To: "SEAINT Listservice" <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Subject: Non-Structural Question - Air Conditioner Cover in Desert
From: "Dennis S. Wish" <dennis.wish(--nospam--at)gte.net>
Date: Thu, 4 May 2000 19:24:48 -0700
Sorry to take up the bandwidth on this one, but I could use some advice. My
home is "Sante-Fe" Style home in the desert near Palm Springs. High summer
temperatures can reach 130 degrees for weeks on end.
I have two Swamp Coolers for temperatures less than 110 degrees (although I
rarely use it over 100 degrees) and a central A/C for hotter temps.
My A/C unit is mounted on the roof (flat roof with parapets). It is exposed
on all sides to allow adequate air flow, but is subjected to excessive roof
top temperatures during the day. 130 degrees on the ground can be over 170
degrees on the roof.
I want to add some type of solar cover over the A/C unit, but don't want to
penetrate the composition roofing to secure it in place (if at all
Does anyone know of a solar screen that can be placed above the unit like a
box within a box that will shade the condenser but allow adequate air flow.
I have considered using a mist system above the unit (as is common in
outdoor restaurants here in the desert). Mist systems can reduce the ambient
temperature by as much as 30 degrees and therefore make the A/C unit more
efficient. The downside is that our water has a very high mineral content
and this can leave deposits on the A/C condenser filters - plugging up the
Do any of you desert dwellers out there have some suggestions to provide
shelter for my A/C unit and make it more efficient? One final comment - the
condenser is taller than the parapet. You can see the unit as you come up
the hill. It was hidden (and shaded) by a massive old tree in the neighbors
yard when we built the house, but the tree was subsequently cut down.
Whatever I do should be attractive.
If necessary, I can provide some pictures of the home to show what the A/C
unit looks like and where it is situated.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
Dennis S. Wish, PE
Structural Engineering Consultant
(208) 361-5447 E-Fax