Does putting a tent or umbrella over your AC make it run better?

Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 10:55 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Rising power bills from the intense heat are causing people to come up with creative ways to try to lower them. One approach is placing tents or umbrellas over their unit.

Kerry Adkins, owner of OnTime Service, laughed as he debunked the misconception, stating, “Uh... no! It doesn’t.” Adkins cautions against viral social media trends portraying AC units enveloped in tents or umbrellas.

In fact, Adkins elaborated, “It can actually make your air conditioner work harder.” He elucidates that most AC units are designed to draw air from the sides, cool indoor spaces, and expel hot air from the top.

“If you put a tent above it and the tent is low, all of that hot air it’s discharging out the top gets looped right back down to the unit and it can’t dissipate that heat,” Adkins explained, underscoring that this recycling of hot air places unnecessary strain on the unit.

Interestingly, Adkins does endorse the notion of shaded units. “On average, a unit that’s in the shade is going to be about 3% more efficient,” he asserted. Sun exposure may expedite the breakdown of AC parts, making the idea of shading a plausible strategy.

If proactive measures are a necessity, Adkins suggests opting for a more effective approach. “Installing an awning on your house is a better way to create shade,” he advises. Beyond this, adhering to regular maintenance routines emerges as the most optimal route to enhance AC unit efficiency.

Adkins explained, “If there’s weeds growing around it, keep that cut back. If that outside unit hasn’t been cleaned in a long time, get it cleaned.” Neglecting cleaning procedures can lead to airflow impediments. Additionally, the simple act of maintaining and replacing air filters as scheduled can play a pivotal role.

For a cooler home, Adkins recommended drawing blinds and curtains on the sunny side of your house and utilizing ceiling fans if available. All these steps contribute to improving your AC unit’s efficiency and ensuring your abode remains a comfortable oasis even amidst the scorching heat.

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