What is involved with relocating an air conditioning unit?

Air Conditioning FAQs

It is not unusual for a person to become frustrated that their external unit is placed in an inconvenient or overly conspicuous spot. Alternatively, they might find that their internal unit isn’t placed in the optimal spot for heating and cooling their home.

The good news is that if, at some point, you need or want to relocate your internal and/or external unit, many installers are able to do so.

Why would I relocate my external unit?

There are a number of instances in which you might consider relocating your external unit. Reasons may include:

  • Aesthetics: You’ve bought a property where the external unit has been placed in an awkward position or near a dryer vent and you’d like it somewhere less conspicuous. If the external unit has been placed on a balcony, it might be taking up too much space, preventing full use of this outside area.
  • Legal Reasons: A change in regulations by your local council or a resolution by your owners’ corporation.
  • Performance: Updating a damaged unit, or if trees around the unit have grown or a new development has been built next to your property in a away to be affecting the external unit’s output. Foliage growing around the unit could damage it in future and you want to do something before this occurs to save both the unit and your garden.
  • Safety: You may decide to add an anti-theft device to a unit, or when growing your family removing the unit from a space where animals and children can access it. You might also want to protect the unit for pesky birds.
  • Making structural changes to the building: Planning an extension, pool, new fencing or some landscaping changes. You may even want to bring a unit from your old residence to a new one to save on costs.

Why would I relocate my internal unit?

  • Aesthetics: The internal unit might not be properly centred on the wall
  • Performance: The internal unit might be placed on the wrong wall, and you believe placing the unit on a different wall will optimise the heating or cooling of the relevant space

Do I need a professional to relocate my unit?

While DIY is great for certain projects, there are several reasons why it’s always essential to get a professional in to move your unit, primarily for safety and cost. This job is not like moving furniture. The following need to be considered:

  • Safety: Electricity and hazardous substances are involved that could harm you, your pets, property, your family and your neighbours. You need a special refrigerant licence to handle the material in your AC unit.
  • Cost: You could cause damage to walls and the unit, leading to extra expenses. For example, you could unintentionally void your warranty by not employing a licensed installer. If the refrigerant line is stretched or bent to excessive angles by inexperienced hands while moving the unit it could cause a leak in the line that will need fixing. Having the job done correctly the first time at a price that has been agreed upon.
  • Legal reasons: There are restrictions on how far the line set can be run and where the unit can be placed, which installers will know about. If, in doing the work yourself, anyone else or their property is damaged you may be liable. Plus, if your family is hurt you may never forgive yourself.

Installers have not only their own insurance but are also licensed to work with the equipment. They have the experience and tools to do so, ensuring if something does go wrong they have the knowledge to fix or contain it. 

What does the installer do to relocate my unit?

Relocating an external unit involves a specialised process. You can’t just pick it up and put it where you would prefer.

Before even moving an external air conditioning unit an installer will pump the refrigerant back down into the compressor unit. For bigger moves a purpose-built storage bottle will keep it enclosed and thereby safe for the environment.

They will then shut off electricity to the unit for safety. At this stage they cut and re-do the pipework. Once completed the unit can then be put back, or moved to the new location. Moisture and air are vacuumed from the unit; meaning pure refrigerant is returned to the system before it is recharged.

Lastly the unit is levelled so that it’s stable, with the power turned back on before testing it. As they go along technicians would pre-empt and solve any issues that arise. This means that testing should indicate the unit is running at peak performance in the new location, so you can start enjoying it straight away.


Moving a unit involves more than say moving an appliance like a portable heater or cooler. For this work materials involved such as copper lines can be expensive to replace if damaged or like refrigerants they may pose a safety risk.

Parts and labour to complete the move will depend on how far you are moving your unit, and details such as if it is going to stay on the same wall or if you want the unit put on a wall bracket. If you are renovating it’s a good idea to keep this extra cost in mind.

For a simple move, say on the same wall but in a different position you may be looking at around $550 – $750, ex GST. This would of course include the input of installers who will help you decide the best place for the unit to be moved, especially so that your warranty is not affected.

More complicated moves you would involve a higher figure and as we advise it’s always best to get the installer to your property for an onsite quote. Many installers do this for free and it ensures the pricing you’ve been given is accurate, relating to the specifics of the work at hand.

Why it’s a worthy investment

Better placement of an external unit, for only a few hundred dollars, can lead to a number of positive outcomes. It should result not only in a nicer view but also allow the external unit to run more effectively, saving on repairs, reducing energy waste and costs.

If it is part of a renovation project, moving the external unit can further add value to your home. Relocation can make your property look nicer as a whole for the time you are still living there. Movement can also provide safety, placing the unit away from little hands and paws.

Employing a professional to move the external unit cuts down on the risk of damaging your unit and yourself, leading to the need for a system replacement or expensive repair work. If you have bought a property with bad placement and intend to renovate or even just landscape you can consult with the installer to work around your plans, ensuring that moving the unit will fit in with what you want to achieve, with the added bonus that the unit so is working to peak capacity.

For the price, having an external unit relocated can make a huge difference to the health and longevity of your air conditioning system. This means your own comfort is enhanced with that of the unit.


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