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How Trees Can Save Your HVAC Money

The gentle shade of a few leafy trees does more than make your backyard more enjoyable. It also rewards you with HVAC savings by keeping San Diego's sultry late-summer heat out of your house.

Trees Help Out Your A/C

The more sunlight hits your home, the faster your home heats up and the more energy your air conditioner has to use to cool it. By providing shade and removing heat as they release water from their leaves, trees help keep your home cooler. A few trees correctly placed to shade your roof and walls can reduce your cooling costs by 10 to 50 percent.

Even short trees and shrubs help by shading your driveway, walkways and other hard surfaces. The cooler these surfaces are, the less heat they'll radiate toward your home.

Trees that shade your air conditioner's outdoor condenser unit help increase the unit's efficiency by 3 to 5 percent. While that might not be a huge increase, it can still help you save when combined with other steps you can take to increase your A/C's efficiency.

Your Planting Plan Matters

The greatest warm-weather HVAC savings come from planting deciduous trees on the west side of the house, followed by the northwest and east side. Before you plant trees on the south side, consider whether or not you'll mind the branches interfering with your winter sunshine. If you enjoy cooling breezes from the ocean, avoid planting a solid row of trees.

While it might be tempting to plant fast growers, keep in mind these species often have short lifespans. For the San Diego area, crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia), shoestring acacia (Acacia stenophylla), and coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) are reliable choices.

When you landscape around your condenser unit, keep all vegetation at least 18 inches away from the unit. If planted too close, plants will impede airflow and lower the system's efficiency.

To learn more about landscaping for HVAC savings, get in touch with us at Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning in the San Diego, Lacosta, and Oceanside area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).