The landscaping around the outdoor A/C unit can make a difference in how well your whole air conditioning system runs. It is tempting to hide the outdoor condenser because it’s not an attractive yard fixture, and it’s entirely possible to obscure it as long as the landscaping around it doesn’t impede its performance.
How Landscaping Affects the A/C
The condenser contains a set of coils through which the hot refrigerant from your home flows. The fan inside the condenser pulls air over the coils to reduce the heat. Landscaping that blocks the amount of air flowing through the coils impedes its ability to lose the heat generated. When the airflow is also blocked by dirt, plant debris or fences, the components work harder and energy consumption rises. Loose landscaping material can also damage the unit.
Here are some tips to keep the outdoor system efficient:
- Keep any fence or structure two feet or more away from the condenser. Besides insuring adequate airflow, it makes annual maintenance and cleaning easier.
- Leave at least five feet of unobstructed space over the top of the condenser so the hot air from the coils can blow away.
- When you are planning the landscaping around the A/C unit, choose plants that don’t create a lot of debris. Evergreen trees are better choices than deciduous trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally.
- Use hard surface materials close to the condenser to prevent splashing or spattering from sand or dirt when it rains. Droplets can collect on the condensing coils, impeding their ability to lose heat.
- Resist the urge to plant grass close to the pad the condenser rests on. Grass clippings can collect on the coils and can be hard to remove when they dry. Like dirt and dust, they can also insulate the coils.