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Landscaping Tips for Outdoor Central Air Conditioning Units

Check out these spring landscaping do’s and don’ts for camouflaging your outdoor AC unit.

When it comes to the ways homeowners camouflage outdoor air conditioning units, we’ve seen some pretty creative efforts. Some of them work, but some of them don’t.

We certainly understand why you might want to conceal their unit, and there are ways to do so that can also help your air conditioner run more efficiently. Take a look at these tips for using landscaping around your unit the right way.

Recommended Clearance

As you plan and execute any type of landscaping around your A/C unit, keep the following in mind:

  • To avoid restricted airflow around the coils, leave adequate space between the unit and your plants (or fencing and decorative yard objects).
  • Make sure plants are at least 2-3 feet from the air conditioning unit on all sides
  • Make sure the air conditioner is easily accessible for maintenance and repairs.
  • If you have trees or other plants growing above the unit, trim regularly to keep a minimum of 5 ft. clearance.

Landscaping and Shade

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, shading your air conditioner with trees can make it as much as 10 percent more efficient. In addition, trees and shrubs can help make the area look more natural. Here are some factors to consider as you make your landscaping plans:

  • When your air conditioner is in the shade, it keeps the temperature down so the unit doesn’t have to work as hard to cool your home.
  • Deciduous trees with high, spreading foliage and crowns that are planted on the south side of your home provide ample shade for both the roof and the air conditioning units below it.
  • Always trim plants, hedges and trees near the air conditioner regularly to maximize airflow and efficiency.
  • If possible, look for surrounding plants that don’t lose their leaves during the colder months (this also reduces the amount of sweeping and raking you do to keep the area clear of debris).
  • Hedges are a common choice, and can be trimmed to the desired shape and height.
  • Potted plants around the air conditioning unit provide greater flexibility than planting directly in the ground (and you can easily move the pots if you need access to the air conditioner).
  • Install a lattice or fence around the A/C unit, and plant climbing vines to provide extra shade and help cool the area.
  • If you install a fence around the unit, remember to include a gate or leave enough open space at least the same size as the unit (or larger) for service and maintenance.

If you have any questions about your air conditioning unit, or want to know more about proper air conditioner clearance, contact us for help. And don’t forget to schedule a routine maintenance visit with us soon to make sure your A/C is ready for summer.