Air Conditioning Units & Plants

Air Conditioning Units & Plants

With summer here, flowers are in full bloom. Did you know what grows and where it grows can lower the efficiency of your air conditioner? If plants or shrubs are too close to your unit, it to overheat.

air conditioning unit surrounded by plants

Pictured here is an actual Aire Serv job. A client called because her air conditioner stopped working. Our technician Bruce quickly realized flowers were planted too closely to the unit. It had gotten so hot, Bruce said he nearly burned his hand.

Know Your Air Conditioner

The performance of your air conditioner relies on unobstructed air circulation into and out of the condenser coil. The blower fan takes in fresh air through grilles on the sides of the cabinet, channels the air through the condenser coil passages and passes the air from the unit's top. Nearby walls, fences or vegetation may interfere with the free flow of air into the unit.

Shrubs and Plants

Shrubs and plants should be 3-feet away from your air conditioning unit. Anything closer than that will not only act slow down air movement, it can also shed leaves and twigs that might end around the sides of the unit. Grasses and perennials that grow more than 6 inches high should also be planted at least 2-to-3 feet away from the base of the unit because ventilation for the unit is also drawn from that area.

Whatever plants you have around your condenser unit, be sure to keep woody plants pruned neatly. If you really want the air conditioning unit hidden, you might want to think about a solid fence or low wall at the same distance as plants. It will require less maintenance, and you won’t have to buy fertilizer.

Trees and Air Flow


Gray air conditioner

The coolness provided by shade allows faster dissipation of heat from a condenser on a hot day, so planting a tree will help unit efficiency. The National Fire Protection Association says that to be fire-safe, the tree must be planted at least 30 feet from the house and cleared of branches from 6 to 10 feet up from the ground.

More Information

We know how uncomfortable it can be when your air conditioner fails. Aire Serv is here for you 24/7 to help solve your hot weather issues.