How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
How close to the property line can I put an air conditioner?
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
There are no building code specs for minimum distance of an air conditioning condenser (outside unit) from a property line. But, because the noise generated by a condenser can be annoying to someone in an adjacent property, some communities have local ordinances that address the problem. For example, the City of Los Altos, California, requires that an air conditioner be a minimum of five feet from the property line for units creating less than 64 decidels of mechanical noise, and gradually ramps that distance up to 22 feet for 74-decibels.
Coral Gables, Florida, takes a slightly different approach. They allow no more than 55 decibels as measured at the lot line, and the condenser must be however far away is necessary to meet that standard. Because condenser units tend to become noisier as they age, it’s possible for one to age into non-compliance after a decade or so.
Other municipal jurisdictions around the country have similar ordinances. And it is typical for many of them to require that the condenser be located so it is not visible from the street. Also see our articles How much clearance is needed around an air conditioner? and What is the best location for an air conditioner?
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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at amazon.com for $19.95.
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To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:
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