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Sheltering an Outdoor AC Unit: Is it Wise?

Monday, July 14, 2014

While some experts indicate there may be some energy savings possible in sheltering an outside AC unit, the benefits are not considered to be significant. AC placement in relation to shade can make a difference, but it's important to note that plenty of clearance is needed to ensure good airflow around your equipment. Your condenser is the location for heat to be released from your refrigerant into the air, and poor ventilation around the unit can result in your refrigerant retaining heat.

Structures or Landscaping for AC Shelters

Building an enclosed structure around your condenser isn't a good idea as this may create an overheating issue close to your equipment and impede the energy exchange process. An awning or a small tent above the unit may address your interests better. Some homeowners build chain link fences around their condenser units to limit the risk of loss through theft. However, chain link does allow air movement, meaning that this is a better choice than a solid shelter.

Shade trees and other vegetation may prove to be more efficient at shading your condenser, but it is important to keep the unit and the vegetation separate so that you don't end up with lots of leaves inside the system. You can also consider AC placement so that your unit will be in the shade when the outside temperatures are at their highest levels on a given day. This may be the most affordable measure for sheltering your equipment without spending a lot of money.

Additional Strategies in Energy Savings

Your outside unit plays an important role in the overall performance of your cooling system. Keep the area around the unit clear of shrubs and debris so that airflow isn't hindered. Additionally, take time to spray off the condenser coils a couple of times during the summer, especially if your equipment is getting a lot of use. You can enlist the help of a Texas Air Comfort contractor to have your entire home's energy performance evaluated so that you can make precise efforts to cut energy use. 

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