Why are the air conditioning units usually placed above head level

We all use air conditioners to get a soothing and cooling environment in our homes. Whenever you see an air conditioner in a home, you might have wondered for once that why the conditioners are always placed above the head level? Why do we place them at the top of the room? Why don’t we just place them at the floor level or eye level just like the TV?

These are the questions that certainly popped up into your mind and you need answers to them, that’s why you are here reading this article. In this article, we will be discussing split AC indoor unit installation height

Why are the air conditioning units usually placed above head level

We will explain everything regarding the height of the air conditioner to you & clear all the questions in your mind. So let’s take a look at it.

How an air conditioner works?

First of all, let’s take a look at how an air conditioner works and produces cool air. It will help you better understand the concept of why we place an air conditioner at a height. An air conditioner goes through a cooling cycle involving several different steps. So here’s the thing:


The cold liquid refrigerant present inside the air conditioner absorbs the hot air present in the room which cools down the room temperature. 


Next, the cold refrigerant liquid is moved into the compressor of the air conditioner where it is compressed to increase its temperature. 


After that, the compressed refrigerant is then moved into the condenser of the air conditioner where it transfers the heat absorbed from the room into the outer air.


When the air is compressed, its molecules come closer to each other and their energy increases, but when this compressed air transfers the absorbed heat outside in the condenser then it starts expanding. Its molecules release energy and move away from each other. This way the air gets cooled because now the molecules in that air have less energy. This cool air is then thrown into the room with the help of a fan in the AC. Eventually, the room gets cooled and its temperature drops because that cold air, in turn, cools the remaining hot air present in the room.

Heat transfer mechanism of air conditioner

The reason why we place the AC unit at the top of the room has a lot to do with physics and heat transfer. 

There are 3 main types of heat transfer and that are radiation, conduction, and convection. The air conditioner follows the convection method of heat transfer to cool down your room. The convection method helps the air conditioner get the heat out of the room and bring in the cool air as explained in the section above.

When the air conditioner throws out the cool air, it moves down to the floor because it is more dense and heavyweight. On the other hand, the hot air is less dense and lightweight, so it starts rising in the air. This way a whole system of convection current is formed which allows the air conditioner to effectively transfer the heat.

Why air conditioners are usually placed above head level?

When you are using an air conditioner, your main purpose is to cool the room, right?

The exact reason why we place the air conditioner above the head level is that the hot air rises due to being lightweight and less dense whereas the cold air moves down due to being heavyweight and denser. It helps the air conditioner to cool the room effectively.

When you will turn on your air conditioner, it will start throwing cool air into the room. The cool air will start going down towards the floor because it is more dense and heavyweight. When the cold air will move down, it will displace the hot air on the floor. The hot air which is less dense and lightweight will start rising upwards. 

Now when the hot air is rising upwards, the air conditioner is still throwing out cold air that is going downwards. So when the hot air going upwards and the cold air going downwards will interact with each other in the way, it will cool down the hot air as well. This way the maximum interaction of hot and cold air will cause your room to cool down way more effectively.

What If We Place the AC on Floor Level?

Now as you have understood why we place the air conditioners above head level, let’s add make this topic more interesting and find out what will happen if you put an air conditioner on the floor level?

Well, when you will put the AC on the floor level, the cool air coming out of it will immediately start moving towards the floor as it is denser. This cold air will settle on the floor and cause the hot air to displace upwards. 

Now there will be a huge difference in the temperature of the floor and the temperature of the air. It’s because the cold air is settling on the floor whereas the hot air is rising upwards and there is no cold air up there to cool it. This way only the floor will get cooled and all the space above the floor will stay hot. So there will be poor mixing of hot and cold air which will decrease the efficiency of the air conditioner.

This way the air conditioner unit will become inefficient and will start taking a lot of time to cool your room.

Things to keep in mind while placing an air conditioner

Here are a few things you must keep in mind while placing an air conditioner so it works more effectively and give you the maximum cooling effect in a short time. 

Good Ventilation

Always ensure that the AC is installed at a place with better ventilation. There should be no blockages at the inlets and outlets to ensure the air flows smoothly. It will help the AC to work more efficiently and give better cooling.

Place it at Max Height

From all our discussion above, we told you that an AC works perfectly and gives maximum cooling if it is placed higher. So place your AC at max possible height where you can easily clean it. 

Place it at a Firm Area

Your AC should be placed at a location that can endure the weight and vibration of the AC.

Place it at a Covered Region

Your AC should be placed in a covered region where it is not directly exposed to sunlight or rain.

Do not Place it above any Electrical Appliance

Your AC should not be placed above any other electrical appliance such as a light bulb, refrigerator, or microwave because any drainage or leakage of water from the AC can cause a short circuit.

What is the best possible height for an AC?

The height of an AC depends upon the size of your room. Different rooms have different sizes and you will need to place the AC at different heights. 

However, for an average room having 10 feet height, the best height for a split air conditioner to give maximum performance is 7-8 feet. In the case of a window air conditioner, the best height is 3 to 4 feet from the floor. 


If we sum up all of your discussion, we can conclude that:

  • Air conditioners are placed above the head level because it allows great mixing of hot and cold air which eventually cools the room much faster. It helps the air conditioner to work effectively and give maximum performance. 
  • Placing an air conditioner at the floor level will make the air conditioner ineffective and it will take a lot of time to cool the room. 

We also strongly recommend you learn why ac need to be leveled and where should an aircon be placed.

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