If you’re building a new home or having a brand-new HVAC unit installed in your current home, you may be wondering what the best location for your AC outdoor unit is. Many homeowners may be tempted to stick the unit in the most inconspicuous spot for aesthetic purposes. However, while the placement of this unit may not seem like a big deal, putting it in the wrong spot may potentially turn into a detriment later on.
To get the most return on investment from your HVAC unit, including better performance and longer system life, you’ll want to consider its outdoor location and placement very carefully.
4 Tips for Placing Your Outdoor HVAC Unit
Incorrectly placing an outdoor HVAC unit can force the system to work harder than it should, upping your energy bill and chances of needing maintenance sooner rather than later. It can also be difficult for technicians to perform proper maintenance during an HVAC service call if the unit is hard to reach.
Ideally, your outdoor air conditioning unit will work much more effectively if given enough space to bring in fresh air and release heat from the house. There should also be plenty of clearance space to encourage more airflow. If you’re replacing an old HVAC system, you should still consider whether the previous unit location is the most ideal area, or if the unit should be moved.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind as you decide the best location for your AC outdoor unit.
1. Choose a Shady Spot
One of the best ways you can save money on your energy during the hottest months of the year is by placing your HVAC unit in a shady spot outside your house. With the unit out of direct sunlight, it can stay cooler and perform better because it doesn’t have to work as hard or run as long to lower the air temperature.
You’ll want to find a spot that’s shady during the hottest part of the day. For most locations and climates, this means the middle of the afternoon. Consider placing your outdoor HVAC unit on the side of your home that will see the least amount of sun overall, either on the north or east side.
You can also look for areas with bushes or trees that can provide shade, or plant some nearby to create more shade—preferably trees and bushes that don’t drop debris.
2. Stay Away from Vegetation
While you do want trees and bushes nearby to create shade, you also don’t want to place your outdoor AC unit too close to this vegetation. Leaves, pollen, twigs, and other debris can drop from nearby vegetation and enter the unit, potentially creating a clog, affecting fan rotation, or restricting airflow.
Keeping your HVAC unit free of debris from nearby vegetation or grass clippings will allow it to last longer and work more efficiently. It will also keep your AC’s filter a lot cleaner, lengthening the amount of time between filter replacements.
3. Stay Away from Outdoor Entertaining Spaces
As you choose places outside where your AC unit should be placed, you’ll want to consider what outdoor spaces your family uses and whether the unit will be close to these areas. Although AC manufacturers are working to reduce the noise of HVAC systems, these units can be both noisy and distracting, especially in entertainment spaces. The last thing you want is for your HVAC unit to get in the way of you or your family having fun or relaxing outdoor areas.
Instead, find a location where the unit’s humming won’t become such a bother. Keeping the unit in an area that’s not highly visible and away from outdoor activities can increase your home’s curb appeal, decrease the risk of someone getting injured, and allow you to enjoy your backyard or patio to its full capacity.
4. Keep Pets in Mind
You should also consider what pets you have when finding the best location for your AC outdoor unit. If you or your neighbors have an overly curious dog, they may be prone to marking their territory right on your brand-new AC unit. Even worse, the dog could chew off essential parts, like the refrigerant line insulation or electrical wires.
To keep both pets and your AC unit safe, consider putting a barrier around the unit that prevents pets, like dogs, from getting too close. This could be a small fence or a few well-kept shrubs.
It is also important to consider where the indoor components of your HVAC unit will work best. Let’s take a look at a few tips for placing the indoor unit.
3 Tips for Placing Your Indoor HVAC Unit
Your HVAC system’s indoor unit contains the evaporator coils and blower. This part of the AC system brings air in from outside, gets rid of the moisture, and distributes cool air into the house. As you look for an ideal location indoors, you’ll want to consider both temperature conditions and safety.
1. Keep It Central
If possible, keep your indoor HVAC unit as close to the center of your home as you can. This will reduce the amount of ductwork you’ll need, saving you money on repairs and your energy bills. Other ideal locations for the indoor unit include pantries, utility closets, basements, or small closets in a middle hallway. These all provide safe spaces where the unit is away from harm and can run effectively.
2. Make It Easy to Access
You may think that hiding away your indoor HVAC unit in a crawlspace or attic will save you space and keep it from being visible. However, this puts the unit in a spot that may be hard to access in case filter changes, repairs, or other maintenance needs to be done.
Indoor HVAC units placed in small spaces like an attic may also make the system work harder than they should. Because heat rises, units may overheat and use more energy to stay cool. There is also the risk of units incurring damage from other sources, such as a water leak in the roof.
3. Keep Away from Heat Sources
Placing the indoor HVAC unit close to other heat sources, like appliances, lamps, or TVs that release heat, may cause the thermostat to detect a higher temperature and respond incorrectly. Hot air from heat sources may cause your AC to run more than it needs to in order to maintain your home’s indoor temperature and air quality. This could impact temperature control and efficiency in your home.
Instead, place the unit in a central, cooler area where it can properly detect the temperature of your home and only run when necessary.
Talk to a Professional
Not sure where the best location for your new AC unit should go? Our expert technicians at Cates Heating and Cooling are here to help and can assist you in finding the most ideal location in your home for your HVAC system. To schedule your HVAC installation, repair, or replacement, contact us today at 913-888-4470 for Kansas residents and 816-944-1844 for Missouri residents.