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Xeriscaping for Your HVAC System

When we talk about HVAC maintenance, one thing we find ourselves constantly reminding our customers to do is to clean up the area around the compressor. The box outside your home with the spinning fan is an essential part of your cooling system, but the tiny fins surrounding the condenser coil only works when air can be pulled through that grill efficiently. We recommend keeping at least three feet of space around all sides of the condenser unit free of obstructions. You should also check your unit after a storm to make sure no debris has been brushed up beside it.

Then again, if you’re tired of dealing with brush and hedge trimming, you should try xeriscaping around the condenser.

Xeriscaping – What is it?

In arid parts of the US, xeriscaping (also known as xeroscaping or zero-scaping) is a system of yard management and landscaping that makes use of arid plants, rocks, and gravel to decorate your yard. The goal is to reduce the amount of water needed to keep your home beautiful but it’s also an effective way around dealing with overbearing hedges, weeds, and bushes.

In addition to lower water consumption, xeriscaping reduces the amount of maintenance needed for your yard resulting in cheaper maintenance (no water, fertilizer, or lawnmower-fuel costs) and reductions in noise, water-table, and air pollution from maintenance efforts.

The main drawback to xeriscaping is its high initial installation cost. Like most resource-efficient things, many people do not already have these systems installed so the initial setup is expensive. Whether it’s LED lighting, a more efficient HVAC System, or solar panels, the startup costs can seem prohibitive to newcomers.

One other thing to keep in mind is your home owner’s association. Many HOAs have specific rules about how lawns and yards should look. Since your HVAC system is usually out of sight anyway, this often doesn’t apply, but you should check with your HOA guidelines before tearing up your yard just to sae on some yard work.

Minimize the Installation Cost

Xeriscaping a green lawn is expensive. But xeriscaping is cheaper than traditional landscaping. If you’re already having work done (plumbing or underground cable work) then this is the best time to have the area around your compressor xeriscaped. It will be cheaper than replacing the lawn or hedges you’ll have torn up and you won’t’ have to worry about maintenance going forward.

If you’re planning on installing plants that survive on little water, keep in mind that many arid breeds of plants do not do well with cold weather. Be cautious when selecting how you want to design the area around your compressor and don’t place plants that will die during their first winter.