How Much Space Should Stay Open Near My Air Conditioner?

October 04, 2019

You most likely don’t think too much about your air conditioner until it’s not working correctly. Or until your electric bills are suddenly climbing, even though you haven’t changed 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 draw in enough surrounding air or flush out hot air.

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

Honke Heating & AC can help when your air AC isn’t working correctly. Or keeping your Gresham house cool enough.

I Need AC Service

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 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 a problem. Call us at 503-663-8033 for help or schedule 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 creates both heat and air conditioning for your house.

It needs open space year round, especially if it snows. Remove snow that accumulates 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 switching your system back on.

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with Honke Heating & AC

Overdue for regular air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 503-663-8033 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 pinpoint small issues before they become expensive problems.