How Much Space Should I Keep Open Around My Air Conditioner?

October 04, 2019

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

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

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

B & G HVAC can help when your air AC isn’t running properly. Or keeping your Marshalltown house cold 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 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 obstructions, like a deck or roof overhang.

While doing yardwork, keep your unit out of contact with grass clippings and leaves. Yard debris can obstruct 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 an issue. Call us at 641-323-1210 for help or request 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 instead of an air conditioner. This outdoor unit gives both heat and air conditioning for your home.

It needs open space all year, 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, switch it off. Use warm water to melt snow and ice and give the water some time to drain before putting your system back on.

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with B & G HVAC

Overdue for regular air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 641-323-1210 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 locate small issues before they become expensive problems.