As with any other home appliance, your air conditioning unit needs regular care. Aside from scheduling a professional AC maintenance once a year, one of the things you need to do to keep your unit functioning well is trim nearby vegetation. Proper yard and lawn care are more than just boosting the curb appeal of your property – it also keeps your home and outdoor AC unit in good shape.

What Happens to Your AC if You Don’t Prioritize Yard Maintenance?
A typical home air conditioning system has both an indoor and outdoor unit. The former is usually located in your basement and is connected to the ductwork. The latter is located outside, usually at the side or back of the home. However, the metal box that houses the condenser coils and compressor usually detracts from the curb appeal of a property, which is why many homeowners conceal them with plants.

Without routine yard and lawn maintenance, these plants can negatively affect your outdoor HVAC units. We list a few problems you might encounter:

Fan Blades Damage
Your outdoor air conditioning unit has a fan inside that helps pump air through the system to keep the inside of your home cool. These fan blades must be able to spin without encountering obstructions. If there are untrimmed plants near the unit, however, it can be damaged by branches or twigs.

The fan blades will not spin if they become bent or if a large piece of debris gets stuck in the fan. Should this happen, your air conditioner will stop working entirely. While this problem can be addressed simply by removing the debris, your unit may require an AC repair or a complete replacement. To protect your AC fan blades from getting damaged, you must trim nearby shrubs and potted plants regularly.

Limited Air Intake
Proper air circulation is crucial to keep the air inside your home cool and comfortable. When you fail to maintain your yard, tall grass and debris can limit your air conditioning unit’s air intake and prevent it from properly cooling. To prevent this problem, trim your lawn regularly and stop bushes from growing near your HVAC equipment.

In the fall, lawn and AC maintenance are important as dried leaves may accumulate on the ground or even form a drift against your AC unit. Get rid of any fallen leaves, twigs, and other debris that may have landed on or around your outdoor AC unit. By keeping the area around your unit clean, you ensure that your air conditioner runs smoothly. Otherwise, it can wear down faster if it struggles to circulate air.

Condensing Coil Issues
To effectively work, your outdoor AC unit collects heat from inside your home and moves it outside. A condensing coil in the outside unit puts the heat into the air. Once the condenser pushes heat into the air, the condenser needs fresher, cooler air to come in. This is what the fan on the top of your AC unit is for.

The air in the unit cannot flow from the condensing coil if there are too many weeds or bushes near it. Weed blockages can also lead to frozen coils. In some cases, the freezing travels up the line, causing the compressor to fail. Without good airflow, the condenser unit will work harder than it is supposed to, expediting the wear and tear of its interior components. Sooner or later, you might have to call a professional for an AC replacement.

Shifting Concrete
As a responsible homeowner, you should keep track of the state of the concrete around your house. Improper watering or poor yard maintenance can sometimes cause a concrete slab to shift.

Shifting concrete can cause extensive damage to your outdoor HVAC unit. If you notice problems with the concrete slab beneath your exterior unit, call a local concrete professional right away. They may either repair or replace the concrete to protect your unit from damage.

Pest Infestations
Trimming shrubs and plants around your AC unit reduces the chances of harboring mice and other pests. These critters usually stay in grassy areas to keep them safe and avoid predators. Not only that, but these pests may also try to make their home inside your AC unit. Whether they make nests in inconvenient spots or gnaw the wires, they may cause severe damage to your equipment.

This is particularly true during the fall and winter seasons. Due to the cold weather, pests seek out sheltered spots. Since you won’t use your AC unit during the cold season, these pests may create nests in its moving parts. Eventually, the cooling system may fail to function once you turn it on in the hotter months. If this is the case for you, get in touch with an AC repair professional.

What Can You Do to Protect Your AC?
One of the best ways to protect your AC is to grow suitable plants that won’t damage your AC condenser unit. You may want to choose plants with an upright growth habit such as arborvitae. These plants spread outward and will quickly overtake the recommended clearance zone. Drought-tolerant, heat-loving plants such as succulents are also a great idea, especially since AC units tend to dispel heat. You should also avoid plants that create debris like deciduous azaleas. These shrubs drop small petals and leaves, which may collect in and around the condenser.

Furthermore, HVAC experts recommend inspecting your equipment at least twice a month and disposing of any loose vegetation or debris. Don’t let standing vegetation grow within two feet of the unit. Doing so allows your unit to pull in the air it needs to control the indoor temperature. To protect your AC throughout the year, consider investing in a professional contractor for your unit’s routine maintenance. They can spot minor issues before they turn into big problems.

Residents of the Greater Phoenix area turn to Cool Zone Air Conditioning and Heating for high-quality HVAC services. You can count on our team of expert AC replacement and repair technicians to ensure your cooling system is in good working order for the warmer months. Call us at (623) 253-1018, or fill out our online contact form to set an appointment or request an estimate.

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