Getting through a warm summer afternoon without air conditioning would be practically impossible. But if you reside in one of those places where the sun never seems to give up, then you would know that your air conditioning alone contributes a big chunk towards your monthly electricity bill.
Whether you’re looking to cut down on costs or simply improve the working efficiency of your air conditioner, you would definitely appreciate a few tips and tricks when it comes to maintaining either a central cooling system or a window unit, etc.
Most people agree that shading your air conditioning unit will do wonders for both efficiency of the system and in cutting down costs. But is it really worth it? Does shading your air conditioning unit prove to be degenerative for the system in any way?
Will shading the unit help me?
It has been said time and time again that shading your unit with either mechanical shades or simply by planting trees near the unit, you could improve efficiency and cut down costs by almost 10%. This is because the air around the unit influences how hard the system is going to have to work in order to provide a cool environment.
That means if the air around the system is hot, it’s going to have to work much harder to achieve the same cooling effects than if the air around the system were to be much cooler.
How to go about doing it?
This can be achieved by simply planting a row of approximately 6-8 foot tall trees around the system. The point is to shade the air conditioning unit from as much sun as possible. This would ensure that the air around the unit remains cooler than normal allowing the unit to function more efficiently and effectively.
But it is recommended that you do not overdo this. Because a major part of cooling the air around the unit comes down to maintaining competent air flow.
You can end up restricting the air flow if the trees you’ve planted around the system are too thick or too close to the system. A recommended distance would be at least 2 feet away from the unit so as to ensure good air flow.
If you’re in a situation where the consideration of planting trees is not even remotely possible, the best you could do is try and set up the unit in a north-facing side of the house. This side receives minimum exposure to sun light throughout the day thus making sure that you’re doing whatever it takes to own a more competent system.
If the unit’s already been installed in your apartment or flat in a non-north facing side of the house, the only thing you can do is to try and put up some mechanical shades to improve its efficiency as much as you can.
A mechanical shading system could be something as simple as a sill over your system to protect it from direct sunlight or something as complex as a wooden shade.
Be sure to get the help of an engineer to help you build a mechanical shade without compromising air flow around the system. Compromising the air flow would simply negate the advantages of shading your unit.
Should I be worried?
If you’re reading this, then you’ve also probably heard of the rumors about how making an effort to mechanically shade your air conditioning unit could prove to be more detrimental rather than useful.
A study was done in a controlled environment where a condenser unit was shaded from the top allowing competent exhausts in the side. The study noted that the effort to shade the unit proved to be a lot less useful. Estimated savings were only less than 3% with risk towards obstructing air flow meant that you’re better off not making any effort to shade the unit.
This is because the temperature of the air in the immediate vicinity of the unit is influenced by the temperature of the air in the surrounding environment and not simply by the direct influence of sunlight.
What this means is, you won’t be able to see any considerable results in cost savings or efficiency of the system without cooling the air around a much larger environment.
Why you should plant more trees even if immediate results are not guaranteed?
However, planting a few trees at a distance around the system and around your house in general will help to bring the average temperature of the air down.
Installing a unit in the north facing side of the house has also proven to be more useful and effective. Besides, you’re at least doing the environment a great deal of good by planting a couple of trees.