How Much Space Should I Leave Open Surrounding My Air Conditioner?

October 04, 2019

You more than likely don’t think too much about your air conditioner until it’s not working correctly. Or until your electric bills are suddenly climbing, even though you haven’t moved the thermostat.

Your air conditioner draws in the surrounding air to cool and forces out warm air as it runs. But it can easily overheat if it can’t draw in enough surrounding air or flush out hot air.

An AC system that runs hot usually can’t last as long. And it probably will cost more to cool your Rocky Mount home.

Davis Heating & Air Conditioning can help when your air AC isn’t working right. Or keeping your Rocky Mount house comfortable enough.

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Space Guidelines for Air Conditioners

So how much room does your air conditioner really call for?

Here’s what we recommend:

  • 1-foot minimum on all sides, including the back. 
  • 1.5-foot minimum for the sides and an alcove or adjacent wall. 
  • 2 feet between the sides of the unit and dense shrubs or solid fences. 
  • 6 inches between the sides and leafy plants, with a few extra inches left for growth.
  • 8 feet between the top and blockage, like a deck or roof overhang.

While doing yardwork, keep your unit out of contact with grass clippings and leaves. Yard scraps can congest your air conditioner and cause it to overheat.

Related: How to Clean Your Air Conditioner

How to Find Out if Your Air Conditioner is Overheating

  1. Turn the air conditioner on.
  2. Check the temperature a few inches from the coil. This is the metallic grate that surrounds your unit.
  3. Measure the temperature 10 feet away.

If the temperatures are the same, your system is working properly.

If the temperature is warmer near the coil, your system may have something wrong with it. Call us at 540-369-3790 for assistance or make an appointment online.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

How Much Space Does a Heat Pump Need?

If you live in a temperate climate, you may have a heat pump instead of an air conditioner. This outdoor unit creates both heat and air conditioning for your house.

It needs open space at all times, especially if it snows. Get rid of snow that gathers on the top and near the sides of the unit.

If your heat pump fills with wintry precipitation, switch it off. Use warm water to melt snow and ice and give the water a few minutes to drain before turning your system back on.

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with Davis Heating & Air Conditioning

Overdue for regular air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 540-369-3790 today!

A routine AC tune-up means your air conditioner is likely more efficient—and less likely to overheat. And it also allows our skilled technicians to pinpoint small issues before they become costly problems.