Using shading over your air conditioning unit’s external condenser is a really good way to help it to work more efficiently. Most people use fast-growing trees to cover the area over the condenser, as this cools the air that it draws in, so it doesn’t have to strain to cool it down. This works quite well, especially if you plan it right.
The more trees you can plant, the better, or if you already have some trees on the north or north-east side of your house, cultivate them a bit and place your condenser there. Just make sure you don’t block the air flow of the unit in any way
How much can shading save you?
It’s believed that you can improve your air conditioner’s efficiency by as much as 10% and save up to $400 a year if you have two or three trees around your aircon unit. The trees cool down the air around them, and they also stop the sun from heating up the ground and walls around the unit’s intake. They will also stop heat coming in through the windows, which can turn a room into a regular sauna!
If your unit is on the south side of the house…
…you’ll need tall, expansive trees with dense leaves. If it’s on any of the the other sides, then you can use smaller trees – if you plant a fast-growing deciduous tree then it’ll start giving you some shade within a year or so.
If you want shade from all directions, to shade your windows as well as your aircon, then prioritise trees on the west side of the house and make sure they’re within 20 feet of the windows and at least 10 feet taller than the tops of the windows.
Paved areas are heat-traps
If there are pavements or paved areas near your house and aircon unit, you should concentrate on them, as they absorb – and radiate – a lot more heat than soil. This heats up the air very efficiently indeed! If you have a patio area, then an awning is especially important.
Planting trees also helps you to enjoy your garden and outside space more, too, as well as to offer a home to birds, small mammals and insects. It’s good for everyone!