Should I Keep My HVAC Unit in the Shade?

Summer can seem to take its sweet time getting to the midwest, but warmer weather and heavy humidity will be here before we know it. Hot weather can cause a spike in your energy bill, and pretty soon, there will be all kinds of guides out about how to save money on your cooling costs.

But is there any weight to the claim that shading your HVAC condenser saves energy?

Does an air conditioner need shade?

You may have heard that keeping your air conditioner’s outside unit in the shade can improve its energy efficiency by up to 50% — but the truth is a little more complicated.

Central Air Systems

If your home uses central heating and cooling, keeping your condenser (the exterior portion of your HVAC system) in the shade won’t really change its efficiency too much. While the casing for the unit may heat up, the central components that actually cool and redirect conditioned air into your home aren’t affected. Adding shade — either by way of a cover or by planting greenery around your compressor — can actually inhibit airflow and create more problems for your system.

Window Units

According to the Department of Energy, if you use a window unit sized to cool one room, keeping your system in the shade can improve efficiency by 10%! The department also suggests that installing your window unit on the north or east side of your home can help passively shade the unit to help efficiency.

Passive Cooling Saves Money

Shading your condenser may not save much energy, but there are plenty of ways to save money on your cooling costs this summer. Homes in naturally shaded areas have lower cooling costs. Blocking the sun reduces its heat energy, which means your system doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home cool.

Another easy but effective cooling strategy is keeping your system in peak condition. By changing out your air filter regularly and scheduling annual maintenance, your system runs more smoothly and lasts longer! Contact the cooling experts at Grapids Heating & Cooling, Inc. to schedule your maintenance before the summer heat hits! (616) 223-6777