Drive through any neighborhood and you'll see a boxy, gray air conditioning unit sitting conspicuously next to most houses. Occasionally you don't see one and that's probably because it's hidden by strategically planned trees, shrubs and bushes. Landscaping the area around your A/C unit will improve the appearance of your home while ensuring the outside unit gets plenty of needed airflow and shade for efficient operation.
Maintaining airflow to the outside unit improves the condenser coil's ability to release heat energy into the surrounding air. When that heat exchange process is impeded, your air conditioner will have to work harder to cool your home.
To make sure the unit has plenty of airflow, keep all landscaping elements and other objects at least two to three feet away from all sides of the A/C equipment. Above the condenser/compressor, there should be at least five feet of clearance from overhanging trees or housing fixtures. Landscaping shouldn't prevent easy access to the unit for maintenance and repairs.
Your HVAC installer should choose a location for the outside unit that's shaded most of the day, and you can add landscaping for additional shading. Releasing heat energy from the unit requires less work and energy when that heat is being expelled into cooler, shaded air. In direct sunlight, it has to work harder and use more energy to accomplish this.
Choose Low Maintenance Plants
Of course, landscaping should be attractive for its own sake while hiding that gray box from people walking or driving past your home. If possible, choose trees and shrubs that stay green in the winter. This means less raking and sweeping around the outside unit and less clutter that can potentially block the free flow of air. In the winter, vegetation that doesn't shed leaves will continue to hide the outdoor component. Consider planting attractive hedges and erect lattice work for hanging greenery.
To further discuss the best way of landscaping the area around your A/C unit, please contact the home comfort experts at Air Assurance. We provide excellent services to Broken Arrow and the greater Tulsa area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “ARENA Creative/Shutterstock”