Is Your Landscaping Air Conditioner-Friendly?

When designing the landscaping around your home, there are certain things you will definitely want to take the time to consider. Will the color of those flowers coordinate with your home's siding? Will that tree require too much pruning to be worthwhile? One question you probably forget to ask is how the landscaping will accommodate your air conditioner. Here are a few ways to make sure your landscaping is air conditioner-friendly.

Is There Room for a Concrete Pad?

Placing an air conditioner directly on the ground is not a good choice. It will eventually sink into the ground, and it this will cause the cage of the air conditioner to start deteriorating prematurely. So, as you create your landscape, make sure there is space for a concrete pad. The pad does not have to be large; it can just be a few inches wider than the air conditioner. If you have a concrete patio, the patio can do double-duty as the concrete pad for your air conditioner as long as you leave space.

Are Trees a Safe Distance From the Air Conditioner?

Homeowners are always tempted to try and hide the air conditioner behind landscaping. This makes sense since air conditioners are a lot uglier than crabapple trees and pansies. However, placing too many trees, shrubs, and other plants around your air conditioner is not a good move for the air conditioner. These plants restrict airflow, and restricted airflow makes your air conditioner work harder — which can ultimately lead to breakdowns and costly repairs. 

It's okay to try and use trees and shrubs to limit the visibility of your air conditioner, but place them well back from the unit. You really want about three feet of space on all sides of the AC unit. And you'll need to keep the trees and shrubs nicely trimmed to allow for good air circulation. Choose tree varieties that grow slowly so you don't have to do so much maintenance.

Can the HVAC Contractor Reach Your Air Conditioner?

At least once a year, you will need your HVAC contractor to come look over and maintain your AC unit. Make sure your landscaping allows them to access the unit easily for air conditioner service. For example, don't plant a whole bed of delicate flowers in front of the unit where the contractor would have to step. And don't place a pond right next to the unit where the contractor may trip and get wet!

Landscaping and air conditioners are compatible, as long as you follow the tips above.