Air Conditioner

How Much Space Should Stay Open Around 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 moved the thermostat.

Your air conditioner draws in outdoor air to cool and expels warm air as it runs. But it can easily overheat if it can’t get enough surrounding air or flush out hot air.

An AC system that runs hot generally doesn’t last as long. And it probably will cost more to cool your Excelsior Springs home.

Colvin's Heating and Cooling can help when your air AC isn’t running right. Or keeping your Excelsior Springs house cool enough.

I Need AC Service

Space Guidelines for Air Conditioners

So how much space does your air conditioner really call for?

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 clear of grass clippings and leaves. Yard scraps can clog 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 something wrong with it. Call us at 816-379-3918 for a helping hand or request 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 all year, 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 little while to drain before turning your system back on.

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with Colvin's Heating and Cooling

Overdue for annual air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 816-379-3918 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 locate small issues before they become costly problems.

Back To Blog