I remember a few years ago seeing an actual study that was done using
instrumentation to determine if there was any difference in shading
the condenser of a central AC. That study showed there was no
difference, as James says. It depended soley on the outside air
temp which didn't change much from the shade.
Whether that applies to a window unit is another question. I would
think it's possible that some of the heat from the sun that is hitting
the unit would heat the metal which in turn is connected to the rest
of the unit, ie the inside part, evaporator, etc. Also, from a
standpoint in answer to the question that was asked in another
thread, it would help cooling the room because by shading the
window AC unit you are almost certainly going to reduce the
heat coming in through the rest of the window. There is no
question that shade or tinting a window reduces heat entering
the building, even if it has no effect on the AC performance
You can feel the heat radiating from the brick in the evening on my
house, and that also heats the air around the condenser. I felt an
efficiency drop when I installed a walkway 3 feet above condenser,
code. I then made a deflector which increased efficiency.
I say, the sun hitting the condenser is like having another window in
the house letting the sun in, and thats without reflective coating.
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