Does shading your AC unit help save money on electricity bill?

You may have seen posts on social media saying, if you put an umbrella over your air conditioning unit, it'll work better and save you money on your electricity bill. 

However, experts say that's not true. 

"Shading an AC unit does not do what people think it is," Greg Yamin with A+ Air Conditioning and Home Solutions said.

"The outdoor unit is actually made to be in extreme weather. So shading it is not a good thing," Roland Arrisola with Stan's Heating, Air, and Plumbing said.

Experts say if you put shade over your AC unit, the hot air coming out won't be able to escape as effectively.

"Air conditioners don't make the house cold, they take the heat out of the house. When air goes across the indoor coil, and it's connected to the outdoor coil, the indoor coil captures the heat in your house, it takes it outside, it gets rid of the heat, and starts over again," Yamin said.

"You have to have clearance for the air conditioner to be able to disperse the heat that it's pulling from inside, which a lot of folks don't understand that is actually the theory of air conditioning. It is heat transfer," Arrisola said.

One thing you can do is rinse out your unit to remove any debris.

Yamin says keep your coils and filter clean, check your refrigerant levels, and have regular maintenance done.

"If it's not properly charged, then it's going to cost you more to operate," he said.

To save on electricity bills, keep the temperature higher if you're leaving your house, close doors when going in and out of your house, close your shades, make sure your ductwork is sealed and that your house has good insulation. Plus, you can use ceiling fans.

Arrisola says the takeaway is not having anything block the air around the unit.

"The human body, you start impeding the air flow that it needs, you're going to start having issues, too, right? An air conditioner is not much different if you start impeding the air flow to it from either inside or out. Like a doctor checks blood pressure, we check static pressure," he said.

Yamin says you can also think of your AC like tire pressure. If your tire's not fully inflated, your fuel efficiency will be worse. If your AC is not properly charged, it won't be as efficient.