On a hot day, it sure feels good to get out of the sun, whether that’s under a tree or in the shadow of a tall building. The air in the shade is cooler, and you’re more comfortable for it.

Your air conditioner isn’t any different. Like most people, air conditioners prefer the shade, as well – they work better when the air they’re cooling isn’t as hot to begin with.

For this reason, trees and awnings can make a big difference in the unit’s efficiency. But there’s one thing that’s even better than either a tree or an awning when it comes to cooling the air around your air conditioning system: a storage compartment. By making this one simple change, you can greatly increase your air conditioning system’s maximum cooling output.

What do you need? Plywood and common lumber, mostly. You’ll need it to construct a storage compartment with a sloped roof that (most likely) attaches to your house.

There’s two reasons behind this shape. One is purely aesthetic. The angle is likely similar to the angles of your home’s roof. The second reason accessibility – it’s easier to service the unit with the extra clearance.

Now, you can build this storage compartment as big or small as you please. The main consideration is that there be airflow. After all, what’s the point in shading the unit if it can’t draw in any air?

Naturally, a bigger storage compartment allows for more airflow. An added benefit of a large storage compartment is that It can also double as a place to keep gardening equipment such as tools and fertilizer. If you’re going to the trouble of building this kind of structure, you might as well make it more versatile while you’re at it.

So, are you all ready to start building your storage compartment? Don’t get to hammering away just yet. Even if you’re sure the unit will get enough airflow with the design you have in mind, you might be dead wrong. Consult with you air conditioning service provider to determine whether you’ll be providing sufficient clearance before kicking off the project.