Playing Hide And Seek With Your Central Air: Tips For Keeping The Outdoor Unit Out Of Sight

Central air conditioning units are almost a staple of backyard scenery in areas with hot climates. Although these units are vital for helping you keep your home comfortable, the unit itself can be a bit of an eyesore. If you like entertaining and take pride in your backyard, you may be looking for methods to get that unit out of sight. Here are some great ideas to hide the air conditioning unit without getting into trouble with your HVAC system technician.

Planting Around the Unit

One of the most effective methods to hide the unit without disrupting your landscaping is to add some climbing vines to your current backyard layout. Install a trellis to enclose the unit on the sides where it would be visible, but leave two to three feet between the unit and the trellis. This ensures that you don't hinder air circulation. Then, plant climbing vines that won't be susceptible to the heat the air conditioning unit produces. Vines like Star Jasmine and Algerian Ivy are great options for this.

You can also plant tall, ornamental grasses around the area where the unit is installed. Many ornamental grasses grow several feet tall, providing great cover for the air conditioning unit. Just make sure you use some rock material to cover the planting bed, because the rocks are safer than mulch. Mulch can get drawn into the compressor and damage the fan.

Use Caution with Irrigation

If you plan to plant vines and grasses, you'll need to make sure that they have sufficient water. Either plant greens that don't require much water, or look for a drip irrigation system that you can use to ensure that the roots are watered without having any water run toward the fan. This keeps the fan protected from moisture while ensuring that your new plants have the water that they need to thrive. A landscaper can help you find a drip irrigation system that will fit.

Build a Fence

If you'd rather not have grasses or vines to attend to, you can opt for a decorative fence instead. As with a trellis, aim for two to three feet of open space around the unit. It'll need that space for proper circulation. Otherwise, the fan may overheat from insufficient air flow.

In addition, the space between the unit and the fence provides room for a service technician to move around when necessary. Since you'll need to have the system serviced and cleaned, this is an important consideration.

If the fence encloses the case completely, make sure that the gate you put on it is wide enough to accommodate the entire unit. It will simplify the process you ever have to replace the central air unit. Even if you build around all four sides, make sure that you don't enclose the top. Covering the top of the compressor will cause heat buildup that can damage the air conditioner.

Make the Most of an Enclosure

If you're going to build a fence anyway, make it taller than the unit and turn it into a storage space. Keep gardening tools and other outdoor supplies inside where they're out of sight but easily accessible. This can save you from additional needless expenses for storage space.

Instead of building a fence, capitalize on the opportunity to express your own creativity. Create a barrier with wooden slats if you want something that is as decorative as it is functional. If you have a country design to your landscaping, a small cottage-like enclosure will cover the unit nicely and fit your overall landscaping. The top is typically well-vented, protecting your unit from heat buildup.

As you can see, there are many different options for air conditioning camouflage. If you like the central air conditioning but don't want the unit standing out in your yard, consider these options to find the best decorative treatment for your yard.