Trade Ally Network Northwest

The Future of Drones and HVAC Technology

May 17, 2018 | Trade Ally Network NW

What is the worst part about inspecting roof-top HVAC units? Getting to the unit, of course! From the hassle of hauling tools up flights of stairs to potential access issues to safety concerns–rooftop units can be a major challenge. Meet the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), commonly known as the drone.

Outfitted with a variety of payloads – like thermal cameras, the job of the inspector is just a joystick or app away. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to accurately and efficiently inspect an entire roof in about the same amount of time it would take you to just get up there with your tools? Additionally, UAVs allow for equipment to remain running during the inspection avoiding disruptions to the end user. All it takes is a trained operator who can pilot the UAV and interpret the images that are returned. Once the pictures, video or other data has been captured, an accurate needs assessment can be made saving time, money and exposure to safety hazards. This form of inspection allows the HVAC technician to evaluate the repair and/or maintenance issue prior to ever stepping foot on the roof or other hard to reach area.

UAV technology is advancing quickly and the applicable use cases span a broad range of tasks and industries including energy, oil and gas, and insurance.


  • Precise
  • Productive and efficient
  • Scalable
  • Adaptable
  • Increased safety


  • Bandwidth
  • Battery life
  • Range
  • Emerging technology
  • Outmoded rules and regulations

The utility industry is beginning to examine the use of UAVs for a variety of applications including all manner of equipment inspection. The opportunity to increase safety, speed of delivery and information accuracy while reducing costs is an intriguing concept. Tedious, time consuming, costly inspections become safer, more efficient and cost-effective. Imagine what problems could be solved with the application of this simple shift. This technology and the associated services will have a significant impact on the HVAC industry for many of the same reasons.