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 correctly. Or until your utility 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 quickly overheat if it can’t get enough surrounding air or flush out hot air.

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

M & S Heating & Air LLC can help when your air AC isn’t functioning correctly. Or keeping your Mechanicsville house cold 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 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 scraps can obstruct 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 an issue. Call us at 301-363-4699 for a helping hand or make 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 instead of an air conditioner. This outdoor unit creates both heat and air conditioning for your home.

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, 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 M & S Heating & Air LLC

Overdue for annual air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 301-363-4699 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.

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