Is Shading Your AC Unit Worth It?
You’ve invested a lot of money in your air conditioning system to shield you and your family from Georgia’s hot summers. One simple way to protect that investment is to shade the area around the compressor to lower the outdoor temperature and reduce wear and tear on the system, helping to keep it humming smoothly for years to come. Although shading your AC unit is definitely worthwhile, there’s a right and wrong way to go about it. Learn why shading your AC compressor is a great idea and how doing it properly will avoid damaging the system.
Don’t forget that all the shade in the world doesn’t take the place of regular maintenance!
Why Shading Your Air Conditioner Can Increase Its Efficiency
Planting trees to shade your air conditioner can make the unit 10% more efficient, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Planting just three trees in strategic areas near the compressor and large windows that let heat stream in can reduce your annual cooling costs by $100 to $250 depending on the size of your cooling unit.
Shade trees keep outdoor temperatures down by cooling the air around them and blocking unrelenting sunlight from heating the ground. After a long day of absorbing heat, the ground releases it into the air and makes your air conditioner work harder than it needs to. It’s even more cost-effective to shade your air conditioner if you live in a brick or stucco home that endures an endless cycle of absorbing and releasing heat near your compressor. Consider planting trees, shrubs, and installing an awning over the compressor to shield it from temperature extremes.
What Trees Should I Plant Near My AC?
If your air conditioner is on the south side of your home, plant trees that will grow tall and provide a wide, spread-out canopy to offer maximum shade. If the compressor is on the west, east, or north side of your home, six- to eight-foot deciduous trees are a great choice to provide shade to your cooling unit within one year of planting. If you’re in the market for a new AC unit, place it on the north side of your home, if possible, since this location will provide maximum protection to your system.
In addition to planting trees and shrubs near the compressor, consider placing awnings over large south-facing windows and shading sidewalks, patios, and paved walkways to reduce heat transfer. However, when planting any kind of tree or shrub near your compressor, make sure you don’t encroach too closely on the unit by blocking its air intake. Blocking the air intake will make your compressor work harder than it needs to and eventually will cause the system to break down.
The ‘Don’ts’ of Shading Your AC Unit
When shading your AC unit, make sure to keep these ‘don’ts’ in mind!
- Don’t restrict the airflow around your unit. This includes providing plenty of clearance for low-hanging trees, bushes, and any other shrubbery.
- Don’t allow vegetation like leaves, moss, or any other materials clog your unit
Contact the Professionals at Conditioned Air for AC Advice
Shading your air conditioner will increase its efficiency, add years to its longevity, and save you money on cooling costs. If you’d like to learn more about choosing the right trees and plants to shade your compressor or to ensure you’re planting them in the most strategic location, contact the experts at Conditioned Air, Inc. Our team can help you find the best solutions to shade your compressor to keep it effectively cooling your Macon home for years to come.