Air Conditioning Permit Requirements
The on-line permit is available for properties in Sunnyvale with a residential zoning district of R-0 or R-1 and for condenser units that will be installed on the ground (not roof top location). Zoning district information is available on-line by clicking on E-Zoning.

This permit will allow a new or replacement air conditioning unit.

No planning permit is required for air conditioning units. The standards listed below are verified through the building permit process.

Setback Requirements
The condenser unit shall meet the zoning district setbacks for the property. For all residentially zoned properties, the minimum rear yard setback is 10 feet. For properties in the R-0, R-1.5 and R-2 Zoning Districts, the minimum side yard setback is 4 feet. All other residential zoning districts require a 6 foot minimum side yard setback. Corner lots must have a 9 foot setback along the longer street frontage. You may obtain the Zoning District for your lot on-line by clicking on E-Zoning or by contacting a Planner at the One-Stop Permit Center.

Noise Requirements
All air conditioning units must meet the noise standards of Sunnyvale Municipal Code Section 19.42.030. Noise shall not exceed 50 dBA during the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. or 60 dBA during 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. at any point on adjacent residentially zoned property.

Screening Requirements
All air conditioning units must be screened on all four sides. In most cases, air conditioning units located in private yards meet this requirement. If the proposed air conditioning unit is located on the roof, on a corner lot between the fence and the street, or in private homeowner’s association area, please speak with Planner regarding the required screening.

A permit is required to install a new residential air conditioning unit and for the replacement of existing air conditioning units. Permits are required prior to installation or replacement of air conditioning units.

Following is a listing of the general requirements based on the 2016 California Electrical Code, 2016 California Mechanical Code, 2016 California Plumbing Code, 2016 California Energy Efficiency Standards and the Sunnyvale Municipal Code. This brochure is intended to provide general information, contact the Building Safety Division for any questions or additional information.
  • Duct Air Leakage Test - An air leakage test, performed by a HERS rater, is required for existing ducts. At the final inspection, the HERS report completed by a HERS rater is required to be provided to the building inspector. (CEES 150.2(b)(1)(E)) A listing of certified HERS raters is on-line at:
  • Condensing Unit Efficiency - Condensing units rated up to 45,000 Btu/h shall have a minimum efficiency rating of 14 SEER and 12.2 EER.
  • Disconnect - An electrical disconnect for the unit shall be provided within sight of the unit and readily accessible (not mounted behind the unit). The main electrical panel shall be labeled with the circuit for the new equipment. (CEC 440.11, 440.14, and 408.4(A))
  • Slab or platform - The condenser unit shall be located and secured to a minimum 3 inch thick slab or approved platform. (CMC 1105.2)
  • Receptacle - Provide a 15 or 20 amp receptacle at an accessible location within 25 feet of the condenser unit. If located outside, the receptacle shall be GFCI protected, water-resistant, and in a weatherproof cover (bubble cover). (CEC 210.63, 210.8, and 406.9).
  • Condensate Drainage - The condensate line shall drain to a landscaped area or to the tail piece of a sanitary sewer line. (CMC 310.1, 310.6, 1105.7)
  • Insulation - Insulation on the suction line (cooling refrigerant line) shall be protected from physical damage or ultraviolet deterioration by an aluminum or metal shroud, paint, plastic cover, or ultraviolet resistant tape. (CEES 150.0(m)9)
  • Refrigerant Port Protection - The refrigerant circuit access port shall be protected from unauthorized access with a locking-type tamper resistant cap. (CMC 1105.11)
  • Clearance to Clothes Dryer Vent - When located outdoors, the condensing unit shall be a minimum of five feet from the termination of a clothes dryer vent. (CEES 150.0(h)3(A))

The Air Conditioning Permit is NOT available on-line if you are:
  • Not installing the condenser unit outside on the ground.
  • If the property is part of a Homeowner's Association (HOA).
If any of the above conditions apply, the permit shall be issued at the One-Stop Permit Center, City Hall, 456 W Olive Avenue. Specific process information is available at the Building Division web site.

  • A final inspection should be scheduled after all work is complete.
Contact Building Division
Privacy Notice