Air Conditioner Position in Living Room


I have been using my living room air conditioners in my new house for quite a while now. So, I have a conclusion on the best position for the air conditioner in the living room.

The best position for an air conditioner in the living room is at the side of the sofa where the air conditioner is not blowing cold air directly onto the sofa which can cause you dry lips and headache. Putting the air conditioner above the TV should be avoided as having direct cold air to the body can be harmful.

Living room is where we should be getting relaxed and comfortable. Placing the air conditioner at the wrong position not only cause discomfort but it may cost also you more money over the long run.

What to Look For When Placing the Indoor Unit?

Putting the indoor unit of the air conditioner at the correct location is very important as it affects the overall cooling and comfort of the living room.

Cold Air Should Not Blow Directly onto the Sofa

It certainly feels great when cold air blows directly onto our bodies. But, doing it for more than 30 minutes to a few hours does more harm than good. People often don’t realize that they’ve been exposing to direct cold air blow for too long until they get a headache or a cold.

In the living room, we usually spend hours sitting on the sofa watching shows and movies. If an air conditioner keeps blowing cold air onto our face, very quickly we’ll feel too cold and may already have a dry lip or headache.

Here is some example of good and bad positions:

My living room have two air conditioners. One is positioned at the side of my sofa and the other one is located above my TV. Guess what? I seldom use the one that is installed above the TV because I’ll feel too cold in just a few minutes as the cold air is blowing directly onto my face.

Sometimes, small living rooms may suffer the problem with too cold even with the smallest air conditioner capacity. You can consider to use an inverter air conditioner where it can reduce its cooling power to as low as 4,000 BTU for a 1.0HP models. Thus, you can feel much more comfortable in your living room.

Find out: Buying Air Conditioners: Is Inverter AC Worth the Price?

Distribute the Cold Air as Equally as Possible

Cold air should be distributed equally throughout the living room so that the entire living room is cooled rather than one area is cool, the other area is warm.

Some living rooms are rectangular in shape. The air conditioner should be installed on the shorter wall and blowing cold air parallel to the longer wall. In another word, the air conditioner should blow further rather than shorter.

AC on shorter wall
AC on longer wall

If the air conditioner is installed on the longer wall, the cold air quickly circulates back to the air conditioner as it hits the wall in front. This stops the air conditioner from providing further cooling as it misunderstood that the room is sufficiently cooled.

Always position the air conditioner in such a way that the cold air can travel as far as possible before returning back to the air conditioner. Thus, your living room will be equally cooled and it makes a huge difference in terms of comfort. If your living room is big, use two air conditioners instead of one big air conditioner to ensure good air distribution.

Don’t Let the Cold Air Blow Towards the Windows

Usually, we size air conditioners as optimal as possible. We try not to oversize or undersize air conditioners to give the best bang for the buck. Hence, the air conditioner may not able to cool the living room sufficiently if an extra heat load is introduced.

Try not to position your air conditioner in front of the windows because it will blow cold air towards the hot windows. Then, the windows will warm up the cold air a little bit which can be enough for you to feel like your living room is not cold enough, especially in the afternoon.

Moreover, it is usually cheaper to put the air conditioner above the windows because of the shorter copper pipe length.

Let Your Air Conditioner Breathe, Don’t Suffocate It

Air conditioners need some space above them as they circulate the air in the living room. If you have a plaster ceiling, don’t embed the air conditioner into the ceiling. I’ve seen too many people doing it. The air conditioners are not getting enough return air and they are not running efficiently.

Leave at least 100mm space between the ceiling and the air conditioner to ensure that the air conditioner have sufficient airflow.

Embedding the air conditioner in the ceiling not only hurts its efficiency, it also block the opening of the cover. Not only you’ll have a hard time taking out the air filter, it is impossible to take off the cover entirely without tearing apart your ceiling around the air conditioner.

Speaking of breathing, if you ever wonder whether you’ll have sufficient oxygen in your room while using the air conditioner, feel free to check out: Does Air Conditioner Provide Oxygen? Enclosed Room Suffocation Issues.

Don’t Install Too High, It’s Hard to Service

The ceiling in the living can be as high as 3.5 meters. It is very tempted to put the air conditioner as high as possible as it looks great for some people. However, placing the air conditioner too high is very hard for you to wash the air filter later.

Install your air conditioner at a height around 2,400mm from the floor is the best for both serviceability and performance optimization. Cold air naturally stays at a lower level compared to warm air. We live at an effective height of below 2 meters. Thus, air conditioners only required to cool the air below 2 meters to make us feel comfortable. Putting air conditioners too high results in the air conditioner provide cooling to a larger volume of space which is unnecessary.

If you want to install your air conditioners at a height beyond 2,400mm, be sure to inform the installers in advance as they usually bring only a standard 6-step ladder. The same goes for the service technicians when you call them for a service.

Beware Not to Put the Air Conditioner In Front of a Tall Object

Modern air conditioners mostly have some sort of ECO mode where they use a motion detector to ramp down cooling power when it senses nobody is in the room to save energy.

If you have a tall object in front of the air conditioner, the air conditioner senses no movement, and therefore, no people are in the room. Hence, ECO mode kicks in and the air conditioner ramp down the cooling power, causing your living room to feel not cold enough all the time.

What About the Outdoor Unit Location?

Ideally, the outdoor unit should be installed at a shaded place. Besides, the outdoor unit should not be located in an enclosed space where there is no air circulation because hot air will short cycle and the air conditioner will stop working. Also, keep in mind the accessibility to the outdoor unit for servicing when you are deciding the location of the outdoor unit.

Curious about: The Effects of Outside Temperature on Air Conditioners

Most installers quote their installation price based on a back-to-back installation (the outdoor unit is right behind the indoor unit) where it only involved a short length of refrigerant pipe. They usually maintain their price if the indoor unit and outdoor unit are about 1 to 2 feet away. Beyond that, they’ll start to charge extra fees. Do check with your installer before start work to avoid any arguments later.

The maximum distance between the indoor unit and outdoor unit of the split system air conditioner is about 15 meters and it is usually enough.

How About the AC Position in the Bedroom?

Positioning the air conditioner in the bedroom is more important than the living room as a bad position will affect your sleep quality. I strongly recommend you to find out the best place to install air conditioner in bedroom so that you and your family can enjoy the comfort your air conditioners bring to you.

What’s Next?

Yu Chang Zhen

Yu was working in the air conditioning industry for the past 7 years, covering from design to installation and maintenance. Yu wish to share all the things he learned with the people around the world.

Recent Posts