Awnings are a great way to create shaded areas for spending time outdoors with controlled sun exposure. Awnings can come in all shapes and sizes to suit the needs of your outdoor living space, but awnings can also help with climate control inside your home. Using an awning to protect your air conditioning unit can help it run most efficiently and effectively in your home.

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Awnings can be helpful in the summer time to allow your air conditioner to run as efficiently as possible. However, an awning is only effective under certain conditions. If your summer climate can reach extremely hot, dry temperatures, an awning is most effective to shield the air conditioner from the sun’s heat. Your air conditioner will be able to create cool air more easily if it is not being heated by the sun. An awning’s effectiveness is also determined by the placement of your air conditioner. Certain sides of your home will get more sun exposure, and others will remain shaded for most of the day. An awning is most useful when your air conditioner is on a sunny side of your house. However, if you have other objects such as trees or bushes casting a shadow over your air conditioner already, an awning may not be necessary.

Other barriers to the sunlight can be problematic if they completely enclose the unit. Air conditioners need access to air flow as unrestricted as possible and the ability to properly ventilate. Some people prefer to build entire structures that sit over their air conditioner but if the proper ventilation requirements are not met, your air conditioner may become less efficient and more likely to have mechanical problems.

Putting an awning over your air conditioner is just one way to keep your home cooler in the summer. Awnings over large windows that receive a lot of sun exposure can also help keep your house cool, by controlling the amount of sunlight shining directly into the home. An estimated 65 percent of solar heat gain is removed on windows with southern exposure, and 77 percent of solar heat gain is removed on windows with western exposure when awnings are properly installed. This helps minimize the wear and tear on your air conditioning unit, helping to increase the life span of your unit.