Sun Protection for Central a/c Condensing Unit

We live in the Phoenix area where the sun and temperatures are intense. From 11:00 a.m. until sundown our condensing unit and compressor have no natural shade from the sun. The unit sits less than 1 foot from an exterior wall. Plantings for shade would be impractical for various reasons.
The system is only 3 years old. The compressor and capacitors have already had to be replaced once (under warranty). We feel the extreme heat was a contributing factor to its failure.
Can anyone suggest a reasonably economical solution to providing some shade for this unit? We briefly considered a specialized misting system that would run anytime the unit is running; however, our water is so hard that I'm sure it would eventually clog or damage the condenser fins.
TIA
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Wayne Boatwright
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It is not as important as it may seem. While the shell will get quite hot, not much of that heat gets beyond the shell. When the unit is operating it is drawing lots of air in and that air is at air temperature and it is that temperature that the system really sees. While there is some heat being radiated from the shell, it is only a minor component. The real factor is the air temperature.
It is possible to spray water on the unit and increase efficiency and in your area that should be efferent, but, it can also result in build up of deposits unless you are flooding the coils.
Adding an additional sun shade would be just adding an additional shell.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Which generates the question: why not divert the condensate drain to the misting apparatus? Condensate is essentially distilled water and mineral free.
But there's probably not much condensate in Phoenix...
How about a giant swamp cooler surrounding the compressor unit?
Oh well.
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On Thu 09 Jul 2009 04:38:35a, HeyBub told us...

That's a very good and creative idea, but...

Not nearly enough condensate.

We had a patio swamp cooler at a previous house out here, but it left a coat of white powder whevever the mist from it was directed. Same problem as a mist system. I'm thinking we may need to build a structure surrounding the unit with enough air space around it, then cover the frame with 90% sun screen material. Not the most attractive option, but it might help.
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Wayne Boatwright
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Must be the AC on the front of the house, since you're concerned about appearances.
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Christopher A. Young
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