Can AC outdoor unit be installed on the roof?

Air conditioner makes our lives convenient and comfortable. It’s the way to experience quality life in this modern world. Most home AC units have an outdoor and indoor unit. Setting these up correctly during installation can potentially avoid the risk of any problems that could arise. So, Can AC outdoor unit be installed on the roof? 

Yes, the outdoor unit of the aircon can be installed on the roof but not recommended. Having the outdoor unit far from the indoor unit of your aircon will require larger piping size to connect them together. It’s also more technical to set up as it will require double return suction to ensure the oil return flows effectively at the condensing unit. Otherwise, it could result in premature failure of the compressor.

Why shouldn't you install the outdoor unit of the air conditioner on the roof?

Having a roof top outdoor AC unit is feasible however, it requires strict supervision of a knowledgeable and experienced aircond engineer to get it done correctly. 

The outdoor unit of the aircond also should maintain a respectable gap between objects. It should not be facing any obstructions of any kind to avoid dust particles from forming in the heat exchange coils. 

Placing the outdoor unit on the roof also hampers its efficiency. The outdoor unit is meant to dissipate heat out. 

When it is placed on the roof, it could potentially get more hot air from the surface of the roof.

This could reduce its cooling efficiency that results in higher energy bills and reducing the lifespan of the compressor. 

Putting the AC outdoor unit on the roof also makes it difficult to reach. Working at an altitude poses a risk of falling.

It’s also less accessible without the right tools and equipment. 

The outdoor unit should be close to the indoor unit not only for the efficiency of their operations but also maintenance work by the aircond technicians.

Hope this points out the answer to the question of “can AC outdoor unit be installed on the roof?”.

Should the outdoor AC unit be in the shade?


The outdoor unit of the AC is constantly subject to punishment of the weather and elements. The sun is one of the main things that heats it up. 

This makes us wonder if exchange efficiency will be affected. So, will the outdoor AC unit actually work better if it is in the shade? 

No, it is not necessary for an outdoor AC unit to be in the shade. According to a research paper that investigates the effectiveness of shading condensers in air conditioning systems, the increase in efficiency from shading is not exceeding 1%. 

It won’t be worth the investment to install awning just to provide some cover for your outdoor AC unit against the blazing hot sun. It’s more economical to leave it as it is.

Although the outdoor AC unit may be eye sore and look ugly to the landscape around your home, it is better left that way. 

For some units that are placed on the ground, most homeowners may think it’s a great idea to grow some plants around it. 


Having plantings around the condenser units will actually disrupt the air flow. It needs to take in a smooth flow of air into the system for your air conditioner to be working at peak performance.

The air conditioner constantly needs circulation. It needs to breathe.

Not only growing plants around the outdoor AC unit restricts air flow, the plants around it can attract critters and insects. 

You won’t want them to make their way into the HVAC system and greet you in the house. In the worst case, they could be trapped inside and decay, releasing an unpleasant odor.

What to do instead?

There’s nothing much that needs to be done for your outside AC unit. It is strong and sturdy and works fine the way it’s manufactured even under harsh weather. 

What we can do instead to help with the cooling of our home interior is to actually create microclimate that surrounds our home. 

This involves landscaping with the objective of improving energy efficiency. You can grow trees to provide more shade for your house. It’s best to have one that shadows the window as well.

Direct sunlight through the window will inevitably increase the room temperature drastically. Your air conditioner will actually have to work harder to counter this increase in temperature. 

Having a shade that blocks the ray of sunlight into your house works well to help with the interior cooling. However, these branches should not be growing anywhere near your outdoor condenser unit as well. 

Bamboo plants may be best for this. It grows straight up and does not branch out. It’s also a great feng shui plant for the house. It’s truly a great privacy plant that one can grow in their yard.

Where should an outside AC unit be installed


The outdoor AC unit needs to be installed accurately so that your air conditioner gets optimum cooling. The idea is to get the best possible value out of your investment. Selecting and buying the right aircon is the first step. 

The next is to have it installed in the most perfect manner possible to prevent frequent maintenance problems. Here’s a few points to consider on where should an outside AC unit be installed:

Away from the windows

The outdoor condenser unit of the AC has a moving fan that could cause the unit to vibrate. It’s almost inevitable that they will make some noise when operating. 

Placing it away from the window will prevent the noise from affecting you. 

It’s fair to say that the noise won’t be that unbearable. It’s like a white noise. However, it’s best to place it right to mitigate the risk of any noise for a better quality of life. 

Away from trees and shrubs 


The outdoor AC unit needs a ventilation period. There should not be anything near within the 2 to 3 feet range. That means no plants, no potted greens or anything near it. 

Constant maintenance may be needed to keep the areas around your outdoor condenser unit clean and clear. This is particularly necessary if you have growing trees or grass in your yard.

How do I protect my outdoor AC unit

It is not necessary at all to protect your outdoor AC unit. It works fine under the harsh hot weather. Rain doesn’t affect its operation. 

You will still get the right degree of cooling out of it. The main thing is that an AC has to be installed correctly 

Getting qualified aircond technicians to do the job is crucial. The wiring needs to be well aligned and possibly hidden.  

Even though the sun rays may not affect the cooling of your aircon, the UV light itself could break up plastic and paint of the components in the outdoor unit itself.  

These wiring and piping needs to be well covered and insulated to reduce the rate of wear and tear.  

The only protection that your outdoor AC unit needs is mostly from theft or impact. There’s cage designed to keep your aircon safe and secure.

We hope this post has been informative on whether can AC outdoor unit be installed on the roof.  

Sol Aircond Service is a local trusted company providing aircon service in Cyberjaya, Puchong and other cities within Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. We provide full range of air conditioner system from install to maintenance for both residential and commercial premises. Get in touch today and we’ll help you to be cool!


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