Ground Air Conditioner Versus Rooftop Air Conditioner

Here in the desert, air conditioning is as essential as running water. While every home has at least one air conditioner, they’re not all located in the same location. Air conditioners can be located on the ground adjacent to a home or on a home’s rooftop. When choosing between installing a new air conditioner on the ground or on the roof, there are several considerations to explore ranging from aesthetics to functionality. There are arguments for both ground and rooftop ac units. Here are some considerations to weigh to determine the best option for you:

The Neighborhood

If you’re in the market for a new home, it’s always a good idea to look at the surrounding neighborhood. Many older neighborhoods have a predominance of rooftop air conditioners. If you personally find this an eyesore, it’s important to know that moving the air conditioner from a roof to the ground is a modification that cannot be easily undone. In other words, when in Rome, do as the Romans. Likewise, deciding to place an air conditioner on a roof when every other home has a ground air conditioner may not be a wise financial decision. In fact, it could negatively impact the future value of your home.


Ground units require a certain amount of space. Not only must you allot for the unit itself but also enough clearance on all sides to enable hot air to circulate from the unit. If you have a small yard, a ground air conditioner may throw a monkey wrench into big plans for an expansive patio or garden.

The Weather

Rooftop air conditioners often take more of a beating than ground units because they are continuously exposed to heat. There is often higher winds and more blowing dust on top of a home. In contrast, a ground air conditioner can get clogged with dead leaves, damaged by animals and inundated by flood water during a monsoon storm.
It’s always a good idea to consider your specific weather conditions and the landscape around your home to determine what might be the best option.


All air conditioners, regardless of where they are located, should be serviced on a regular basis. With rooftop ac units, it’s often a case of out of sight, out of mind.
So, it’s additionally important to obtain a maintenance plan from a reliable contractor that can remind you of when maintenance is required.


Yes, there is such a thing as air conditioner theft. Thieves have been known to swipe the copper out of an air conditioner or even steal the entire unit, leaving nothing but wires and the need for an insurance claim. Rooftop air conditioners are typically more secure because they are not as easily accessible.

Want to learn more about the benefits of ground versus rooftop air conditioners? Call the experts at Bruce’s Air Conditioning and Heating at 480-968-5652.