UPDATED: Does Covering Your AC Help Cool Your Home?

The summer heat is in full swing, and with that comes the need for your air conditioner to work hard to keep your home feeling comfortable. Many homeowners try different ways to help their AC work more efficiently and produce cooler air. One trend that homeowners have seemed to be trying out is covering their AC units to “produce cooler air”. But is this actually effective?

At ServiceOne, our Omaha HVAC technicians have all of your AC answers. Below, we discuss whether covering or shading your AC unit actually produces colder air in your home.

The view from our experts

After talking to our in-house experts, here is what we’ve discovered. No, putting an umbrella over your AC is not going to do much. While keeping the area around your AC shaded can lower energy usage, you’d have to shade enough of the area to bring down the overall area temp, which a solitary umbrella isn’t going to do. However, if you want to test this theory just make sure the umbrella is up high enough that it’s not trapping heat coming off of the unit itself. But as far as cooling your home, it ultimately depends on the air temperatures that are going into your coils. Most coils on newer units are already shaded, helping keep that air cooler, so  covering your AC won’t necessarily make your home cooler.

Shade might help your system run more efficiently

However, yes, covering your AC unit can indeed help lower energy usage and energy bill to an extent. However, “covering your AC unit” can be confusing. Keeping your AC unit in the shade is a more accurate description.

When the sun beats down on your AC compressor all day, your unit has to work hard to produce cooler air. So, protecting your AC unit with shade can improve your energy efficiency by allowing your compressor to work less. Although it can be difficult to calculate because of circumstances, experts say you can expect to save $100-$250 a year!

Below are some ways any homeowner can help shade their AC unit.

Planting shrubs

Shrubs, bushes and trees are one of the best ways to help shade your AC unit, especially when they are properly placed. However, you will want to consider what side of your home your AC unit is on. Every side of your home endures different amounts of sunlight, so depending on what side your AC unit is on, be sure you are planting trees and shrubs that will thrive in those conditions. 

It’s also important that you do not plant too close to your AC unit, as that can restrict airflow!

Install an overhanging awning

Another way to keep your AC unit shaded is by installing an overhanging awning. An awning will block your compressor unit from sunlight coming from above, and has been seen to help improve energy efficiency. However, if you do decide to install an awning, be sure it’s not blocking air flow around your unit!

Avoid restricting air flow

Lastly, as mentioned a couple times above, it’s important that you are not restricting air flow when covering your AC unit. Covering your unit with things like an umbrella or other similar items can end up causing issues. It’s important that your AC unit has the necessary air flow to continue working properly.

There are many other ways to help keep your home cool, and your energy costs low. There are many things homeowners can do to assist their HVAC system, including: 

  • Keeping blinds closed during the day

  • Utilize your ceiling fan

  • Close doors to unused rooms

  • Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs

When it comes to creating cooler air in your home, covering your AC unit may end up causing more bad than good. However, there are plenty of other ways any homeowner can help assist their AC during the hot months of the year, while also minimizing their energy usage! 

At ServiceOne, our Omaha HVAC technicians can provide you with creative ways to improve the efficiency of your home’s AC. Reach out to one of our Omaha HVAC technicians today with any questions you may have!

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