Shielding an A/C Compressor/Condenser Unit

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Asked the HVAC guys at the jobsite today and they chuckled and said it doesn't make a damn bit of difference...FWIW....
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On Fri 31 Jul 2009 08:11:36p, benick told us...

In that case, maybe I'll just stop worrying about it. :-)
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I read a couple years ago. About a study of this, using two identical houses. Condensor on sun or shade side. They did conclude not enough difference. Still, my experience tells me that things in the sunshine are hotter. And, that's got to make some difference.
I hope Wayne has an AC service company chemically clean the outdoor unit. That will make much more difference than shading.
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

Hmmm, Patio umbrella.
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On Thu 30 Jul 2009 08:47:21p, Tony Hwang told us...

Probably a good idea in some areas, but we've lost 3 to the high winds just this summer. :-)
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On Thu, 30 Jul 2009 22:05:56 GMT, Wayne Boatwright

    Yea it would be good to sheld the unit from the sun, but likey not as much good as you might think. Partly because anything you provide is likely to also block air circulation and because it really does not add as much to the heat load as you might think.
    The A/C unit is likely light colored or metalic. It will tend ot reflect more heat than most serfaces of your home. It also is a very small area compared to the roof, walls and windows of your home.
    My suggestion is to make some effort, but don't over do it and don't block air ciruclation or it will likely reduce overall efficency.
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snipped-for-privacy@arizona.usa.com says...

This comes up every year on various HVAC sites, the consensus is that it does very little. To put some math to it:
The maximum heat gain from a surface directly facing the sun is about 1000 BTUs per square meter. The condenser has maybe a half meter of surface facing the sun at any time, probably not even that since the sun is overhead during the hottest weather.
You didn't say how large your HVAC is, but let's look at a 4 ton unit. That provides 48,000 BTUs of cooling, and depending on the efficiency, has to transfer approximately 55,000 BTUs of heat into the air. The solar gain of 500 BTUs amounts to less than one percent. So all it does is slightly reduce the amount of subcooling, probably not even measurable with typical instruments.
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Good analysis. I've never seen it explained that way before. I have seen at least one study that was done comparing the identical installations of shaded vs no shade and the conclusion was similar. It made no measurable difference in energy usage.
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On Sat 01 Aug 2009 06:46:53a, DT told us...

Thanks, Dennis. This is very interesting information that I didn't know. However, I am less concerned in improving performance (it is more than adequate), than I am in wanting to minimize deterioration from the constant sun exposure.
The house and A/C are both 3 years old. The A/C is a 13 seer 3-1/2 ton unit. It appears to be properly sized for the house.
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

Paint the exposed parts with higly-reflective and durable paint.
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On Sun 02 Aug 2009 10:24:42a, HeyBub told us...

That may be a viable alternative. Thanks!
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Nothing like a dose of glossy white.
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

Yeah, well, it don't cost much... and if you don't like it, you can paint it back.
You know, thinking on it, maybe that white paint they use on roofs would work. It's made for the action and, heck, it's got to be durable.
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On Mon 03 Aug 2009 09:15:16a, HeyBub told us...

I believe that some of those white roof products are supposed to have insulating qualities, too.
Last year I noticed a neighbor resurfacing their roof with one of these white products. They also used the same "paint" to cover their roof- mounted swamp cooler. I should ask if it made a difference.
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