Throwing Shade: How to Protect Your AC Unit From the Sun

Shade can decrease energy usage and reduce stress on your air conditioning system. Here’s how to shield your AC unit from the sun to increase efficiency and improve your comfort.

How Shading Your AC System Helps

According to the EPA, shade cools the air around the outside condenser, increasing efficiency by as much as 10 percent. But if you really want to slash your energy bill, plant trees strategically beyond the condenser to prevent the sun from heating your home. Effective shading with trees around the house can cut air conditioning costs by as much as 50 percent.

Choose the Correct Side

Hopefully, your air conditioning unit is already placed in a spot that receives little sunlight. That would be the north or east side of your house. (The north side stays cooler longer.)

Plant at least two or three trees on the side of your house where your AC is located. For example, a six- to eight-foot-tall deciduous tree will provide shade for your unit within a year of planting it. 

Plant a series of low-growing bushes and shrubs around the condenser, but not too close. Allow for about two to three feet of clearance between the appliance and any surrounding vegetation. This will help keep the ground cool without restricting airflow.

Shade Your Windows

West-facing windows receive full sunlight during the day and evening. Plant trees that will grow 10 feet taller than your windows and keep them to within 20 feet of your windows.

This will help keep the majority of sunlight from entering windows, taking some of the load off of your AC system.

Bottom line: Keeping your AC unit out of direct sunlight can cut operating costs and improve performance. However, even the most effective shading can’t overcome a sluggish central air system. Make sure your air conditioner is operating at peak efficiency with routine maintenance. For all of your cooling needs this summer, depend on Southport Home Services. To schedule your appointment, call (262) 383-4040.