Best Location for AC outdoor unit Balcony or Roof

During aircon installation we focus more on where to install the indoor unit in the room but we never focus on asking where to install the outdoor unit.

Is it better to install the outdoor unit in the balcony or on the roof?

Here we will try to answer questions like these.

Where to place the outdoor unit?

Once can install the outdoor unit either in the balcony, or on the roof, or on the sides of a building. All options are equally good provided there is no airflow restriction, ample space is provided, and the unit is accessible for maintenance.

Then how to choose the location. 

There are few important things which you have to ensure before choosing the right location.

Key points to consider for choosing the location

1. Availability of space

There should be ample space to place the outdoor unit. It should be placed in a clean, dry and open space.

It cannot be placed in an enclosed space like a garage. It must be placed in an open environment for proper working.

If there are too many outdoor units placed in a spot and you want to place your outdoor unit with them. You will have to ensure that some distance is maintained from other ODUs.

too many split ac outdoor units placed in a single place

It’s better to find a new location for your ODU rather than keeping it in a tiny space where other ODUs are kept.

2. No Airflow Restriction

There should be proper airflow where you want to keep the ODU.

Generally 2 feet distance should be maintained from all sides for ensuring proper airflow with a AC outdoor unit.

When wall mounting a split AC ODU, there should be some space left from the wall and the ceiling to ensure proper airflow. It should not be touching the wall or the ceiling.

When putting it near other ODUs, placing it just in front of any other ODU’s fan side should be prevented, rather keep it away from the ODU’s fan side.

Or else one outdoor unit will suck hot air from another outdoor unit.

This will hinder the AC’s proper cooling.

3. Distance between the indoor and outdoor unit

There is an upper limit of length for copper wiring between the indoor and the outdoor unit.

This varies with manufacturers and countries of application. You can ask the company for the max length.

The cooling efficiency lowers with the length of copper piping between indoor and outdoor units.

With long piping, there is more load on the compressor and friction within the compressor.

So lower the length of copper piping, the better.

4. Unit’s accessibility for maintenance

outdoor unit high on wall
Image Credit: The Verge

Your aircon needs periodic cleaning and servicing.

To perform servicing of your AC, the outdoor unit needs to be accessible to the technician.

If it is placed in an unwanted location like too high on a wall or in a congested place then checking and servicing the AC will become troublesome.

So an outdoor unit must be placed in a spot where it is easily accessible.

Placing on the roof

outdoor unit on the roof

Most popular spot for placing the outdoor unit is on the roof. 

Here the outdoor unit is simply put on the base of the roof. 

Once can use a metal stand or rubber pads beneath the outdoor AC unit for providing stability. Rubber pads are better for reducing the vibration and sound coming from the compressor.

One disadvantage of putting the outdoor unit in the balcony is it gets exposed to direct sunlight.

This is not a big issue, AC is designed to withstand all weather conditions.

But this decreases the cooling efficiency and thus increases the power consumption by marginal value.

Placing in the Balcony

Another common spot for installing the outdoor unit.

One requires a mounting bracket for mounting the unit on the wall. Some space from the ceiling must be left for proper airflow.

Advantage of placing the ODU in the balcony is it does not get direct sunlight and so less load is put on the AC.

Best option when you want to use AC in a room that is close to a balcony.

However if your room is far from the balcony then you may require to drill several walls before placing the copper piping.

Suppose you live on the 1st floor of a 4 storey building, then it would be a better option to choose the balcony instead of the roof for installing the outdoor unit if possible.

Outdoor unit in the balcony is a sweet spot for birds. Make sure to use a bird spike.

Placing on a side of Building

When there is no shaft in the building and balcony too cannot be used for installing the split AC.

Then an outdoor unit is placed on the sides of a building.

This way the piping length remains favourable rather than extending too long.

One key point to ensure here is that the outdoor unit should not be placed too high or it will become inaccessible for servicing.

If it is placed lower on the wall it can be accessed with a ladder.

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