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

October 04, 2019

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

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

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

Gee & Missler Heating & Air Conditioning can help when your air AC isn’t working properly. Or keeping your Wyandotte house cool 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 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 interference, like a deck or roof overhang.

While doing yardwork, keep your unit free 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 hotter near the coil, your system may have an issue. Call us at 734-363-8907 for assistance 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 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 space.

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

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with Gee & Missler Heating & Air Conditioning

Overdue for regular air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 734-363-8907 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 pinpoint small issues before they become costly problems.