Your air conditioning unit works hard to keep you and your family cool, especially in the sweltering summer months. With summer just around the corner, consider giving your air conditioner a little help from Mother Nature.
Strategically planted landscaping can keep your AC unit running up to 10 percent more efficiently, cutting down on energy use and your electric bill! Here are some tips for naturally cooling your home.
Cover Your Condenser Unit
The air in a shaded area can be 5 to 6 degrees cooler than unshaded air. Create a buffer between your outdoor condenser unit and the sun by putting up trellises or fencing along the east, south and west sides of the unit. To dress it up, plant a fast growing vine plant like ivy on the structure.
Other options are to situate a canopy on top of your condenser unit or plant small shrubs around it. Whichever landscaping option you choose, maintain a buffer space of at least two to three feet to allow airflow and access to the unit for maintenance.
Windows take in heat from the sun through conduction, or the exchange of hot air for cooler air. Shading your home slows down this exchange by keeping outside surfaces cooler. Large, lush trees make great sources of shade, but often take decades to grow tall enough to provide adequate cover. For fast growth, try planting tall narrow trees, like the green vase zelkova and heritage river birch or screening trees like the dawn redwood and the eastern white pine.
You can also plant shorter trees or tall shrubs along the west side of the house to deflect sun in the late afternoon. Low-lying shrubs will keep the ground around your home cool.
Take Advantage of the Breeze
When the humidity lets up in the evening to make way for a cool breeze, take advantage of it. Landscape with trees and plants that usher the breeze toward your home and through open windows. Wind moves fastest in the area in between the lowest branch of a tree and the ground, so prune lower branches to push air toward windows. If you have trees or tall shrubs sitting right in front of a window, make sure the branches and leaves are not too dense so air can still pass through.
When Shade Just Isn’t Enough
Keep in mind that regular maintenance and cleaning will also keep your air conditioner running more efficiently. Visit our website to learn more about our maintenance services.