There are many factors to take into account when having a new air conditioning system installed. How much clearance, for example, should the HVAC installer leave around the outdoor unit? A trusted source of high-quality fuel oil in the area, Thomas J. Fannon & Sons, addresses this question and more here.
The Short Answer: It Depends
Your air conditioning system needs the proper amount of clearance in order to operate reliably and efficiently. This not only allows you to avoid premature AC repairs–it also helps ensure you get the most of your system’s life and performance. The general rule of thumb is to leave at least one foot (12 inches) of clear space on all sides of the outdoor unit. HVAC manufacturers, which have their own specific guidelines, often suggest clearance between 12 and 24 inches, but the number can vary depending on the items surrounding your AC unit.
- Vertical clearance. Your outdoor air conditioning unit should have at least 60 inches of vertical clearance. This way, the unit will have enough space to effectively circulate air in and out. Otherwise, the lack of clearance will put unnecessary strain on the system, which can cause it to operate less efficiently. If this becomes the case, you might need to invest in prompt HVAC repairs to mitigate the issue.
- Shrubbery. If there are shrubs around the outdoor AC unit, the HVAC installer can get away with just six inches of clearance–but only if the shrubbery isn’t particularly dense and will allow air to pass through the foliage. You might need to check it every few weeks and trim it back as necessary to maintain the six-inch clearance.
- Wall. Your outdoor AC unit needs at least 16 to 18 inches of clearance if it’s installed next to an exterior wall. This ensures uninterrupted airflow that will help keep the coils at the base of the unit ‘cool’. When airflow is restricted because of poor clearance, it can actually drive your energy costs up.
Thomas J. Fannon & Sons isn’t just your trusted expert in water heater repair–we can also take care of your AC installation needs. When you turn to us, you can be sure the work we do will be done to quality specifications, including allowing enough clearance to ensure the unit performs efficiently. We serve Alexandria, VA, and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (703) 549-5700 or fill out this contact form to schedule your HVAC evaluation.