Shading an air conditioner refers to the process of creating natural or artificial shade around an air conditioning unit. This is specifically referring to central air conditioning units installed outside a home or building that deliver cool air to the building using air ducts. But how and why to shade an air conditioner isn’t exactly a straightforward matter. There are rules to be followed to ensure that you reap the maximum benefits.
How to Shade Your Air Conditioner
Let’s now consider how to shade air conditioner. The best way to shade your AC unit is to use natural means. Trees are the preferred method to provide shading, but you have to do it correctly. There are also a few other issues you need to consider for the best results. Below are a few pointers:
- Deciduous trees: Deciduous trees provide lots of shade during the summer months. During winter, they shed their leaves allowing winter sunlight to warm your home. Plant them to the north so that they provide maximum shade throughout the day. They should be planted at least 25 feet away from the home.
- Evergreen trees: Also known as conifers, these are great windbreakers. Plant them to the north and northwest where they will block winter winds. In addition, plant them a bit further from the home than deciduous trees.
- Re-locate your air conditioner: If your air conditioner is located to the south of your home, relocate it to the northern side if possible and financially feasible. This is because the southern side gets inundated by sunlight during much of the day. If it’s not possible to relocate, ensure you plant very tall trees that have lots of foliage to provide all-day shade.
Six Reasons to Shade an Air Conditioner
Let’s begin by considering why you would want to shade an air conditioner in the first place. There are five good reasons listed below.
Reduce energy consumption
Air conditioning units are notoriously energy-hungry. In a home, the air conditioner is often the largest energy consumer. Air conditioners use about 6% of US electricity production, and the average central AC unit consumes 3500 watts of electricity. Compare this to a ceiling fan that only consumes 35 watts or a medium-sized refrigerator that consumes 225 watts. According to the US Department for Energy, a little shade can go a long way. The air beneath trees is as much as 25°F cooler. So planting trees near the air conditioning unit is one way to ensure the AC takes in cool air and consequently doesn’t have to consume too much energy cooling the air. There is also the bonus that trees also provide the home with shade. Cooler homes don’t overwork AC units. This combined effect can lead to a reduced electricity consumption of up 25 percent.
Return on investment
The energy savings accruing from proper landscaping are estimated to increase the return on investment of a property to less than eight years.
Increase AC unit efficiency
Shading an air conditioner using natural or artificial means also increases the unit’s efficiency percent. The unit quickly cools the home, and when optimum temperatures are attained, it shuts off leading to even more energy savings.
Reduce summer AC costs
AC costs are typically higher in summer, but with proper shading, you don’t have to put a dent in your pocket every summer.
Windbreaks cut fuel consumption
Natural shading like trees also acts as windbreakers. Placing trees on the windward side of a home leads to greater energy savings. Windbreakers are beneficial during the winter. During winter, an AC unit has to warm cold air to regulate the temperature in a home. Windbreaks protect your home from cold winter winds and reduce your heating bill.
We hope you now have a full grasp of how and why to shade an air conditioner. Implement these suggestions and reap the cooling benefits.