We’ve all seen those air conditioning units cleverly surrounded by concealing hedges, while it may look nice, it may be putting an unnecessary burden on the equipment’s performance. Keeping your outside cooling unit free from dirt and debris is crucial for maintaining free air flow. This not only allows the equipment to work more efficiently, but also helps it last longer.
Putting plants around the air conditioner
Hedges, tall ornamental grasses, trees – all plants are a lovely way to provide beauty and shade and to camouflage around an air conditioner. They can be great options but with one caveat: you need to keep any landscaping planted/trimmed at least two feet back from your air conditioner. Not only can hedge limbs grow into the unit, but too close of landscaping means less air flow is getting in and out. It also means you’re more likely to have leaves, sticks, stems, and other organic matter accumulating in the equipment.
Putting plants over the air conditioner
There is a school of thought that providing a shaded area for your air conditioner will make it more efficient. Keeping the air in the immediate vicinity at a constantly cooler temperature may help some, but research shows that the benefits are only minimal. In fact, you may be asking for trouble by placing your equipment under a tree or plant with falling leaves and seeds.
Putting plants into the air conditioner
You definitely don’t want to put plants into the air conditioner, so make sure when you mow around your outdoor unit you are aiming the grass clippings away from it. Some of the most common causes of blockage come from the cut grass clippings.
Keeping plants out of the air conditioner
Special mesh screens are designed to place on top or around your air conditioning unit to help keep out the big chunks of debris. And during the off season, it’s recommended you use a water-repellant cover to protect it during the falling leaves of autumn and the strong winds of winter.
Despite best efforts, some grit and grime are going to find their way to the outdoor air conditioner. It’s a good idea to do the occasional spot check and brush away any obvious debris that could cause a blockage with a broom or brush. Among other things, a lack of airflow promotes mold growth and a build-up of grime can eventually damage the interior components. It’s a good idea to have a local HVAC company clean and check your unit each spring.