During the summer months, homeowners from Opelika, Alabama to Columbus, Georgia spend countless hours outside, sprucing up their properties. Whether you plan to install new flowerbeds, plant trees, or simply shape up the existing lawn features, there’s a chance your efforts could help your home stay cooler this season.
In our most recent blog, the heating, cooling and indoor air quality technicians at Energy Savers discuss some HVAC landscaping tips to protect your cooling equipment and help it operate more efficiently.
Summer Landscaping Tips to Protect Your Air Conditioner
Outdoor air conditioner condensing units and heat pumps are built tough to withstand the elements and the challenges posed by the hot, humid southern climate. However, certain aspects of your landscaping and property management routine could be causing harm to these units and hampering their ability to efficiently cool your home. Using HVAC landscaping tips this summer will keep your outdoor cooling equipment protected and performing at its peak.
Outdoor condensing units and heat pumps should have at least two feet of clear space surrounding them on all sides – this is to allow unrestricted air movement through the system, plus it provides room to access the unit should repairs ever be needed. The following tips focus on keeping this space open and unrestricted:
- Weed the area surrounding your outdoor condenser unit, removing nuisance weeds, saplings, volunteer plants, and other greenery growing in this space. These HVAC landscaping tips ensure vegetation does not grow tall enough to block airflow through the unit nor grow up along the exterior fins of the unit where this growth could be damaging.
- Prune back bushes and shrubs growing close to your outdoor AC unit or heat pump. If tree branches reach within the two-foot-free zone, trim them as well.
- If any tree branches overhang your outdoor cooling equipment, remove them. Also, cut out any dead limbs on nearby trees. Strong summer storms can knock these branches off of trees and onto your unit, causing damage.
- When mowing the lawn, pay attention to your grass clippings. If you mow in a direction that shoots cut blades at your AC unit, grass clippings can stick along the exterior fins and block airflow. If you leave grass clippings on the lawn, these pieces can be picked up by a breeze and blown onto your unit, causing the same issue. It’s best to bag grass clippings using your mower when possible or rake and bag them once you finish mowing.
- Don’t leave the open space surrounding your outdoor unit bare, as soil can turn to mud that splashes into the unit, covering coils and causing component issues. Avoid fine mulch, as these bits can blow up against the unit’s fins just like blades of grass. We suggest adding gravel or landscaping rock to cover the ground in this space.
- When planting new trees, place them in such a way that they will provide shade to your air conditioning unit and roof as they mature. Choose deciduous varieties that will grow tall and block heat from direct sunlight in the future. Just be careful not to plant them too close to your cooling unit. Shading your outdoor air conditioning equipment with trees can reduce cooling energy consumption.
- Plant a row of evergreen trees and shrubs one or two tree heights away from the home on the side where your air conditioner is installed to create a windbreak. With dense branches from trunk to top, these varieties can shield your air conditioning equipment from high winds and severe weather – plus provide heating energy savings in the winter!
Repairs and Maintenance for Outdoor Air Conditioning Equipment
These HVAC landscaping tips will help your air conditioner function at its best and preserve its condition. Maintenance tune ups do, too! Schedule a tune up for your air conditioner or heat pump today for better summer cooling performance and protection. If your outdoor air conditioner condensing unit or heat pump sustains damage due to summer storms or landscaping mishaps, call Energy Savers for the skilled repair services needed to restore the condition of your unit.