When your HVAC technician arrives to install your air conditioning system, one of the first things they're going to ask you is where you'd like to place the outdoor AC unit. It's important to put some thought into this ahead of time so you don't accidentally choose an unsuitable location because you're forced to make the choice on the fly. Keep these dos and don'ts in mind as you settle on the best location.
Do: Place it far away from shrubs and bushes.
While you may be tempted to hide the AC unit, you don't want to place it directly behind or next to shrubs or bushes. The branches from these plants may get caught in the fan. Plus, they tend to block airflow to the AC condenser, which may decrease its efficiency or even cause it to ice over.
Don't: Place it right next to an area where you spend a lot of time in the summer.
Today's AC condensers are a lot quieter than those made several decades ago, but they do still make noise. For this reason, it's best not to place them right on or next to a patio or porch where you'll want peace and quiet come summer. Putting them to the side of the home is more common than putting them behind the home.
Do: Ask your neighbor's permission if the AC unit will be right up against their property.
If you're leaning towards putting your AC unit against the side of your home and close to your property line, it's common courtesy to check that this is okay with your neighbor first. While they can't legally tell you not to put it there (assuming you're placing it on your property), you will gain their respect by at least asking or informing them of your intentions.
Don't: Put the AC unit right by your furnace's vent pipe.
If your furnace vents through a PVC pipe, as most modern furnaces do, try not to place the AC unit right next to this pipe. In the winter, this pipe blows warm, humid air when your furnace runs. You don't want that moisture accumulating on and then freezing on your AC condenser.
When you think you've settled on the best location for your AC unit, run it by your HVAC contractor. They'll tell you if it's a good choice or give you a head's up if they have some concerns.