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 correctly. Or until your utility bills are suddenly climbing, even though you haven’t touched the thermostat.

Your air conditioner draws in the surrounding air to cool and expels 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 generally doesn’t last as long. And it likely will cost more to cool your Huntsville home.

All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning Inc can help when your air AC isn’t working properly. Or keeping your Huntsville house cool enough.

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Space Guidelines for Air Conditioners

So how large of an area does your air conditioner really require?

Here’s what we recommend:

  • 1-foot minimum on all sides, including behind the unit. 
  • 1.5-foot minimum for the sides and an alcove or adjacent wall. 
  • 2 feet between the sides of the unit and tight 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 clog your air conditioner and cause it to overheat.

Related: How to Clean Your Air Conditioner

How to Check 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 256-801-4701 for a helping hand or make an appointment online.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

How Much Space Does a Heat Pump Require?

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

It needs open space all year, especially if it snows. Remove snow that accumulates on the top and near the sides of the unit.

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

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning Inc

Overdue for yearly air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 256-801-4701 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 find small issues before they become pricier problems.