How much clearance should you have around your outdoor AC unit? A good rule of thumb is to leave at least 12 inches of clearance on all sides. However, the recommended amount of space around your HVAC unit ultimately depends on what’s surrounding it. For instance, if you’re using shrubbery to shield your outdoor unit from the elements, the recommended amount of clearance space is six inches, provided that the shrubbery isn’t too dense.
The Ice-Man, your trusted heating and cooling services company, elaborates further below:
Since shrubbery tends to grow fast, six inches of clearance likely won’t be enough in a few weeks’ time. That’s why we recommend checking the clearance around your AC unit every week.
What if your AC unit is situated near a wall, or anything solid, for that matter? As a general rule, there should be 16 to 18 inches of space between your outdoor unit and exterior wall.
Clearance Above Your AC Unit
In addition to clearance space around all sides of your unit, you also need to maintain clearance above it, especially if it’s a top-discharge unit. As the name suggests, top-discharge units blow air upwards, so there should be nothing in the way to prevent this.
What Happens If There Isn’t Enough Clearance Around Your AC Unit?
Without sufficient clearance space, warm air is recirculated into your AC unit, which will eventually cause the evaporator coil—the component responsible for holding chilled refrigerant that removes heat from the air—to overheat.
What are the Warning Signs of a Damaged Evaporator Coil?
The common warning signs of a damaged coil are warm air coming out of the air vents, uneven temperatures or hot spots (which could also be a sign your AC’s thermostat and controls need to be replaced), and unusual noises (usually banging and hissing sounds) coming from your AC unit. If you notice any of these warning signs, schedule an inspection with an experienced HVAC contractor as soon as possible.
Are you looking for experienced HVAC contractors near you?
The Ice-Man has over 30 years of experience in the HVAC industry. We offer a wide range of professional HVAC and indoor air quality services. To schedule an appointment, call us at (609) 466-9020 or fill out this form.