How Much Space Should Stay Open Near My Air Conditioner?

October 04, 2019

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

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

An AC system that runs hot normally won’t last as long. And it likely will cost more to cool your Derby home.

Giordanos Heating and Air Conditioning can help when your air AC isn’t functioning properly. Or keeping your Derby house cool enough.

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Space Guidelines for Air Conditioners

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

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 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 obstructions, like a deck or roof overhang.

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

Related: How to Clean Your Air Conditioner

How to See 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 higher near the coil, your system may have something wrong with it. Call us at 203-772-8319 for help or make an appointment online.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

How Much Space Does a Heat Pump Have to Have?

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

It needs open space all year, especially if it snows. Clear away snow that accumulates 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 putting your system back on.

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with Giordanos Heating and Air Conditioning

Overdue for regular air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 203-772-8319 today!

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