Clearance for my A/C condenser

jonykleinJune 26, 2007

How much clearance do I need above my A/C condenser and how far can I place it from the house? I'd like to put it under my deck. Right next to the house, I have about 5' between the ground and the deck. The ground slopes down so that 25' from my house, I have 12' between the ground and the deck. What is the tradeoff between run length and clearance? Where should I put it?

It is a Bryant system, installed in 2002.

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daddo

In your case, I would give a minimum of 6 feet from the top of the outdoor unit to the bottom of the deck.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 3:39PM
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bob_brown

I disagree. You need 20-30 ft of clear height. You can try to reverse the condenser fan direction?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 8:42PM
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daddo

If the sides of the deck are vented, the 6' is fine.
Bob- you cannot be serious about reversing the motor? That will not work. The system is not designed for that, and it would be better to just block the air completely.
I have serviced a few systems where the HVAC man replaced a motor and had it running the wrong direction and the result was an extremely high head psi- one system lost a compressor.
Most brands state in their books that 5' is enough, others claim 7' is fine.
20'-30'? That means moving 80% of all units that sit under eaves.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 10:28PM
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bob_brown

Nope, the free air is infinite under the eaves. I have tried to service units under a roof that was 10-15 ft. The units failed in hot climate. I thought at one time, that reversing the motor was stupid. I have seen several units that had the plug stuck thru the shroud this spring, and were reversed. I left them alone for now. They seem to work ok. I will soon replace the evap coil and furnace on one such unit that I am monitoring closly. It seems to cool adequately. I checked it again today during the middle of the day, while I did work on the premisis. Kinda dumb, but I am curious. It appears to have original fan blade?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 12:35AM
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ckmb5150

wouldnt reversing the motor be kinda like trying to turn the fan into a backwards inclined propeller? lol ive never heard of one of those so i dont think that would work.

If i remember right carrier/bryant specifies 8' but i agree with daddo and think 6' is ok. trying to visualize your unit being 6' under a deck and ALSO a reasonable distance away from the house with clearance on the sides. if thats the case i bet youll be ok.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 3:44AM
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daddo

The outdoor fan blade is curved to "scoop" if you will, the air in the upward direction. Just reversing the motor would be like installing the blade upside down. This would not work for this reason and for the reason that the condensing unit is designed for the air to draw across the coil and not be pushed against it. This won't happen on MY system.:)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 8:17AM
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davidandkasie

i am not a HVAC tech, but here at work 3 of our units are under an overhang, actually they are walled in on 3 sides plus above. the size of the place is roughly 15ft long by 6 ft deep by 10 ft high ceiling. these 3 units works fine and have not had a problem for the 10-11 years they have been like that. originally they were just sitting on a slab, but a remodel 10-11 years ago we added 2 rooms and an over hang to teh back of the building, thus creating a cubby hole for the units.

you should be fine as long as you have good clearance all around it. do NOT enclose the bottom of the deck.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 12:09PM
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don21

My Goodman installation manual says "Where possible, the top of the unit should be completely unobstructed; however, if vertical conditions require placement beneath an obstruction, there should be a minimum of 60 inches (5 feet) between the top of the condenser and the obstruction. Corner installations are strongly discouraged." - Let alone installations walled in on 3 sides

Don

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 1:35PM
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kaytr

In my humble opinion I wouldn't put it under a deck, noise and hot air (120 degrees+) blasting up under your chairs.Also air discharge could go back into your unit thru sides and cause compressor failures. You can put any unit a maximum of 50 feet from the house so long as line sets sized properly and recommended relays and solinoids installed etc per American Refrigeration Institute's long line recommendations or manufacturers installation instructions which typically address same.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 9:21PM
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mr_havac

You can go farther then 50 feet as long as the lines are sized correctly.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 9:54PM
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pjb999

Apart from the potential shortening of the life of the unit, info on which the experts have already covered, I think as said the noise and unpleasant blast of warm air would be enough to put you off it, not to mention there might be ill effects from melting ice dripping into it, assuming the deck is not topped with a solid material (which would make air flow even worse) since there'd be a lot more icy water going into it over a longer period through winter and spring...

Cap that off with greatly increased running costs through loss of efficiency. Why does auto a/c run less well when you're sitting at a traffic light? Loss of airflow, basically, very similar to your situation.

I could potentially be in the same, as I plan to add a/c and a deck, but I also plan to place the two on opposite sides of the house.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 7:10AM
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