HVAC Colors

I’ve been experimenting with colors to paint rooftop details. While most of the pipes and vents will be painted a metallic or flat gray, HVAC units seem to be slightly more colorful. Probably has something to do with branding. While can’t see many rooftop HVAC units from the ground, the ones I’ve seen have varying tones of gray to grayish brown.

I took some photos of some swamp coolers at the Stacy Street yard office for a limited color palette and improvised from there.

Swamp Cooler Stacy Street Yard Office
Swamp Cooler Stacy Street Yard Office

I tied several colors. And think I settled on only a few base colors.

I think I like Dark Ghost Gray, USAF Medium Gray and the mixture of USAF Medium Gray with Hemp, but something tells me I should check out Vallejo Mecha Colors! Anyone have experience with Mecha-Colors?


Author: Greg Amer

4 thoughts on “HVAC Colors

  1. Lennox, Trane and York rooftop units are typically brown.

    Carrier rooftops used to be a bluish-green in the 1980s, but switched to gray at some point in the 90s, I think.

    The condensing units on the ground are more typically gray.

    1. Thanks for the tips Rhett. One unit I can see from the ground is definitely a brownish color and it’s a newer looking unit. I suppose I should search for photos and then match some paint colors that way. And modeling some units that like they’ve been there for decades will be important as well.

      Of course it’s all a mystery to me what goes where on which roof, more of a trial by sight to see what looks proportional.

      1. I spent many years doing industrial energy audits. The first task was to collect nameplate data from every energy-consuming device, which meant a trip to the roof to get HVAC nameplates. Usually office spaces and manufacturing areas are cooled (which means they have the units like you’re modeling). Dry storage warehouses aren’t typically cooled and usually have heaters under the roof (so you’d have vents, but no units on the roof). When cooling systems get really large (like refrigerated warehouses or really big manufacturing environments), you’ll see a cooling tower outside either on the ground or on the roof.

        If you would like some help knowing what would “look right” for a freelanced model, feel free to reach out and I can help.

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