Let’s face it, an outside air conditioning (AC) unit does not add curb appeal to your home. However, there are multiple ways you can safely camouflage this piece of essential equipment without breaking the bank or wasting your precious weekend time.
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Consider This First
The most important thing to consider when concealing your outside unit is to never block airflow around the equipment. You’ll only impede its operation (so it won’t cool your space as well) and it might overheat.
Make sure your creative solution allows for access when it’s time for residential HVAC service or repairs.
Keep Your Air Conditioner Clean
It's always a good idea to do the occasional spot check around your outdoor unit and brush away any obvious debris that could cause a blockage. Among other things, a lack of airflow promotes mold growth and a build-up of grime can eventually damage the interior components.
If your AC or heat pump has moss growing on it, or inside of it, that needs to be cleaned off and cleaned out. As the moss grows, the coils get plugged up. If the coils get plugged up, the unit can no longer “breathe.” And, it will eventually stop working. You can clean the moss off the unit with a simple soap and water solution or a commercial cleaning product.
Disguising Your Air Conditioner
One way to conceal an outdoor AC unit is with a small fence. This is an easy, affordable way to hide the unit safely. There are fences made specifically for outdoor units with appropriate materials and size dimensions tailored to your individual unit. These can be found at your local hardware or department stores, as well as online retailers. Just make sure it’s removable for a technician to access your unit for maintenance and repairs.
Another option is to get creative and make your own fence cover! These can be made of wood, vinyl or other materials and painted with your favorite designs or colors to spruce up your outdoor landscaping.
Other creative options for camouflaging your outside condensing unit are; DIY lattice or vine wall, pallet planter or a decorative garden structure. Just don’t forget to keep the equipment accessible for service.
Another great option is natural outdoor plants or greenery. Large plants that would function well around the unit would be caladium or elephant ears.These gorgeous, exotic looking plants get tall enough to hide your AC unit. Remember to keep them far enough away from the heat given off by your condensing unit, and to leave at least 3-4 feet of space for the repair technician.
One of the main things people wonder about, is if there are outdoor AC covers for the unit during the cold winter months. The answer to this is, yes there are! There are a variety of these on the market today. A cover will keep your AC coils a little cleaner so it may run more efficiently when you begin to use it again in the spring/summer. A cover will prevent debris like leaves, sticks, and other yard waste from blowing into your AC unit. It also helps prevent water from directly resting on your coils and freezing, which could eventually be damaging.
Maintain Your Air Conditioner
Other than your home and vehicle, HVAC units can be one of the most expensive investments for your property. The main thing is to keep them serviced, maintained on a regular basis, and keep up with things mentioned in this article to keep them running efficiently for many years to come (as well as camouflaged!)