Your air conditioner’s outside unit helps keep home temperatures comfortable and makes your Texas home more livable in the sweltering heat. Unfortunately, it can be a little unsightly and detract from your landscaping efforts.
If you’d like to enhance the beauty of your yard, you may be wondering how to hide an air conditioner unit outside.
The good news is that there are many options you can choose from. Simply consider the amount of space you have, and your preferred aesthetics, and you’re off to the races. However, you also want to be careful not to do this the wrong way.
Here is our advice for hiding an AC unit outside.
Things to Consider Before Hiding Your Outdoor Air Conditioner
Before you jump right in and hide your outdoor AC unit, there are some things you need to keep in mind for both safety and functionality.
Should You Cover Your AC Unit Outside?
From a design standpoint, you may think coving up the unit is a simple solution, but the fact is, your HVAC’s condenser unit needs space to breathe, especially the top. It’s a similar explanation for why you shouldn’t block cold air return vents inside your home.
Some people believe that covering the air conditioning unit when not in use will protect it from the elements, but the opposite is true. In fact, AC units are built to withstand all sorts of weather and if you cover it up, you only increase the chances that parts will rust and corrode. This can lead to a whole host of problems like excessive noise or the need to not only repair but replace the unit altogether.
At Diamond Blue Air, we recommend leaving at least 60 inches of clearance at the top of the unit to maintain proper airflow and keep things working in tiptop shape.
Maintain Clearance on All Sides of the AC Unit
In order to work properly, your outside AC unit needs an air flow. If you block the air flow, by placing a fence, screen, or plants too close to the unit, it will have to work harder to cool your home. This can result in higher energy bills and the potential failure of your air conditioner. It can be one reason why your air conditioner isn’t as cold as it used to be.
It is recommended, by most manufacturers, that air conditioners have at least 12 inches of clearance on all sides. For maximum performance, leave 24 inches of clearance on all sides.
Leave Room for AC Maintenance
To remain in proper working order, air conditioning units require regular ac maintenance. The maintenance checks will prevent problems before they start, and identify any issues that are occurring with the unit.
And, sometimes, an outdoor air conditioning unit acts up. Sometimes the unit freezes or starts to blow hot air instead of cool. While we are here to help with AC repairs in Irving and elsewhere around DFW, there is no reason to cause a problem before it otherwise happens. Regular maintenance (and being able to reach your outside unit) will help prevent problems from happening in the first place.
The easier it is for us to access the outdoor unit, the easy it is for us to perform maintenance and repairs. And the easier it is for us to do these things, the faster you can get back to cool and comfortable indoor temperatures.
How Can I Hide My Air Conditioner Outside?
Fortunately, there are many creative options for hiding your outside unit. As long as you account for the considerations listed above, you can get as creative as you want with your AC enclosure!
Here are just a few suggestions for how to hide an air conditioner unit outside:
1. Plant Some Shrubs
Shrubs are a great way to beautify your yard AND hide your outdoor air conditioner unit.
Choose something that fits your style and that you will be happy with for years to come. Consider something colorful, like fast-growing hydrangeas or tall, drought-resistant evergreens.
Just remember to leave enough room around the unit and to stay on top of any necessary pruning to maintain proper airflow.
2. Build a Picket Fence
Picket fences are the quintessential landscaping feature for American homes. Why not extend the look to your air conditioner? This choice makes even more sense if you already have a picket fence around your yard, creating some continuity.
You can buy a premade picket fence or put your handiness to the test and build one yourself. Traditionally, these fences are made of wood, painted white, and have vertical slats. But, if you are looking for a more unique and modern look, consider running the wooden slats horizontally and leaving them unpainted.
3. Use Planter Boxes
Stacking large wooden planter boxes around two sides of the ac unit will keep it accessible and make it something nice to look at.
Once the boxes are in place, you can plant whatever flowers and plants make sense for the light in the area and the desired height of your coverage.
Choose boxes that are high enough to conceal the unit. And remember, the air around the ac unit is going to be hot, so be sure to find plants that are able to tolerate this level of heat.
4. Plant Ornamental Trees and Grasses
If you don’t want to go through the effort of placing large planter boxes, you can plant them directly into the ground around the unit.
As long as you remember to leave enough space for the plants to grow without restricting airflow, you are good to go!
Consider tall ornamental grasses, flowing bushes like roses, lavender, or dwarf ornamental trees like dwarf Korean Lilac or Lavender Twist Redbud.
Just remember that if you are planting a tree that sheds blossoms or leaves, do your best to keep the unit free from debris. This is something that can be ensured with regular AC maintenance.
5. Strategically Place Large Planters
If your outdoor ac unit is positioned on or near a patio, using large planters may be one of your better options.
You can circle these planters (and large plants) around the unit, acting as a visual shield while still providing the space for maintenance and proper operation.
Pampas Grass and Cosmos are two excellent heat-tolerant plants that could be ideal in this scenario.
6. Use a Privacy Screen
A privacy screen is an excellent way to make your backyard more attractive while also hiding your air conditioner.
These freestanding screens are available in a number of different patterns and colors which can increase airflow around the unit and blend perfectly with your yard’s decor. If you want something slightly shorter, consider lattice panels.
7. Erect a Trellis
An iron or wooden trellis can camouflage your ac. This is a simple and easy solution providing near-instant results.
A trellis is also an easy way to add garden features to your yard. Place the trellis at the appropriate distance from the ac unit then plant climbing plants like English Ivy to grow up the front and then place a garden bed in front of that! No one will even know your air conditioner is there!
Air Conditioners Don’t Have to be an Eyesore
Knowing how to hide an air conditioner outside can quickly turn your yard from drab to fab. There is no need to be unhappy with the appearance of your ac condenser unit when there are so many wonderful and creative options available for camouflage.
Now that you have gone through the effort of hiding your unit, take steps to make sure that it stays in proper working order. When it is time to service your home’s air conditioner, Diamond Blue Air is the top choice for both air conditioning repair and maintenance. Based in Irving, we service DFW and the surrounding areas.
Give us a call at 469-200-3100 today to get on an annual maintenance plan or to upgrade your HVAC system.