What’s the Best Location for AC Outdoor Unit?

Best Location for AC Outdoor Unit

Where Should My Outdoor AC Unit be Located?

You know you’re in the summer months when you start sweating, and it’s time to switch on the air conditioning and stay cool.

But what happens when your air conditioner is not working correctly?

Well, it’s time to get your HVAC system fixed or replace it with a new AC unit.

🤔 One of the first fundamental questions when installing a new AC is where to install the outdoor unit. 

If it’s a replacement and the answer is: the same spot as the last one, then take a pause.

The last location may not have been the best spot, so you should look at AC placement again to determine the most efficient area around your home.

As HVAC contractors, we see it a ton of times; proper condenser unit placement can save you a ton of money and effort!

Ductless mini split multizone AC Installation
Our Phyxter Tech is pretty happy with himself!

Where Not To Put It!

Most homeowners (and some HVAC techs!) think the inconspicuous spot is the best place to stick an AC or heat pump condenser or stick it where the old AC outdoor unit sat.

However, this lack of analysis of how refrigeration works can lead to several issues where the improper installation will affect the efficient running of your air conditioner or heat pump.

For example, if the outdoor unit is placed in an area affected by water runoff from your roof, this amount of water above and beyond what would typically fall from the sky can adversely affect the electrical components of your cooling system.

Likewise, if it’s placed where it’s exposed all day long in direct sunlight, your unit will struggle to release heat from the coil to cool down the refrigerant as it’s exposed to high temperatures.

If your old outdoor unit was in the incorrect position, you are just replacing one problem with another, hence why correct analysis of air conditioner placement is required.

The same applies to a mini split air conditioner and heat pumps.

Poor placement of your condenser can have long-term effects on cooling efficiency and service life, and we all know this translates to dollars on your utility bills!

If you are like me, you would prefer to keep dollars in your pocket and not give them away to the Power and HVAC gods, so it’s worth thinking about a suitable location for your outdoor unit before it’s installed.

Outdoor Unit Location, Location, Location!

Best Location for AC Outdoor Unit

Regardless of the type and size of the air conditioner or heat pump being installed, some important considerations need to be followed for efficient placement.

  • There must be a minimum of 2 to 3 feet of enough space surrounding the unit for maximum airflow
  • No obstructions should be within that open space envelope or near other heat sources.
  • The outdoor unit should not be installed in passageways and should be easily accessible.
  • AC units should not be placed near or behind doors or outdoor furniture.
  • The outdoor ac unit should not be placed inside in places like the garage or attic. They are called outdoor units for a reason.
  • The condenser needs to be elevated enough to not be in pooling water during rain. The unit should permanently be mounted onto a concrete pad for stability.
  • As per the above point, the unit should be level so the refrigerant works correctly and provides adequate cooling efficiency.
  • Be aware of the noise output in relation to the placement. For example, you don’t want to annoy your neighbors or yourself if it’s parked too close to a window of a room or gathering area.

Points to Remember What NOT to Do!

Central HVAC system layout
Central AC Component Layout
  • Direct sunlight can mess with how your AC works and sheds heat. Your AC keeps you cool by transferring heat from inside your home to the outside. It has to work harder to do that in the sun.
  • Shading the unit doesn’t always work either. Your condenser needs a lot of airflow in and around the unit, and shading can get in the way if this is mounted too close.
  • As per the point about direct sunlight, your new unit should not be mounted on the hotter side of your home. A naturally cooler side of your home will help your AC work more efficiently.
  • Be aware of the distance between indoor and outdoor units. The length of the copper pipe between the 2 can affect cooling efficiency.

Your AC keeps you cool by transferring heat to properly regulate your home temperature; everything you can do to make the job easier means less money spent on electricity to feed this monster.

Also, extended run times mean more strain on internal components, which in turn means more repairs that cost money…..

So let’s not give any more money to the AC gods than we have to.

Ductless AC Installation

If you cannot answer this question on where your outdoor unit should be located, then it’s best to ask your local HVAC technician, who should know where your AC should be located.

Now you know a little more about your cooling system.

This can help when asking questions to ensure you have hired a reputable and knowledgeable HVAC company.

Related Reading: Best AC Temperature in Summer?

Best Location for AC Outdoor Unit?

In North America, your air conditioner should be installed on the east or north side of your home so that your home itself can shade your AC unit from the sun during the hottest part of the day.

The location must also have good airflow to facilitate the refrigeration cycle.

Now you know a little more about your cooling system.

This can help when asking questions to ensure you have hired a reputable and knowledgeable HVAC company.

Phyxter Approved Logo on Service Truck

If you need any help with your AC or heat pump, contact Phyxter Home Services. We specialize in HVAC system repair, maintenance, and installation.

We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service, so we are happy to answer any questions you might have.

Jake Gibson

CEO @ Phyxter and HVAC Guru

About our blog

Phyxter (pronounced Fix-ter) is a national home services brand specializing in Residential HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing solutions.

Phyxter is laser-focused on writing the best articles and guides to empower homeowners to get the best out of their homes.

We hope you enjoy it!

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