Does Covering Your AC Help Cool Your Home?

When it comes to keeping your home cool, homeowners are open to trying many different things. One trend that many homeowners have been trying recently is covering their outdoor AC unit, but does this really help cool your home?

At ServiceOne, we specialize in all things heating and cooling. Our HVAC Omaha techs can install, repair, and maintain all of your home’s HVAC equipment, and will give advice on the best practices to save energy and optimize comfort. 

Below, we discuss if covering your AC unit actually helps cool 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, Jeremy Ebertowski, our head HVAC technician had this to say, “Condenser coils transfer heat using conduction, so it depends almost solely on the air temps going across the coil. Most coils now are inside of cases and are already technically shaded, although radiant heat can heat up the case very little if that heat is transferred to the fins of the coil.” So no, covering your AC won’t 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. Rather, keeping your AC unit in the shade, is what we mean by this.  

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 one, 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

If you have any questions regarding your home's HVAC Omaha system, give our team a call! Our HVAC Omaha technicians are happy to assist you in any way we can!

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