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Is Your Air Conditioner Saying, “Back Off?”

Is Your Air Conditioner Saying, “Back Off?”
Landscaping and space planning tips for your air conditioning unit

There are many adjectives homeowners use to describe their air conditioners. Some call them powerful, while others call them efficient, energy-saving or, in a bad year, “on-the-fritz.” But never have we heard anyone call an air conditioner gorgeous. It just doesn’t happen.

And because these somewhat homely-but-necessary objects will never win any beauty contests, homeowners sometimes feel compelled to disguise them … you know, with screens and ornate fences, or large shrubs and aggressive vines – especially when fall planting season comes around!

We totally understand that overwhelming temptation, but this is our advice: camouflage with caution! Why? Because air conditioning units need space! They also need quality air circulation, along with at least one obstruction-free side for maintenance and servicing. If you place plants or decorative elements too close to your unit, you can shorten its life, compromise its efficiency and even increase your utility bills.
Here are some additional tips when it comes to giving your air conditioner adequate space and proper care:

  • The general rule of thumb is to have 2-3 ft. of space around the sides of your air conditioner, and at least 5 ft. above it. Keep one side clear for easy service.
  • If possible, position your air conditioning unit out of direct sun. When the unit gets too hot, it has to work harder (which means that the compressor’s lifespan will be compromised).
  • Do not obstruct the space above your air conditioner with objects like potted plants, shelves, a porch or deck.
  • By planting trees to provide shade for (and cool) your unit, you can save as much as $100 – $250 each year in cooling and heating costs.
  • If you shade your unit by planting trees or other man-made structures, make sure they arepositioned far enough away. The hot air that is emitted from the condenser must be allowed to flow away easily.
  • Consult with an experienced landscaping company for ideas on how you can safely and effectively shade or disguise the area around your air conditioning unit.

If you have any more questions regarding this topic, please give us a call! We’d love to help.