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HVAC professional weighs in on viral social media post to cool home

It’s hot outside and while many are struggling to keep their homes cool, placing shade too close above the outside A/C unit is not recommended by the professionals.  

A social media post that suggests placing an umbrella, tarp, canopy, etc. above the outside unit to provide shade to help cool your home is not recommended. 

Brent Sharrock with Paris Air Conditioning says that providing shade will help but it is important to not block the airflow or place anything directly over the top.  

“This is not at all ok to do for shade,” said Sharrock. “The A/C unit should never have anything over the top. It discharges hot air out of the top and should not be blocked. The A/C unit should be able to breathe.” 

Sharrock suggests putting up a privacy fence, tarp, etc. a few feet away and off to the side of the unit to help during these high temperatures. 

“If you put it to the side, even five or six feet away, it will be ok,” he said. “As long as it’s not trapping the heat from the top of the unit. The hottest part of the day has been between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Someone could put something up a few feet away from their unit that should shade it due to the location of the sun at those times.”  

Running water (or misting fans) on the outside unit during operation is also not recommended as the units are not designed to operate with wet coils all the time. 

Other ways to cool your home is to turn off anything not needed that creates the least amount of heat (lights, etc.) and keep windows, blinds, and doors closed as much as possible. 

“Also, do not cook hot meals if you can keep from it.”