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How To Choose the Best Spot for Your Outdoor AC Unit

AC Installation

If you’re in the position of having to install a new air conditioning unit on your property, then you are in luck. Our blog will cover one of the most important aspects of a quality AC installation; its location. As everyone is aware, air conditioning comes with a hefty price that is often considered an investment in the home. As such, the installation must be carried out with great consideration to each step of the process, which includes the following:  

  1. Assessment and planning of the installation
  2. Gathering materials, tools, and needed equipment
  3. Preparing the indoor area
  4. Installing the indoor unit 
  5. Preparing the outdoor area
  6. Installing the outdoor unit
  7. System testing and commissioning

This blog will highlight step #5 of the air conditioning installation process, which involves selecting and preparing the outdoor area for the outdoor AC unit. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing the AC Installation Location

The outdoor unit of the AC plays a big role in the entire system. In fact, without it, AC function would be impossible because it facilitates heat exchange, refrigerant circulation, condensation, and airflow. It also houses key electrical components, such as the fan motor, capacitors, contactors, and control board. Lastly, its outdoor location helps reduce the noise of the unit’s operation. Because all of these things are important, the unit’s location must be carefully considered.  These factores should go into that consideration:

Clearance and Accessibility

The unit must have enough clearance on all sides to promote proper airflow. Each manufacturer will specify the clearance requirements for optimal airflow. Additionally,the unit must be easily accessible for air conditioning maintenance and repair services. 

Shade and Sun Exposure

If possible, the unit should be installed in a shady area that is away from direct sun exposure. Direct sunlight will slow down the efficiency of the unit and cause it to go into overload. However, the unit shouldn’t be directly under trees that frequently shed leaves, as they can fall inside the unit. 

Noise Considerations

Outdoor AC units can be very noisy. Therefore, you want to select the AC installation location to be away from main living spaces, bedrooms, and windows. Place it in an area where it is least likely to cause a disturbance, like near the garage. 

Proper Ventilation

It is important that the AC has the chance to properly ventilate at all times. Therefore, there must be enough space around the unit to promote ventilation. Good ventilation promotes better efficiency rates, allowing you to be more comfortable without over consuming energy. 

Distance from Obstructions

Sometimes units are inadvertently placed in areas where their airflow is obstructed by plants, walls, doors, or even patio furniture. The unit should be placed within the requirements dictated by the manufacturer’s guidelines and local building codes.  

Level Ground 

Choose a level and stable ground for the installation. This will help prevent vibrations and ensure the unit operates smoothly. If the ground is not level, you may need to use a concrete pad or other appropriate materials to create a stable foundation.


Because the AC develops quite a bit of condensation, it must have the ability to drain properly. When choosing the outdoor location for your AC installation, pick a spot where the unit can drain properly without causing corrosion or damage. Proper and efficient AC function depends on adequate drainage, which helps keep effective airflow. 

Local Regulations

Each state and county will have a specific set of regulations that you must follow to ensure a safe and legal installation. For this reason, it is best to have a pro installation tech on hand who will help you navigate the often confusing regulations. While you can try and guess yourself, a pro can help speed up the process and give you peace of mind knowing that everything carried out was done so with competence. 

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