Can You Put An AC Condenser Under A Deck?

Yes you can install a heat pump or an AC unit under a deck if your local code enforcement allows it to be installed there. But it’s important to consider the air flow in and out of the unit. Top discharge heat pumps or air conditioners are the most common and have to have at least three to four feet of clearance from any obstructions above the unit.

Notice the Goodman AC that it’s a top discharge while the other unit discharges out the front.

The alternative is a less common side discharge AC unit. The outdoor unit in the above picture, labeled Goodman is a top discharge, meaning it draws air from the sides and blows it out the top. The outdoor unit next to it has a side or front discharge blowing air from the back and out the front.

If the air flow of a top discharge unit is obstructed by a deck or overhang then the discharge air is not dispersed enough to allow the unit to get rid of the heat in summer. It’s also a very big problem for heat pumps in the winter if air flow is obstructed.

Side discharge units are perfect for installing under a deck or overhang. Also more options are available for protecting the unit from weather with most any type of roof over the top.

Obviously the deck has to be tall enough or high enough off the ground to allow access to the unit for servicing and other requirements determined by the manufacturer.

Every manufacturer publishes their own personalized installation instructions and these instructions all vary slightly as to how far above their units you can have roofs, eves, or any kind of obstruction. You want to pay particular attention to clearances as they can effect your warranties and the operation of your unit.

Side Discharge Vs Top Discharge Air Conditioner Or Heat Pump

Everything eventually boils down to application. Picking the right unit for what you want to accomplish. Sometimes we have to think outside of the box and do something less common like using a side discharge ac unit.

I’m sure you’ve heard of ductless mini splits. These mini splits are virtually all side discharge in construction. They are everywhere these days. But not everybody wants one for one reason or another. My wife thinks the indoor heads are ugly. I can’t believe she let me put one in our apartment.

Who Makes A Side Discharge Air Conditioner?

There are several brands out there. I’ve never been too brand conscience. My best suggestion is to find a good contractor. Work with them to find a brand they are comfortable working with. Everyone has a different approach when buying new products.

I always like to get a couple of bids, but no more than three, for my projects that I don’t want to tackle myself. More bids ultimately runs into more confusion.

Chad Peterson

Chad Peterson is a veteran of the HVAC industry since 1977. "I like to explain heating and air conditioning problems in a way the average home owner can understand. "

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