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

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

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

Stieferman Heating Company Inc can help when your air AC isn’t functioning right. Or keeping your Jefferson City house comfortable enough.

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Space Guidelines for Air Conditioners

So how much room does your air conditioner really require?

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 free 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 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 something wrong with it. Call us at 573-203-3908 for a helping hand or schedule 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 moderate climate, you may have a heat pump in place of an air conditioner. This outdoor unit provides both heat and air conditioning for your house.

It needs open space all year, 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, turn 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 Stieferman Heating Company Inc

Overdue for regular air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 573-203-3908 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.