Tips for your outdoor unit

  • By Beth Stiles
  • 05 Sep, 2017

Your outdoor Air Conditioner or Heat Pump is one of the larger investments that you will make for your home. So don’t make the mistake of forgetting that once it’s installed, you’ll need to care for it a few times a year.   Everyone knows that it is recommended by the manufacturer, to have your system serviced annually to protect your warranty. But don’t forget that part of that maintenance is keep the unit clear of debris, weeds and yes, even landscaping.

Landscaping

Proper landscaping around your outdoor unit both enhances the appearance of your yard and can help reduce energy bills by shading the unit so it doesn’t have to work as hard to cool the air. Why invest in a high efficiency unit, and then starve it of air and efficiency and pay more for it, with higher electric bills? With the proper placement and selection of ground covers, vines, shrubs and trees, you can keep an air conditioning unit out of sight and shaded, while improving the appearance of your landscape.

Before planning anything around your outdoor unit, plan your landscaping so that you leave a minimum of 2 to 3 fees of open space all the way around your unit to ensure there is adequate airflow for efficient operation. Don’t plant anything that will block the access panel, which would prevent servicing of the equipment.

Building a deck? 

Be mindful that an outdoor unit must pull air into the equipment and then back out. Decks that are build over an outdoor unit can “starve” it and cause premature equipment failure, lower efficiency and more money out of your pocket.

Weed eating around your unit? 

 Don’t get too close! Many systems are damaged by the weed eater string and most of that damage can be unrepairable causing the unit to leak refrigerant and fail.

If you plan out your approach properly, you can have that beautiful yard AND a high efficiency system.

By Beth Stiles 05 Sep, 2017
It’s a sad fact: often, new HVAC systems are purchased only after it’s stopped working and cannot be repaired. A regularly checked and conditioned unit will often give signs that it’s on its last legs. It could be: high cooling and heating costs, lack of warmer or cooler air, making various “I’m getting old” noises.  Do you take a chance to see if you can get another year out of it? Just be mindful that if it goes, you could be in the middle of a terrible cold snap or in full on summer mode. And a new unit isn’t something you can replace same day. So when is the best time to buy a new system? The answer you may not want to hear is while it’s still working. However, if you insist on waiting for it to go belly up, please do your homework before hand so you can be smart about what you’ll be getting. Consider shopping around when you know your unit is still working. Three factors to keep in mind:

  1. The right size: Just like Goldilocks’ bed, you don’t want one that’s too small or too big, but rather one that’s just right.
  2. Check your current ducts. Get a pro to look around to be sure they’re efficient and in good working order.
  3. The right contractor: Referrals! Referrals! Referrals! Just because someone comes cheap does not mean they’re the right one for the job.
Once you pick a new system, you’re just getting started with energy costs. You might save on the purchase, but if you’re not getting the best energy use possible, you’re spending way more than you should. A new unit can last 12 to 20 years. If you’re wasting 10% per month, that could prove very costly in the end!

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By Beth Stiles 05 Sep, 2017

Your outdoor Air Conditioner or Heat Pump is one of the larger investments that you will make for your home. So don’t make the mistake of forgetting that once it’s installed, you’ll need to care for it a few times a year.   Everyone knows that it is recommended by the manufacturer, to have your system serviced annually to protect your warranty. But don’t forget that part of that maintenance is keep the unit clear of debris, weeds and yes, even landscaping.

Landscaping

Proper landscaping around your outdoor unit both enhances the appearance of your yard and can help reduce energy bills by shading the unit so it doesn’t have to work as hard to cool the air. Why invest in a high efficiency unit, and then starve it of air and efficiency and pay more for it, with higher electric bills? With the proper placement and selection of ground covers, vines, shrubs and trees, you can keep an air conditioning unit out of sight and shaded, while improving the appearance of your landscape.

Before planning anything around your outdoor unit, plan your landscaping so that you leave a minimum of 2 to 3 fees of open space all the way around your unit to ensure there is adequate airflow for efficient operation. Don’t plant anything that will block the access panel, which would prevent servicing of the equipment.

Building a deck? 

Be mindful that an outdoor unit must pull air into the equipment and then back out. Decks that are build over an outdoor unit can “starve” it and cause premature equipment failure, lower efficiency and more money out of your pocket.

Weed eating around your unit? 

 Don’t get too close! Many systems are damaged by the weed eater string and most of that damage can be unrepairable causing the unit to leak refrigerant and fail.

If you plan out your approach properly, you can have that beautiful yard AND a high efficiency system.

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