Adding trees to a home can be attractive to your curb appeal and wallet if you wisely choose what you plant. Any plants you grow around your outdoor unit need to provide adequate shade and leave minimal debris during the year. You want to ensure your outdoor unit is accessible to technicians for preventative maintenance and HVAC repairs by keeping all landscaping at least 24-36 inches away.
Trees and other vegetation planted around your air conditioning unit serve two purposes. One, they provide shade to keep your system from overheating during extremely hot times of the season, resulting in higher efficiency and AC energy savings. The second purpose is to block the appearance of your outdoor unit, so it blends with the rest of your landscaping.
Tree Options for AC Energy Savings
While landscaping your yard sounds easy when you only think of what looks appealing to you, you may not realize what is best for your outdoor unit. Trees provide the most shade for your system, as long as you are careful how close you plant them. With tree planting, it’s best to keep them away from your HVAC unit and use the strategy of providing general shade to the home and unit. Keep them far enough away so root intrusion won’t damage your HVAC unit.
Choose drought-tolerant trees because their branches will tolerate hot, dry air in the summer. Some examples of shady drought-tolerant trees are:
- American Elms
- Thornless Honey Locusts
- Red Maples
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Shagbark Hickory
- Texas Redbud and
- Green Ash.
Shrub Options for AC Energy Savings
Shrubs offer dense greenery to hide your outdoor unit and still provide shade during the hot months. When you decide which shrubs you want, plant them at least 2-3 feet away from the outdoor unit. The measurement should be from the tips of the branches to the air conditioning system. If you plant young plants, you won’t know how long their branches will reach, so plant farther away from your unit to anticipate potential branch growth.
Your air conditioning unit blows out hot air while cooling your home and the heat it sheds kills heat-sensitive shrubs. Avoid berry-producing shrubs; they can create a mess around your outdoor unit. Also, avoid invasive species. Ideal options for shrubbery in your yard include:
- Jerusalem Sage
- Golden Current
- Sandankwa Verburnum
- Bluestem Joint Fir
- Cape Leadwort
- Candelilla and
Vine and Trellis Options for AC Energy Savings
There is also the option of adding a trellis structure to your yard and growing a climbing vine plant for added shade to your outdoor unit. You can install the trellis at least 2 feet in front of your outdoor unit, which allows the vines to grow in the opposite direction of your equipment. The vines grow upward, providing shade and increased AC energy savings when the temperatures start to rise. Consider planting vines, such as:
- Trumpet Vine
- Butterfly Vine and
- Morning Glory
Consider which trees and other plant life are best for your air conditioning system. Boost your AC energy savings with proper shading and reduced debris from nearby vegetation. Call Estes Services for preventative maintenance, installation and HVAC repair. Our NATE-certified technicians will assist you with all your cooling needs this summer!