While the connection between landscaping and the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling system may not be obvious, enough studies on the subject have been conducted to confirm a relationship between the two. In the blazing heat and humidity of a southwest Illinois summer, it just makes good sense to make things a little easier for your cooling system. With that in mind, here are a few landscaping strategies you can adopt that will relieve a bit of the strain on your overburdened air conditioner. Some also will aid your furnace in the winter.
Landscaping Tips to Help with Cooling
- On the southern and western sides of your home, plant deciduous trees. These sides receive the most direct rays from the sun for the longest part of the day, and will absorb the most heat. Deciduous trees will intercept much of that heat during the cooling season, and provide shade instead. The U.S. Department of Energy calculated that a strategy like this might save up to $250 in energy costs each year, and a Pennsylvania study also confirmed that cooling needs could be significantly reduced when adding shade trees around the home.
- Where planting shade trees is not practical, vines and shrubs are almost as effective if planted on the south and west sides of the home.
- During winter, the deciduous trees will lose their leaves and no longer block the sun’s rays, but will permit warmth to be absorbed into the home, lessening strain on your heating system.
- Plant shrubs directly adjacent to your outdoor air conditioning unit. A Department of Energy study from 1995 found that shielding the cooling unit itself increased its overall efficiency by as much as 10-15 percent, simply because it was shielded from the most direct rays of summer sunshine.
At Ernst Heating and Cooling, our main office may be located in Hamel, but we have been serving a much broader area of southwest Illinois for over 50 years, including Highland, Glen Carbon, Edwardsville, Troy, Staunton and Collinsville. Stop by our office to discuss any home comfort issues you may have, or contact us through our website.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, and Troy, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about landscaping and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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