Does Your AC Unit Need to Be in the Shade?

It’s not unusual for homeowners to be worried about their AC condenser — particularly if it’s exposed to direct sunlight — and wonder if they should put it in the shade. In today’s post, Kemnitz Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. takes a look at whether putting an air conditioner in the shade has benefits.

Why Do Air Conditioners Have Outdoor Units?

Regardless of the air conditioner, there’s a part of it that has to be placed outdoors. Window-mounted ACs are mounted with the rear end extending outside, while mini-split and whole-home systems are split into two units, one of which is mounted outdoors. Part of the air conditioner’s cooling cycle involves capturing heat from the indoor space, which then needs to be released outdoors. The condenser (or outdoor unit) houses the condensing coil and cooling mechanisms that release heat outdoors. On hot days, the ambient outdoor temperature can affect the outdoor unit’s efficiency, which can lead to higher energy consumption.

Can Direct Sunlight Affect Your Unit?

Any surface exposed to direct sunlight will absorb solar heat, including your air conditioner’s outdoor unit. However, manufacturers design HVAC enclosures to withstand the elements, including exposure to sunlight. If your intent is to improve the air conditioner’s efficiency, there are other ways to do so that will yield better results, like changing air filters and having leaking air ducts fixed.

Having said that, it doesn’t mean that there is no benefit to putting your air conditioner’s outdoor unit in the shade. A shed or something similar can help protect the outdoor unit from hailstones and airborne debris. If you install a protective structure, make sure that it doesn’t block airflow around the enclosure and that it allows access to the top for maintenance.

Contact Kemnitz for Your HVAC Needs

Kemnitz Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. provides quality HVAC services, including Carrier® heater repair, to customers in Irvine and the surrounding communities. Give us a call at (801) 298-4822 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.

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