Heat Pump Installation Tips - How to Select The Best Location

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There are many things you need to consider when installing a heat pump for the first time. Knowing the best place to install is one of those. If a heat pump is in a recommended location, it will work efficiently, cost you less to operate and service, last longer, and disturb people less.

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This article will discuss how to select the best location to install a heat pump, especially the outdoor units since its location can significantly affect the performance. But we will also discuss where to install indoor units, for better air distribution and comfort of all household members.

Best location to install an outdoor unit of the heat pump

Air-to-air heat pump for home useAir-to-air heat pump for home use
photo: Frigidaire
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The surrounding almost always determines how well the heat pump will operate. An outdoor unit of the heat pump is significantly more vulnerable to the elements compared to indoor components. You need to look out for many factors that can affect your unit, but they're all manageable.

These may include the climate, local weather, the area where you live (e.g., seaside, busy city, quiet subdivision, etc.), and others. Other than where to position the heat pump, there are also some tips on how to install the heat pump. First, we'll determine where to place the outdoor unit. Consider these following factors when looking for the best places to install the heat pump:


Having abundant heat and fresh air exposure is very important for a heat pump to do its job of warming your home efficiently. Since you're using air source heat pumps (ASHP), they will need a lot of air to pull heat from. Install the unit in an open space where there's always fresh air.

Don't install outdoor units in closed areas like garages or attics. Your heat pump will run out of the air to draw heat from, freezing, or heating up that closed space and reduce the comfort level significantly. The unit will lose efficiency because of the restrictions in fresh air delivery. Also, any leak of the refrigerant would do damage to the property.

Additionally, provide some space between the unit, wall, and ground. Keep the unit at least 1 to 3 feet away from the wall. As for the distance from the ground, keep the heat pump around 4 to 8 inches off the ground. This is to prevent snow and other debris from reaching the unit's components.

The elevation also ensures proper drainage for the unit.

The outdoor unit is often position on the concrete, vibration-proof base or higher seating on the bracket.

Keep in mind that these are just general measurements, and clearance distance requirements can vary. Lastly, don't install too many units near each other because the air will not circulate properly.

Maintenance accessibility

The maintenance service should be able to access the heat pump properly. In line with the above, give the technician enough room to move when they check the heat pump. Don't install a unit in areas near vegetation or other large equipment in your yard.


Consider the environment surrounding the unit. One thing you can do is watch out for plants growing near it. Plants should be at least 18 inches away from all around the heat pump. But if you still want to keep plants, don't plant prickly ones like roses.

Be especially cautious, too, when mowing your lawn near your unit. Keep the lawnmower away from the unit when tending to your yard. In other words, keep plants as far away from the heating unit as possible to avoid airflow obstructions. Remove any plants that start growing near the heat pump.

You may also want to avoid installing the unit near dusty areas like roads and driveways.


Weather is also an important factor to take into consideration. Keep the heat pump out of direct sunlight. The heat pump's internal temperature may cause it to work harder to adequately cool or heat your home. During hot summers, the best location for the units is relatively shady parts on your property, while in winter, installing the unit where it won't be affected by snowdrifts should also be considered.

Sea exposure

However, there are also special cases. If you live near the coast, for example, a heat pump is more vulnerable to breaking down. The salt in ocean air makes it more susceptible to corrosion. That is why, for people who live near the sea, it is recommended to get a ground-source heat pump as an alternative.

But if you insist on an air-source heat pump, you can get it coated instead. The anti-corrosive coating is usually applied to HVAC coils upon installation. Depending on how severe the consequences are, the applied coating can last for one to five years. Regardless, the same rules still apply. Make sure that fences or walls don't block the heat pump.

The household members and people from your neighborhood should not be neglected. Don't install the heat pump near or under a bedroom window - to minimize disturbance. You can also use a fence to block out noises from the heat pump so as not to disturb neighbors.

These are some of the factors you need to consider when choosing the best place to install the heat pump.

 But generally, a heat pump should be installed in a dry and well-ventilated open space.

Where to install an indoor unit of the heat pump

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Knowing where to install an indoor unit of the heat pump is just as important as knowing where to install the outdoor elements, if not more. We said more important because the location of the indoor unit will determine how air or heat will be distributed. Like outdoor units, indoor units also need proper ventilation and no obstructions around them.

There are still elements in your home that could affect your heat pump's performance, like severe dust collection and pet fur. It is important to consider the layout of your home and the type of heat pump that will be installed.

It is straightforward when installing a heat pump in one room; you just make sure the heat is distributed freely along the length of the room, so the temperature is even, and the unit doesn't turn ON and OFF frequently.

If planning to use the heat pump for heating/cooling two or more rooms, make sure to position it directly across from a door or hallway, or position the louvers so they can direct the heat where it is needed.

Here are the top tips for choosing the best location of the heat pumps:

  • Select an open space that provides plenty of outdoor air
  • Place the unit on the floor (provide some clearance) or mounted on the brackets
  • Make it accessible for service, maintenance, and cleaning
  • Avoid vibration by installing the unit on the flat and rigid base
  • Avoid installation of the outdoor unit in the internal space
  • Don't cover the heat pump
  • Clean the gutters to prevent water overflow and leak onto the heat pump
  • Make sure there is a drainage
  • Avoid direct sunlight exposure
  • Position the unit where it won't disturb others

Installing tips

Indoor units of the heat pumps can be installed in different places in the house. They can be attached to the wall, ceiling, or floor. Keep in mind that where you install these units will depend on the house's layout. So, depending on your needs, you can pick the best location to install the heat pump from these options.

Wall-mounted – these are the most common type of heat pumps. Wall-mounted heat pumps are usually ductless mini-splits. They provide excellent coverage in moving air and can be efficient in doing so. They are also relatively easy to install because the wall doesn't get affected much.

However, you will need a good amount of wall space. These are also best installed in single-room settings. However, you can use this if the home's layout allows air to pass through an entire floor.

Ceiling-mounted – these are common and best used for hallways. They have great coverage as they release air in multiple directions. Ceiling-mounted heat pumps can cover more than one area as central heating. However, they have low airflow rating. Ceiling-mounts also take a longer time to install.

Floor-mounted – not many people use floor-mounted units. For starters, they cost more and take longer to install. They take up more area compared to other units. But they are good to use if your area lacks wall space. They also have a high airflow rating so they can cover more.

These are the viable options on where to install an indoor unit of the heat pump. Their commonality with the outdoor part of the heat pump is that they both need proper ventilation. Installing either one in the wrong place could have not only to affect the unit's performance but lead to frequent problems and services. Regardless, you should consult your local service technician to make sure that they are installed in the best place possible.