We recently moved into a house, and we've noticed that the central air conditioners take up valuable space, not only with their footprint, but also they will likely blow hot air during use, making anything nearby uncomfortable to use.enter image description here

My question: Is it feasible to relocate the air conditioners to the roof (near satellite dish)? If so, is this a bad idea for any reason, cost aside? I'm thinking there are probably four main concerns:

  • air conditioners being more exposed to elements (I would think not a big deal, since they are already pretty exposed)
  • ensuring the structure can hold the weight (not sure if it's possible to roughly estimate without a contractor)
  • reroute electrical (I would think doable)
  • reroute coolant lines (no idea, I know nothing about HVAC stuff)

To be clear: I am not going to do this myself; I will hire a professional. I just wanted to get unbiased opinions from the esteemed Stack Exchange community before talking to contractors. Thanks in advance!

  • What is the building that you want to place the AC units on the roof of? – JACK Apr 19 at 20:12
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    @JACK -- I think that piece is some sort of stairshaft penthouse if you will, given the layout of what its attached to? – ThreePhaseEel Apr 19 at 21:11
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    Yeah, you need to be a pro to mess with Freon lines. But you could do most of the prep yourself. The vibration may make the dish shake, so hello Comcast. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 19 at 21:24
  • @ThreePhaseEel: Correct. That's the stairway to go downstairs. – Lee Apr 19 at 22:35
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    The stair shaft might act as an echo chamber so some vibrations dampers under the units would be advised. This is totally doable, cost aside. Stay safe in the Windy City – JACK Apr 19 at 22:50

I like it! On the roof isn't enough, let's put it on the roof of the roof's bump-out room. NICE!

Then, you'll need to add a tiny access bump-out on that roof...just a cherry on top of my thinking, instead of hauling out a ladder.

Yep, you're good to go and any structural issues could be fairly cheap and quick for their few hundred pounds by just doubling-up the rafters...pretty doubtful it would be needed.

It's definitely pricey and quite involved, but can absolutely be fully accomplished. You could even do a pretty little widow's walk style fence up there to beautify it. Not impeding air-flow is important, but shading the sides from the Sun is a performance and efficiency booster.

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  • Thanks @Iggy! I like the access bump-out and widow's walk fence ideas. – Lee Apr 20 at 15:29

Yes, it is very doable, kind of expensive, but doable. Depending on the interior of the stairway, the electric and Freon lines could be extended up the interior wall to save that outside wall. You'd still have "line of sight" for the disconnects. Your other choice would be to extend them up from where they are now, probably the easier choice, and cover them with a channel cover. You could hide them with some shrubs that would also provide some shade to increase efficiency. What part of Chicago?

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  • Thanks for your answer, @JACK! We are in the Irving Park neighborhood. (I'm sorry, but I can only accept one answer, and both are good, so I just went with the first one.) – Lee Apr 20 at 15:27
  • FYI, You can "like" more than one and select the best. I grew up on the south side, Beverly. Stay safe and enjoy your new home. – JACK Apr 20 at 15:57

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