Your AC condenser coils are located on the outside of your house. The reason for this is that they have to cool the superheated refrigerant enough that it condenses back to a liquid and is ready to travel back to the evaporator. There are several factors that can combine to undermine the efficiency of your AC coils. Simply shading your coils can vastly improve the efficiency of your unit.
Performance Problems with Hot Coils
On the inside of your coils, you have a fan that pushes air through the rows of fins that make up the coils. As this air moves over the coils, it extracts heat until the refrigerant is cool enough. On the other hand, as the sun beats down on the coils, they can absorb heat from the sun, and the hotter your coils get, the longer it takes to cool the refrigerant running through them. Also, as your yard fills up with hot air, it only exacerbates the problem. Thus, finding some way to shade your coils is a good move for boosting efficiency.
Why Building a Shade Screen Is a Bad Idea
Some homeowners will build a shade screen, which basically looks like a fence panel sitting right in front of your unit. The problem with a shade screen is that in order to put the screen close enough to actually shade your coils, you can actually end up blocking airflow.
Use a Tree Instead
Using a tree to shade your coils makes better sense than a shade screen for several reasons. A tall tree with a large crown should provide plenty of shade for your coils without blocking airflow. Not only will this shade help to keep your coils cool, it can also prevent your house from heating up. As an added benefit of planting trees, they can actually cool the air around your home through the process of evapotranspiration. Thus, trees create a large volume of cool air, which will only help your coils to cool the refrigerant running through them more quickly.
Once you understand how your AC coils work, you can take steps to improve the efficiency of your system. While buying a highly efficient AC unit is a good step toward lowering your cooling costs, you should still do whatever you can at home to get the most from your equipment. Shading your coils with a tree can boost system efficiency while improving the looks of your yard at the same time. For further assistance, contact a local air conditioning contractor.