If you’re getting a new AC system installed, congratulations! We hope it will serve you well and bring you years of cool indoor comfort.

One important consideration is where to position your outdoor AC unit. Location does matter, and your installer should know this. Regardless, we think you will benefit from having a better understanding of why your outdoor equipment is installed where it is. Here are important considerations for positioning outdoor AC units here in the Phoenix region and beyond.

Consider Clearances

Your HVAC system will perform better if your outdoor equipment is kept away from anything that might interfere with its operation. Clearances matter for a number of reasons. First of all, you don’t want to block the air flow through your unit, because this significantly degrades its performance and shortens the lifespan of your equipment. It also leads to bigger utility bills because your system has to work harder to keep everyone inside cool and comfortable.

Another reason that clearance matters is that an HVAC technician will need to easily access the equipment when it needs service. If it’s too close to a wall, fence, or shrub, it can become difficult or even impossible to access critical components in the air conditioning unit for maintenance and repair.

Here’s another point to consider: you don’t want to accidentally damage your AC equipment when doing yard work. Place your outdoor unit where it won’t get battered by a lawn mower or weed wacker.

Rooftop Or On The Ground?

Either location can work, but you need to keep several things in mind. Whether your unit is on your roof or on the ground, it needs to stay dry, so it’s important to place it somewhere that won’t pool water when it rains.

During intense thunderstorms, your on-the-ground unit is likely to avoid a lightning strike; your rooftop unit may not be so fortunate. What’s more, you can take measures to shelter your on-the-ground AC unit against damaging hail, but it’s much harder to protect your rooftop unit from such inclement weather.

One more thing: A malfunctioning AC unit may leak water. Whether it’s improperly installed or it’s not working right and needs servicing, any rooftop HVAC equipment that’s leaking can damage your roof. The weight of the equipment can also undermine your roof’s integrity, especially if your roof is older. For these and other reasons, many HVAC contractors and customers choose ground-level equipment, but when installed correctly and serviced regularly, a rooftop unit is an acceptable option.


We’ve already covered this point to a degree, so let’s go over additional accessibility considerations. Both the access panels and the coils need to be kept clear in the event that an HVAC technician needs to service your unit. It’s a good idea to keep the area around the unit clear by about 30 inches all the way around (that’s close to three feet). Don’t plant trees, shrubs, or other greenery too close to your air conditioner, because you don’t want to have to later be forced to remove these beautiful landscape features so an HVAC specialist can get to the panels and coils to diagnose and repair your equipment, or to remove and replace broken parts.

What’s more, if you or your air conditioning maintenance and repair technician has to climb or jump fences, crawl through narrow openings, or squeeze into tight spots, it’s a huge liability. You don’t want to put yourself or someone else through this! To avoid risk of injury, keep your unit accessible.

A Few More Thoughts

Here are several other factors to consider when you or your HVAC specialist is thinking about the placement of your outdoor AC unit:

  • Fireplace Vent: Maintain a safe distance between AC equipment and your gas fireplace vent outlet.
  • Foliage Debris: Try placing the equipment where twigs, leaves, branches, or any type of landscaping debris won’t fall into the unit.
  • Noise: Your unit may be somewhat noisy when it’s running, even if it’s a quieter model, so keep it away from your patio sitting areas.
  • Odors: You don’t want your outdoor AC unit to be circulating foul-smelling air through your home, so don’t install it in potentially smelly areas.
  • Drainage: Proper drainage is vital for the operation of your unit, and for preserving the integrity of the material that’s underneath and around the equipment.

Reach Out To Integrity Today

Integrity Air Conditioning And Heating has been serving residential and commercial residents throughout the greater Phoenix region since 1991. We believe in delivering exemplary AC services with high standards, and treating each of our customers with the utmost professionalism. Our experience enables us to make recommendations that work best for you, saving you money on your electric bills and keeping everyone comfortable indoors. For any type of air conditioning installation, maintenance, or repair service, get in touch with us today!

Keep these important points in mind before your AC installation:

Contact Integrity at 602-456-6407 for AC service!