Xeriscaping is a form of landscaping developed to conserve water in dry climates such as the Coastal Bend area. This type of landscaping can be used around your air conditioner’s outdoor unit to keep it out of sight and running efficiently.
Support Your A/C’s Efficiency
Before you start choosing which species to plant, plan to keep all vegetation at least 2 feet away from the outdoor unit. Also maintain at least a 5-foot clearance above the unit. Vegetation closer than this can interfere with airflow, reducing the A/C’s efficiency and placing strain on the components. Avoid plant and tree species that drop flowers, fruit or seeds. These can clog the A/C unit’s grille and fins, reducing airflow. They’ll also make more cleanup work for you.
Keeping your A/C shaded can improve its energy efficiency by up to 10 percent. One way to do this is with drought-tolerant trees native to Texas. Windmill palm, roughleaf dogwood, and live oak are possible choices. Evergreens are ideal because they won’t drop leaves on the unit. Plant smaller trees northwest and northeast of the outdoor unit so their shadows fall on the unit during the hottest part of the afternoon.
Improve Your A/C’s Appearance
To shade your A/C while also hiding it from view, consider training a climbing vine on a trellis. Vines tend to require less water than trees, making them an even more appropriate choice for xeriscaping. Keep the vines away from the unit so they do not restrict the airflow. Here again, focus on vines native to our area, such as crossvine, Mexican flamevine or star jasmine.
Tall ornamental grasses are another way to obscure the view of your air conditioner while adding to your landscape’s appeal. Some good choices for drought-tolerant grasses are Mexican feathergrass, maiden grass, and muhly grass.
Avoid blocking the view of your outdoor unit from the street. An outdoor unit that’s completely hidden is a vulnerable target for refrigerant and copper thieves, who use your landscaping to conceal themselves while they steal from you.
For more tips on xeriscaping around your air conditioner, contact us at CCAC anywhere in the Corpus Christi and Coastal Bend area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about xeriscaping and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 361-678-2495.
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