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

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

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

American HVAC Inc can help when your air AC isn’t functioning correctly. Or keeping your Sacramento house comfortable enough.

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Space Guidelines for Air Conditioners

So how much space 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 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 congest your air conditioner and cause it to overheat.

Related: How to Clean Your Air Conditioner

How to Find Out 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 916-243-6714 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 Require?

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 year round, 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 turning your system back on.

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with American HVAC Inc

Overdue for yearly air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 916-243-6714 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 locate small issues before they become costly problems.