How Much Space Should I Keep 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 energy bills are suddenly skyrocketing, even though you haven’t moved the thermostat.

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

An AC system that runs hot generally won’t last as long. And it probably will cost more to cool your Thedford home.

Taylor's Heating & Air Conditioning can help when your air AC isn’t working correctly. Or keeping your Thedford house cold enough.

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Space Guidelines for Air Conditioners

So how much space does your air conditioner really require?

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 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 clear of grass clippings and leaves. Yard scraps can obstruct 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 an issue. Call us at 519-296-4437 for a helping hand or request 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 gives both heat and air conditioning for your space.

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

If your heat pump fills with wintry precipitation, shut 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 Taylor's Heating & Air Conditioning

Overdue for yearly air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 519-296-4437 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 costly problems.