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

Your air conditioner draws in the surrounding air to cool and expels warm air as it runs. But it can promptly overheat if it can’t draw in 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 Paso Robles home.

Paso Robles Heating and Air can help when your air AC isn’t running right. Or keeping your Paso Robles house comfortable enough.

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Space Guidelines for Air Conditioners

So how large of an area 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 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 obstructions, like a deck or roof overhang.

While doing yardwork, keep your unit out of contact with grass clippings and leaves. Yard scraps 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 something wrong with it. Call us at 805-203-8667 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 creates both heat and air conditioning for your space.

It needs open space at all times, especially if it snows. Clear away 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 some time to drain before turning your system back on.

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with Paso Robles Heating and Air

Overdue for annual air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 805-203-8667 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 expensive problems.