If you’re like most homeowners, you don’t pay much attention to the air conditioner condenser in your yard. Beyond calling for an annual maintenance check (we hope), you probably have little cause to worry about it.
But did you know that the way you garden and plant in your landscape can have an impact on your condenser and your HVAC system? Read on and learn how gardening affects HVAC performance.
Planting Trees and Shrubs
Shade trees make our houses feel cooler — no surprise there — but can also help us cut our annual utility bills by as much as 25 percent, particularly in the summer, by blocking the sun from walls and windows. That’s really important in Corpus Christi, where summer lasts a long time.
Shrubs can also help, not only by blocking sunlight, but by trapping a layer of air between walls and shrubs, insulating the walls and foundation from cold air in the winter.
If you have trees in your yard, trims any limbs that hang over your roof or your HVAC condenser. You don’t want broken limbs falling on either. Trim shrubs back at least 2 feet from the condenser so it can maintain good airflow.
If you plan to plant trees for shade, plant them no closer to the home than 30 feet. Keep lower branches, those located 6-8 feet from the ground, cut back.
While you’re trimming shrubs back from the condenser, do occasional maintenance at the base by cutting back grass and weeds. Don’t aim the mower so that the grass cuttings are thrown at the A/C fins, as they can clog them up, or, you might send a rock hurtling into the fins. Likewise, be careful if you use a weed eater around the unit.
Inside Your Home
Indoor plants can also have an impact on your HVAC by adding to humidity, and potentially creating a warm, sticky feeling in the home to the point where you turn the thermostat down and increase your energy use.
To learn more about how gardening affects HVAC, contact CCAC, serving the Coastal Bend area.