Air conditioning is no longer just a luxury; in regions with hot weather, air conditioning allows people work more productively, kids to attend school year and families to enjoy evenings without huddling about a fan. Together with the rising cost of energy, however, efficiency becomes important. What grows — and where it grows — about your condenser can influence that efficiency.
Your air conditioner circulates a fluid fluid through a set of pipes and coils until it absorbs enough heat within the house to evaporate into a gas. A compressor subsequently re-pressurizes it, releasing absorbed heat and turning it back into a fluid. The condenser unit sits outside — or in the back of the window unit. The aluminum fins and fan observable on the unit optimize the surface and air available to port the heat that builds up since the gas hardened. As vital as tidy, unobscured fins and smoothly functioning enthusiasts may be, the space around the unit has to be free to permit rapid dissipation of heated air to avoid overworking the circulating pumps and blowers and condenser unit fan.
The comparative coolness of shade allows faster dissipation of heat in a condenser on a hot day, so planting a tree will help unit efficiency. A tree planted to the west of this condenser unit offers shade, but pick a drought-tolerant species since the overhanging branches will be subject to continuous breezes of hot, dry air. The National Fire Protection Association says that to be fire-safe, the tree must be planted at least 30 feet in the house and cleared of branches from 6 to 10 feet up from the ground.
Shrubs and Herbaceous Plants
Shrubs planted closer to the condenser than 3 feet will not simply act as baffles to air movement, they can also shed leaves, twigs and other plant materials that might wind up in the seams round the sides or fan casement of this unit. Grasses and perennials that grow more than 6 inches high must also be planted at least 2 to 3 feet away from the underside of this unit since ventilation to the unit can also be drawn from that region.
Avoid placing containerized plants close — or on top of condenser units. Unit vibration can bounce pots off the top of the unit or, worse, into the fan compartment. Whatever plants are installed around your condenser unit, then make certain to keep woody plants pruned neatly, and immediately clean up any deciduous litter. If a unit has to be concealed, consider a good fence or low wall in the exact same space as plants — it’ll require less maintenance, and you won’t have to purchase fertilizer.