Roof
  • Insulated Roof Curbs
  • Pipe Curbs
  • Vibration-Isolation Roof Curbs
  • Catwalk Roof Curbs

All About Roof Curbs for a Metal Roof

Every roof has a specific pitch, or the angle that it is sloped. The pitch of a roof is one of the many reasons that roof curbs are essential. Installing a heavy HVAC unit on a sloped roof is dangerous and will not meet your building code. Roof curbs for metal roofs are designed to match seams or ribs within the roof panel to ensure that the equipment is securely in place and that water and other kinds of debris cannot penetrate the seam.

Why Use Insulated Roof Curbs?

If you’ve ever poured a cold drink on a hot day, you know about condensation. The beads of sweat that appear on the outside of a glass are similar to the effect that cold air causes when it blows through uninsulated ductwork on a hot day.

Insulated roof curbs are great for keeping cold air in or out. In colder climates, the insulation helps protect the building’s temperature from dropping due to cold air, snow, or ice and increasing HVAC efficiency for the winter. However, when the temperature increases during the summer, a lack of insulation on your roof curbs can cause the heat of the sun to wreak havoc on energy costs and temperature consistency.

Need help keeping your HVAC unit in check? Here’s our list of how to perform preventative maintenance on your HVAC unit before summer hits.

Creating a Weather-Tight Seal with Pipe Curbs

Pipe curbs are made to prevent moisture and debris from impacting a roof where pipes penetrate the surface. These systems provide a weather-tight seal around the pipe as well as where the curb meets the surface of the roof. In addition, pipe curbs can accommodate all types of pipes and different sizes in a single curb, allowing for accessibility and versatility in one.

Vibration-Isolation Roof Curbs for Sound Reduction

Vibration-isolating roof curbs are designed to prevent vibration energy from being transferred from one object to another. Many large HVAC systems can cause vibrations and noise, but using a vibration-isolation roof curb can help prevent the energy from disturbing people on the top floors of a building. These types of curbs are made using adjustable spring isolators and typically have flashing for a watertight seal while providing access to inspect or maintain the springs whenever necessary.

Adding Safety with Catwalk Roof Curbs

Catwalk roof curbs are a must for extra-large HVAC units or other equipment requiring platform access for maintenance. These catwalks, also known as service platforms, are designed to meet the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and allow increased accessibility for repair, service, and maintenance.

Roof Curbs for Roof Replacements

Installing brand-new roof curbs is not always required whenever you replace your roof. Although replacing your roof curbs is common whenever you replace your roof, they can also be restored if they are in good condition.

Roof Curb Adapters

When you’re replacing your HVAC system, more often than not, you will have to make an adjustment to your roof curb. Thankfully, a new HVAC unit doesn’t always mean buying all new curbs.

Roof curb adapters are a great way to make the most of your existing infrastructure. Instead of replacing your roof curbs, curb adapters are installed on top of the existing curb. Curb adapters allow a seamless transition without compromising the integrity of the equipment while remaining as budget-friendly as possible.

Another great perk of using curb adapters is that it allows you to retrofit old HVAC openings with updated, more technologically friendly units. So instead of having to redo your entire roof or opening, curb adapters give you the best of both worlds.

Installing Roof Curbs and Curb Adapters

As with any construction product, a trained professional must install your curbs and curb adapters. Improperly installed curbs can lead to leaks, inadequate air intake and flow, and even major safety issues. Likewise, ensuring that the curb aligns with the opening and with the HVAC equipment is a job that is best conducted by an expert HVAC manufacturer. Even though it may seem tempting to save a few bucks, the headaches that it will cause if something goes wrong far outweigh any benefits you may find.

Whether you need a custom roof curb or a curb adapter, the trained experts at Lloyd Industries can help you find the perfect solution. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Lloyd Industries has the knowledge, passion, and skill to ensure your building is equipped with the best products on the market.

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