Saturday, April 18, 2015

Does your A/C unit have room to breath?

Lately I have come across several outside compressor units that have been set up in less than desirable locations or "altered" so to speak in an effort to hide them.  Some examples include; hidden by decks, wooden covers concealing the unit and even foliage growth. Unfortunately this is NOT good practice and could lead to costly problems.

The performance of the air conditioner depends upon efficient outdoor heat dispersal, which relies upon adequate air circulation into and out of the condenser. The blower draws in fresh air horizontally through fins on the sides of the cabinet, channels the air through the condenser coil  and exhausts the air, along with heat extracted from the house, vertically through the top of the unit.  Obstructions such as walls, fences, decks or vegetation may interfere with the free flow of air into the unit.  Dirt and debris stuck in the fins can also restrict proper airflow.  Decks or other overhanging structures above the unit may hinder the dispersal of exhausted air. These factors can hinder the air conditioner’s performance and efficiency and can even affect its overall life expectancy.

It is recommended that you maintain a minimum of 1 to 3 feet of open horizontal space around the unit to allow for optimum air intake. To avoid excessive heat buildup inside the condenser coil and ensure proper heat dispersal, it is recommended that you leave 4 to 6 feet of vertical clearance above the unit.  Dirty units should be cleaned, serviced and inspected by an HVAC technician.

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