Air Conditioner

How Much Space Should I Keep Open Near My Air Conditioner?

You probably don’t think too much about your air conditioner until it’s not working correctly. Or until your energy bills are suddenly sky-high, even though you haven’t changed the thermostat.

Your air conditioner draws in the surrounding air to cool and forces out warm air as it function. But it can quickly overheat if it can’t get enough surrounding air or flush out hot air.

An AC system that runs hot normally won’t last as long. And it likely will cost more to cool your Cedar Rapids home.

Ilten's Incorporated can help when your air AC isn’t working properly. Or keeping your Cedar Rapids house cool enough.

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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 behind the unit. 
  • 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 blockage, like a deck or roof overhang.

While doing yardwork, keep your unit free of grass clippings and leaves. Yard waste 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 319-208-3295 for help 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 space.

It needs open space year round, especially if it snows. Get rid of 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 Ilten's Incorporated

Overdue for annual air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 319-208-3295 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 locate small issues before they become pricier problems.

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