Ductwork installation is often the most challenging part of any central air conditioning retrofit project, but condenser placement is equally crucial. If your home has limited outdoor space or cluttered areas close to your home, then finding the right position may not always be straightforward. As your HVAC installer guides you through this process, keep these four essential factors in mind.
1. Proper Airflow
Although the compressor may be the priciest item in your outdoor unit, it's the condenser coils that steal the show. The condenser coils provide the surface area necessary for refrigerant to dump their heat into the environment, ultimately facilitating the transfer of heat from your home to the outside world. If your refrigerant cannot release its heat, then your AC system will not function.
Condenser units feature large fans to help keep air moving around the coils, but they still rely on access to fresh flowing air. For this reason, your condenser must always have at least a few feet of free space around it. Avoid placing condenser units in areas where one or more sides are close to walls or other obstructions.
2. A Stable Base
Your condenser may weigh up to a quarter of a ton or more. Because of this, a condenser that topples over will not only lead to an expensive replacement but potential property damage or injury. For this reason, you must place your outdoor unit on a stable, level base. If your home has heavily sloped or uneven terrain, then you may need to perform grading work to create a proper surface.
Remember that you need proper airflow because your refrigerant relies on the condenser to release heat. If you locate your condenser unit in direct sunlight, then the coils may heat up and work less efficiently. In most cases, placing your condenser close to your home should provide sufficient shade, but this is a crucial factor to remember if your unit will be farther from your home.
Both your refrigerant line set and your electrical connections must go from inside your home to your condenser unit. Therefore, it's often the cheapest and most efficient option to place your condenser relatively close to your air handler/evaporator unit. The closer the condenser is to your interior hardware, the less work your installer must perform to connect them.
Choosing the right location for a condenser unit doesn't need to be difficult, but that doesn't mean that it does not require care. It is an important part of air conditioning installation. Selecting a good site can help to reduce your long-term maintenance costs, prevent damage, and increase the efficiency of your air conditioning system.