Installation Clearances for HVAC

There are a billion ways to ball up an installation or replacement of HVAC equiptment…give or take a million.

Fortunately, one of the most common mistakes is also easily avoidable; setting the unit.

From access concerns to performance issues, there’s more to locating HVAC equipment than keeping the arrow on the ‘This End Up’ sticker pointing skyward.

There are three primary placement concerns, and they’re as easily to remember as SOS.

Safety-

Placement and clearances must comply with all local and national codes.

Examples:

  • Minimum clearance in front of electrical access panels.
  • Proper distance from flue gas outlets and sewer vent stacks to fresh air inlets.
  • Proper distance from Electrical services and LP or Oil Tanks.

Operation-

Follow the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure proper operation. What’s the worse that could happen if you don’t?

Examples:

  • Loss of capacity
  • Nuisance lockouts
  • Component failures

 

Serviceability-

This is another “follow the manufacturer’s specification” one. Example: The instructions list 6 feet for left side clearance….you install it a foot and a half from a wall…the wall causes flue gas to recirculate into the burner section and condenser coils causing:

  • The coil fins deteriorate and the heat exchanger corrodes requiring replacement.
  • The coil and heat exchanger are five feet long; there’s no room to remove them.
  • The manufacturer refuses warranty due to incorrect installation.

Next time you’re placing a piece of equipment, cover your backside and remember SOS.

 

 

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Patrick is Zen HVAC’s diagnostic and training guy. Patrick started in the trade the day he left technical school and never looked back. He's served in various technical and training roles in the HVAC industry but specializes in system troubleshooting and diagnostics, retro commissioning, and technical training. His moto: If I can understand it, anybody can. Patrick uses the Zen common sense approach to teach Patrick’s Likes- His Wife, kids and dog. Old pickup trucks. Hiking. The industrial Revolution. Patrick’s Dislikes- Taking work too seriously. Anything unintuitive. Emoticons :( Patrick’s Favorite famous person- Theodore Roosevelt “I am only an average man, But I work harder at it than the average man" Famous Patrick Quote- “Well, that was stupid of me”

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