Air Conditioner

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

You most likely don’t think too much about your air conditioner until it’s not working suddenly. Or until your electric bills are suddenly sky-high, even though you haven’t changed the thermostat.

Your air conditioner draws in the surrounding air to cool and forces out warm air as it works. 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 won’t last as long. And it likely will cost more to cool your Elmhurst home.

Alan Heating Air Conditioning, Inc. can help when your air AC isn’t functioning properly. Or keeping your Elmhurst house cold 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 the rear. 
  • 1.5-foot minimum for the sides and an alcove or adjacent wall. 
  • 2 feet between the sides of the unit and dense 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 debris can congest 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 something wrong with it. Call us at 630-833-1100 for help or schedule 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 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 home.

It needs open space year round, especially if it snows. Remove snow that gathers 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 Alan Heating Air Conditioning, Inc.

Overdue for annual air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 630-833-1100 today!

A routine AC tune-up means your air conditioner is likely more efficient—and less likely to overheat. And it also helps our skilled technicians to pinpoint small issues before they become expensive problems.

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