How To Look At A House
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How much clearance is necessary around a heat pump?
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
The standard recommendation for clearances around a heat pump condenser (outdoor unit) are: minimum one foot at sides, except two feet away from any solid wall, and five feet open above. But these are the minimums, and more is always better. A condenser must suck lots of air in through the sides of the unit and exhust it out the top to efficiently absorb or release heat from its coils. Anything that obstructs air flow also decreases performance, and that means a higher electric bill.
Fencing used to conceal a condenser should hold to the same two foot minimum as a solid wall. Also, if you plant foliage around the condenser, be sure to trim it way further than the one foot standard because it grows back quickly, especially in Florida.
While all of these dimensions are simply recommendations, there is one clearance spec that is required by code. The National Electrical Code [NEC 110.26(A)] specifies a clear area for the service side of the unit that is 30” wide and 36” deep, so a service person can safely access the electrical components. This only applies to the service side(s) of the condenser.
And it’s sometimes overlooked that the side clearance applies to two condensers that are side-by-side too.
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To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:
• How can I find out the SEER of my air conditioner?
• My air conditioner won't turn on. What's wrong?
• How can I find out the size of my air conditioner?
• How can I tell whether the condenser (outdoor unit) is an air conditioner or heat pump?
• Where is the air filter for my central air conditioner and furnace? I can’t find it?
• Does an old air conditioner use more electricity as it ages?
• How did homes stay cool in Florida before air conditioning?
• What is wrong with an air conditioner when the air flow out of the vents is low?
• Why has the thermostat screen gone blank?
• Why does it take so long to cool a house when an air conditioner has been off for a while?
• Why is my air conditioner not cooling enough?
• What are the most common problems with wall/window air conditioners?
• Will closing doors reduce my heating and cooling costs?
Visit our HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.
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