You want to upgrade your HVAC system. But should you run it through your existing ceiling, or install a dropped ceiling? Should you expose your HVAC system (typical in many industrial buildings), or hide it with a roofing kit? There are a few things to consider.
The Benefits of a Dropped Ceiling
A dropped ceiling is a staple in many offices, and it provides a few major benefits:
- It insulates from both temperature and sound.
- It hides the HVAC system.
- It makes it easier to service and maintain the HVAC system.
The latter is important. Since the HVAC system isn't visible, it doesn't have to be as organized and orderly as it would be otherwise. Maintenance is faster and simpler.
The Drawbacks of a Dropped Ceiling
Not every business can install a dropped ceiling. A dropped ceiling usually has a gap of at least two feet, so if your ceiling is already low, it's not going to be suitable. A dropped ceiling can also be more expensive than simply installing a visible HVAC, depending on the location. And not everyone likes the appearance of dropped ceilings. The industrial look is now popular for restaurants, bars, and other entertainment venues.
The Alternatives to a Dropped Ceiling
When installing a commercial HVAC system, there are really three options: installing into an existing ceiling, using a dropped ceiling, or exposing the HVAC system.
- Installing into an existing ceiling. If there's enough space in an existing ceiling, an HVAC system can be placed within the gap. This does require cutting into the existing ceiling, and it's often more difficult because the HVAC system has to be worked around existing parts, rather than installed at the same time as the dropped ceiling.
- Exposing the HVAC system. An exposed HVAC system requires more expensive duct work, because it has to be self-supporting and attractive. But in some scenarios it can be cheaper, because a full ceiling doesn't have to be installed.
Whether these options are open for your business will depend on how your commercial space is already designed.
The Key Takeaways
Ultimately, the HVAC system will be just as efficient regardless of how it's installed. This isn't a question of efficiency, but rather aesthetics. Installing a dropped ceiling comes with some complications, but it's a neat way to keep everything tidy and well-insulated. At the same time, an exposed HVAC system may be easier to install, or more aesthetically pleasing.
Contact an HVAC company like Dominion Services Heating & Air Refrigeration for more information.