How Much Space Should Stay 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 utility bills are suddenly sky-high, even though you haven’t touched the thermostat.

Your air conditioner draws in outdoor air to cool and lets out warm air as it function. But it can quickly overheat if it can’t pull in enough surrounding air or flush out hot air.

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

SchagrinGAS Company can help when your air AC isn’t functioning right. Or keeping your Middletown house comfortable enough.

I Need AC Service

Space Guidelines for Air Conditioners

So how much room does your air conditioner really need?

Here’s what we recommend:

  • 1-foot minimum on all sides, including the rear. 
  • 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 interference, like a deck or roof overhang.

While doing yardwork, keep your unit free of grass clippings and leaves. Yard debris can clog 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 warmer near the coil, your system may have a problem. Call us at 302-231-1380 for help or schedule 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 rather than an air conditioner. This outdoor unit provides both heat and air conditioning for your house.

It needs open space at all times, especially if it snows. Remove snow that gathers 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 a little while to drain before switching your system back on.

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with SchagrinGAS Company

Overdue for yearly air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 302-231-1380 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 pinpoint small issues before they become expensive problems.