When it comes to camouflaging outdoor air conditioning units, our technicians have seen it all. And if there’s one thing we know for certain, there are good ways and bad ways to do this. So as we greet warmer temperatures, and home owners start thinking about getting outdoors and working on landscaping projects, here are some of our top tips for hiding your HVAC unit in a way that’s not only pleasing to the eye, but also appropriate for proper air circulation and service.
Remember the ground rules. When considering how to hide your unit from view, remember that it needs adequate clearance around and above it in order to operate properly and achieve optimum efficiency. Manufacturers generally agree that plants should not be closer than 18 inches from your outdoor unit. We recommend that you leave at least 2-3 ft. clearance around your equipment, and at least 5 ft. above it.
Why? Because covering it will lower its efficiency – it heats up the space around it. If air can’t circulate properly, you’ll be looking at more service calls and a shorter life span of your system. It also limits the access for service technicians to do their job. Some of the ways you can meet these requirements and make the appearance of your unit less of an eye sore are included in our top tips.
Build a natural wall – You can erect a natural-looking barrier using bricks, stone, or other similar materials that serves the same purpose as a fence. It can be adorned with plants, climbing ivy or other natural elements that feel organic to the surrounding area.
Create storage – By building a fence or wall higher and wider than the A/C, you can create extra storage to house gardening tools, hoses and other supplies. You can include built-in shelves or dividers to keep your stored items organized.
Erect screens or fences – There are a variety of pre-made screens or fences available specifically for this purpose, or get creative and come up with your own design. Whether it’s wooden, lattice fencing or resin panels, this can help block some of the sound when your A/C is running. But remember to leave an opening or install a gate at least as big as the unit (or preferably larger) for when it needs to replaced in the future.
Landscape with plants or shrubs – With a little thoughtful landscaping, you can create a pleasing arrangement that pulls the eye away form the unit and on to your landscaping. For year round coverage, look for evergreens that will hide your unit no matter the season. Be sure to know how much room for growth younger plants need to avoid crowding your system. Also, be sure you are choosing hearty plants and shrubs that can withstand the warm air that is constantly blowing from your unit. Make sure to regularly check the perimeter for debris or overgrown bushes.
Add a trellis – A small trellis (again, with proper clearance), can serve as a pleasing element in your yard and draw the eye away from the A/C. By adding climbing vines or other greenery, it can even provide shade for your equipment, which keeps it from working so hard.
No matter how you choose to mask your outdoor A/C unit, make sure you leave plenty of space around and above it in order to allow for future service calls and sufficient air circulation. Have questions? Give us a call … we’re happy to help.