Where Should The AC Condenser Be Placed?

Where Should The AC Condenser Be Placed?
Air conditioners make life easy and comfortable. They also improve air quality and work efficiency, protect furniture, prevent appliances from overheating and much more. The AC condenser plays a vital role in the air conditioning system. The condenser either collects or releases heat, depending on the temperature. Without it, heat cannot leave the room. The AC condenser’s placement boosts its overall performance. This article will discuss the best location for AC outdoor units. We’ll also discuss factors to consider when picking the location for your AC condenser, areas to avoid installing it and tips for blending the unit with your landscaping.

Does It Matter Where You Put Your AC Condenser?

The simple answer is “Yes.” The position of your AC condenser helps the system perform better. Knowing how the condenser works will help you understand this better. The AC condenser's job is to condense air. It receives high-pressure gas from the compressor and converts it into liquid. Air conditioning systems use the indoor-outdoor approach. The condenser requires a sufficient supply of air to cool the refrigerant. Again, the condenser needs enough airflow to function. Giving the condenser space to breathe prevents it from overheating. Apart from the operational aspect, the location of the air conditioner condenser increases its life span. The unit deteriorates faster when you place the condenser indoors or expose it to harsh weather conditions such as excessive heat. It’s like sending the condenser to war without a shield. Additionally, a good location for the condenser makes it accessible. This is important for many reasons. For example, it becomes easier to maintain when the condenser is easily reachable. You don’t have to jump hurdles to clean the unit. You can conduct regular preventative maintenance. Replacing the condenser becomes simple, too. Positioning your AC condenser correctly also makes it more energy efficient because it uses less energy to convert air. Place your condenser outside the home or business space, not in the basement, attic or garage.

Choosing Your AC Condenser Location

As we’ve learned, the home AC condenser’s location is essential. A good location assists the unit in functioning at its peak efficiency, saves energy, lasts longer and makes it easy to maintain and repair. This applies to business and other spaces. Consider the following tips when choosing the best location for the air conditioner condenser:

1. Accessibility

Imagine placing the condenser several feet above the ground, between two tight walls where the average adult cannot quickly enter, let alone work. That sounds challenging, right? Choose a location that will make it simple for you or your technician to maintain the HVAC unit, especially the condenser. When the location is appropriate, you can regularly check on the condenser. Plus, it makes it safer to work on. The space should not only make the condenser accessible but also be sufficient to fit the tools and equipment necessary for servicing. Regular preventive maintenance and repairs make air conditioners more efficient. Healthy air conditioners also save energy. It’s natural for the condenser coil to gather dirt with time. The dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil. Maintaining the unit at least once a year helps it absorb heat.

2. Flooding

There has been an increase in flooding along the coasts of the United States in recent years. Reports indicate that the inland is susceptible to flooding, too. The change in weather conditions has invited the federal government to update its flood maps. A quality air conditioner condenser can withstand some amount of water. Little water scarcely affects the condenser’s performance. However, placing the air conditioner’s outside unit properly can keep it safer. When you protect the condenser against flood, you save it from:
  • Continuous exposure to moisture and oxygen, which facilitates corrosion.
  • Electrical component damage.
  • Debris carried by the flood as it travels.
With these in mind, place the condenser above the drainage system, where the water flow is unrestricted.

3. Noise

One primary purpose of the air conditioner is to make life comfortable. Position the condenser where it’ll cause the least amount of nuisance. High-performing and modern condensers produce little noise, but it also depends on the aircon type and model. Keep the condenser away from areas where you’ll likely be distracted. For example, fix the condenser at a location away from the windows or working space. If you prefer placing the condenser in such areas, consider using noise-proof materials to block excess sound and distancing the unit from your neighbors.

4. Vibration

The AC condenser uses a high-speed motor that causes it to vibrate. To be clear, we’re not talking about unusual vibrations, which indicate the condenser needs a replacement. Whatever the case, install the condenser on a firm surface that can withstand any vibration. This reduces displacement and excess noise. You can place the AC condenser on the natural ground and use an air conditioner pad. AC unit pads have many benefits, including:
  • Protecting the condenser against water drainage.
  • Ensuring stability.
  • Preventing debris from entering the unit.
  • Discouraging pests.
If you intend to raise the air conditioner off the ground, ensure it’s well secured on the wall to avoid unexpected falls or noise.

5. Sun and Shade

The earth needs the sun to survive — the planet needs the warmth that helps us to stay alive and healthy. That said, too much sun isn't good for your unit or wallet. Direct sun will not necessarily damage your AC condenser, but shading your AC condenser instead shields it from extreme heat and prevents overheating. The higher the temperature, the more energy it requires to work. Cooler areas let the condenser function more effectively.

6. Air Circulation

Install your HVAC condenser in a place with optimum airflow — consider enough air conditioner clearance. Obstructions block air circulation and stifle heat exchange. If the building has multiple condensers, ensure adequate space between them. When choosing a location for the condenser, check for obstacles such as trees and shrubs, fences and walls. If there are trees in the background, trim them regularly.

7. Wind

Moderate wind force is unlikely to bother the AC condenser unit. Install the unit in an area where extreme weather conditions will not be a concern, and have a plan for the rare but possible instance of severe wind. Place the unit strategically so strong winds do not carry debris and dirt into the condenser. When you install the condenser in a safe place, it also protects the fins.

8. Aesthetics

The core purpose of the air conditioning system is to regulate the temperature. Beyond that, the condenser could offer curb appeal to the property. You can merge the beautiful unit into the property’s overall architecture or position it conspicuously so it does not interfere with the overall architecture. In either case, don't neglect adequate airflow and stability.

9. Safety

While considering all the factors we’ve discussed, including airflow and aesthetics, make no compromise on safety. Install the HVAC condenser unit on a stable and firm surface to prevent falls, and keep the condenser out of the reach of children.

Where Should You Install Your AC Condenser?

The condenser is the outdoor system of the AC unit, so the first rule is to install it outside the home or building. This does not mean the unit should be exposed to harsh weather conditions and passersby, neighbors or children. The condenser's location has many implications. A good location makes the AC condenser more efficient, last longer and is easily accessible and aesthetically pleasing, among others. Install the condenser on a flat surface if there is adequate space. Ensure the floor or ground is level and free from dips and bumpy soil. There’re several reasons for this:
  1. An unleveled surface puts excess stress on the unit.
  2. The motor runs at high speed, so an unleveled floor may cause damage to the unit.
  3. The compressor oil moves smoothly through the unit when it's level.
  4. The refrigerant flows better when the condenser is level.
You may also install the unit above ground level on a bracket and fix it to the side of the property. Using brackets has added benefits as well, such as:
  • Helping make the unit level.
  • Enhancing water flow from the condenser and preventing water pooling.
  • Keeping animals away from the unit.
  • Reducing the length of conduits, cables and cords required for connection. This makes installation quicker, simpler, and less costly.
  • Raising the unit to the building’s level, which assists the compressor in pumping refrigerant directly into the building, reducing unnecessary stress.
  • Making the condenser easily accessible. Accessibility makes it painless to maintain, repair and replace.

Where Should You Not Install Your AC Condenser?

Place the condenser outside the home or business instead of on the interior, such as in the basement, attic, crawl space or garage. Choose a spacious, easily accessible area, and avoid narrow spots. The condenser requires enough air and airflow to work efficiently. Installing the condenser in a tight space makes airflow challenging. Moreover, placing the unit in a narrow area means the technician will need further maneuvering skills to parkour their way around the property to reach the unit when it's time for maintenance or replacement. The AC condenser’s location must also be away from your neighbors' property and must not block passageways or be within the reach of children or pets. Proper placement includes shielding the condenser from direct sunlight. If you want to install the condenser on your roof, create a shade that protects it from direct sunshine, rain and snowfall. Excessive sun rays make cooling more challenging and cause overheating. This reduces the overall performance and life span of your condenser. Covering the units against heavy rain also slows down corrosion and component damage. Finally, keep the condenser away from the windows or outdoor furniture to avoid noise interference.

How to Blend Your AC Unit Into Your Landscaping

You can blend the AC condenser unit into the property’s overall architecture and landscaping, or you could place it strategically to disguise or hide it. Apart from the primary purpose of regulating the temperature, the condenser could enhance curb appeal. Here are 10 ways to blend your outside AC unit into your landscaping:

1. Create a Wooden Cover

Wooden covers are one of the do-it-yourself options that require minimal materials and expertise to build. Wooden covers are unique ways to hide the condenser, and they blend with multiple architectural designs. The wooden structure is budget-friendly and easy to install and replace.

2. Build an AC House

AC houses are creative alternatives. Besides their attractiveness, they offer extra protection for the unit. AC houses shade your condenser against direct sunlight, rain and snow. You can use this stylish choice for several types of condensers.

3. Create an Aluminum Slat

Aluminum slats are formidable ways to protect your condenser. The slats secure the condenser against heavy materials. They last long and are easy to maintain. You can design the aluminum slats according to your preference. You can also match the design and color with your property.

4. Create a Shed

You can make way for your condenser if there’s an unused shed on the property. This lets you save money and space. All you need to do is renovate the shed and ensure it's spacious enough for the condenser — just remember to leave one wall open for airflow.

5. Use a Windbreak

Use windbreak made of pots and plants to hide the condenser on your property. Windbreaks also protect your property from harsh weather. Use big planters and place them around the unit. You can use pots to make the plants mobile. That way, visitors only see the beautiful green plants.

6. Make a Cement Wall

Cement walls are generally affordable and easy to build. The cement screens the air conditioner condenser against the wind. It's also a barrier if the AC is located at home and you have children around. However, make sure the cement wall is ventilated and spacious.

7. Grow Vines Around the Unit

Vines are stunning additions to landscaping. They offer a welcoming atmosphere for visitors. Build a wooden structure and grow trailing vines around them. As they grow, they hide the air conditioner condenser beautifully behind them. It’s that simple!

8. Use Screen or Lattice Cover

Trellis blends with most buildings. Choose a preference — wood or metal — and mask your outdoor air conditioner unit. You may also use a lattice screen for that purpose. Choose the design and color that matches the rest of your property.

9. Hide It Behind the Bushes

If you have a garden on your property, you may take advantage of that. Hide the HVAC unit behind the bushes. The tip works best when the plants are high enough to cover the condenser. Trim the plants regularly and clean the area. You can also build a wooden structure to block direct contact with the condenser. Select heat-resistant species and plant them several inches away from the unit.

10. Build a Storage Space

Building a storage space for your HVAC is an innovative way to secure extra space on your property. Build a well-ventilated storage space with wood, metal or blocks to host your condenser and other valuable. Make the storage space wide for accessibility.

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This question is from a neighbor’s point of view and concern about condensers: 1) neighbor with very close promximity to our house wants to install 3 condensers. Please tell us issues about noise, curb appeal or other factors that is of concern; 2) he has other location to put in his property but wants to put them close to our property line, which will affect us, as our home literally face theirs. 3) what’s our rights in this. Thank you.
Rebekah Quarles
Noise levels will depend on the specific unit your neighbor wants to install. I do not know how close your houses are to each other, so I am unsure of how acutely your neighbor installing these systems would affect you in this regard. You may want to consult a local legal expert to see if there is anything you can do here, and to see if your neighbor is breaking any local laws or regulations.
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