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

October 04, 2019

You most likely don’t think too much about your air conditioner until it’s not working right. Or until your energy bills are suddenly sky-high, even though you haven’t changed the thermostat.

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

An AC system that runs hot normally doesn’t last as long. And it doubtlessly will cost more to cool your Perry home.

Gillman Heating and Air can help when your air AC isn’t running correctly. Or keeping your Perry house cold enough.

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Space Guidelines for Air Conditioners

So how large of an area 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 thick 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 clear of grass clippings and leaves. Yard waste 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 a problem. Call us at 478-202-3076 for help or schedule 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 moderate climate, you may have a heat pump in place of an air conditioner. This outdoor unit creates both heat and air conditioning for your space.

It needs open space all year, especially if it snows. Remove snow that builds up 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 little while to drain before putting your system back on.

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with Gillman Heating and Air

Overdue for annual air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 478-202-3076 today!

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