Air Conditioner

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

You more than likely don’t think too much about your air conditioner until it’s not working suddenly. Or until your utility bills are suddenly climbing, even though you haven’t touched the thermostat.

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

An AC system that runs hot usually won’t last as long. And it probably will cost more to cool your Lexington home.

James Heating & A/C, Inc can help when your air AC isn’t working properly. Or keeping your Lexington house comfortable enough.

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Space Guidelines for Air Conditioners

So how large of an area does your air conditioner really need?

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 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 out of contact with grass clippings and leaves. Yard waste can clog your air conditioner and cause it to overheat.

Related: How to Clean Your Air Conditioner

How to See 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 336-853-6070 for assistance 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 mild climate, you may have a heat pump rather than an air conditioner. This outdoor unit creates both heat and air conditioning for your home.

It needs open space year round, especially if it snows. Get rid of snow that gathers 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 some time to drain before turning your system back on.

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with James Heating & A/C, Inc

Overdue for annual air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 336-853-6070 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 find small issues before they become pricier problems.

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