Air Conditioner

How Much Space Should Stay Open Surrounding My Greater Richmond Air Conditioner?

You more than likely don’t think too much about your air conditioner until it’s not working right. Or until your energy bills are suddenly climbing, even though you haven’t touched the thermostat.

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

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

Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling can help when your air AC isn’t running correctly. Or keeping your Greater Richmond house comfortable enough.

I Need AC Service

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 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 blockage, like a deck or roof overhang.

While doing yardwork, keep your unit free of grass clippings and leaves. Yard waste can congest 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 hotter near the coil, your system may have something wrong with it. Call us at 804-302-6657 for help or schedule an appointment online.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

How Much Space Does a Heat Pump Require?

If you live in a mild climate, you may have a heat pump rather than an air conditioner. This outdoor unit provides both heat and air conditioning for your home.

It needs open space at all times, especially if it snows. Get rid of snow that builds up on the top and near the sides of the unit.

If your heat pump fills with wintry precipitation, switch it off. Use warm water to melt snow and ice and give the water a few minutes to drain before turning your system back on.

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling

Overdue for yearly air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 804-302-6657 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 costly problems.

Back To Blog