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Safe, Beautiful Ideas for Hiding Your Outside Air Conditioner

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So you’re enjoying some summer refreshments in the backyard, the lawn is mowed, the trees are trimmed, and wait…the clunky, ugly outdoor air conditioner is in plain view.

Keeping your home cool and comfortable requires your indoor and outdoor air conditioner units to work together. But there are some aesthetically pleasing ways to cover that outdoor unit (the AC condenser) without sacrificing your cooling power.

Check out these fun (safe!) ways to hide your outdoor AC unit. And make sure to read our rules for air conditioner clearance to keep your system running smoothly.

AC hiding behind shrubs

Plant a Hedge

A line of fast-growing evergreens or annuals planted around the perimeter of your outdoor air conditioner will soon fill in to create a natural screen. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for air conditioner condenser clearance before you dig, and make sure not to damage any existing roots when you plant.

It’s also worth noting that sticks and leaves can fall into your AC condenser housing. Make sure to clear this debris periodically to keep your AC running at its best. An annual AC tune-up is a good idea for getting a serious clean before the summer season starts.

AC unit surrounded by plants.

Use Planter Boxes & Pots

Placing potted plants and shrubs around your unit is another way to create a natural feel while hiding your HVAC hardware. Use tall plants that hide the condenser unit and build a wall of planters that best suits the look of your home.

If you can’t plant greenery to block your AC, this is another way to achieve a natural look while hiding your condenser from plain view. Again, be conscious of breaking twigs and falling fauna — these things can clog your condenser housing and limit the AC’s cooling power.

Wooden fence covering AC unit.

Build a Fence

Picket fences are often used as garden borders, but they are also quite effective at hiding an outdoor air conditioner unit. For best results, build the fence so it’s slightly taller than the unit and paint or stain it to match your house trim.

Choose a design that offers some airflow to increase your air conditioner’s performance. Slats or lattice design will allow for sufficient air supply.

Trellis built around AC unit.

Roll Out a Trellis

An iron trellis adorned with climbing plants is also one of the best ideas to hide air conditioning units, as it serves as an attractive cover. Trellises come in all shapes and sizes and can be made from wood, metal, or plastic. Place a trellis against the house near the outdoor air conditioner unit and train climbing vines to cover it. Clematis, trumpet vine, and morning glory are all fast-growing vines that will quickly cover a trellis.

Curtain hanging from awning.

Hang a Curtain

A simple solution for hiding an outdoor air conditioner unit is to hang a curtain around it. This can be done with PVC pipe and outdoor fabric, or get creative and choose your own materials. Be sure to leave enough clearance around the unit for proper airflow and ensure that curtains or drapes don’t blow into or on top of the equipment.

Steel box covering AC unit.

Build an AC Box

If you’re handy with woodworking, you can build a simple wooden box to enclose your outdoor air conditioner unit. This will not only hide the unit but also protect it from the elements and keep critters from nesting inside.

Keep in mind that you’ll occasionally need access to your condenser unit. So make sure that the box can be removed or that it can be opened from some angles. And ensure your outdoor AC box has slats or holes to allow air to move in and out.

Outdoor screen

Hide it Behind a Screen

A privacy screen is a great way to hide an outdoor air conditioner unit, and these pieces can be adjusted and moved when you want to refresh your backyard design. There are many different types of privacy screens available, or you could build your own. Just be sure to leave enough clearance around the unit for proper airflow.

Many privacy screens are portable and can be placed at an angle to hide your condenser from the areas you like to lay back and relax outside.

Potted plants in front of AC unit.

Get Creative With Containers

Get creative with planters and other containers to cover and hide your outdoor air conditioner unit. Use large pots, barrels, or wheelbarrows placed on their sides. Or get really creative and upcycle some old furniture into unique planters. Just make sure there’s enough airflow around the unit for it to work properly.

And make sure that items that could damage your air conditioner in a windstorm are secured. The outer housing of your condenser does provide protection. But the impact from flying furniture can still damage the cooling components.

Invest in a Tool Shed

If you want to hide an air conditioner on your property but want a multi-purpose solution, a tool shed is a brilliant option that adds a touch of charm to your space. These sheds are designed to keep your equipment safe from the elements while maintaining an elegant appearance.

Tool sheds come in a variety of styles, sizes, and materials, allowing you to choose one that complements your home’s aesthetics. Whether you prefer a rustic wooden shed or a modern metal design, you can find the perfect fit for your outdoor space.

Good ventilation is crucial to ensure your air conditioner functions optimally. When selecting a tool shed, opt for one with proper ventilation features. Look for sheds with built-in vents or latticework that allow the air to flow freely, preventing your air conditioner from overheating.

When discussing the best ideas to hide air conditioning units, don’t overlook the benefits of investing in a shed. Although it can be a costlier option, one of the key advantages of using a tool shed to hide your air conditioner is the easy access it provides for maintenance and repairs. Many sheds come with hinged doors or removable panels, making it hassle-free to reach your equipment when needed.

Increase Storage With an Aluminum Structure

If you’re looking to blend functionality and aesthetics, an aluminum structure with slats is an excellent choice for hiding your AC unit. This option not only conceals your air conditioner but also provides extra storage space for gardening tools, outdoor cushions, or other items. Here’s why an aluminum structure with slats is worth considering:

Aluminum structures with slats offer a contemporary appearance that can hide an air conditioner and also enhance the overall look of your outdoor space. The clean lines and minimalist design make it a stylish addition that seamlessly integrates with your landscaping.

The slatted design of the aluminum structure allows for proper ventilation while creating a barrier that shields your air conditioner from view. This type of storage structure is one of the best ideas to hide air conditioning units, as it maintains the efficiency of your equipment while providing the privacy you desire.

Lee's technician performing maintenance check on AC unit.

Keep Your AC Flow Going

Remember that an aesthetic improvement on your outdoor AC unit should never come at the expense of efficiency. Make sure that your unit has enough clearance from the materials and structures you use to hide your condenser.

Any outdoor air conditioning equipment should have a minimum of 12 inches of clearance on all sides, including the top.

When not enough cool air passes by the outdoor equipment, the condenser does not disperse heat as efficiently, which is how AC units cool your indoor air. Lower condenser efficiency could lead to a hike in your energy bills.

So even if you’re not hiding your air conditioner with fences or shrubs, make sure that nearby trees and other structures (like a tool shed, maybe) stay 1 foot away from the unit.Want to make sure your idea for hiding your bulky outdoor air conditioner is a safe one? Call a specialist at Lee’s Air and have one of our technicians perform an AC tune-up on your equipment. They’ll optimize your cooling system’s performance and ensure a fence, curtain, or custom-made AC box is also HVAC-friendly.

Schedule Your AC Services With Our Professionals

As you can see, there’s no shortage of ways to hide an air conditioner on your property. Incorporating these creative ideas to hide air conditioning units will not only disguise your HVAC system but also elevate the overall look of your property. Embrace the beauty of these solutions and create a refreshing outdoor oasis that you can enjoy throughout the season.

While these ideas provide beautiful and practical solutions to hide an air conditioner, it’s essential to remember that proper maintenance is crucial for the efficient functioning of your AC. Regular AC tune-ups and professional air conditioning installation ensure that your unit works optimally, keeping your home cool and comfortable during the hottest months.

At Lee’s Air, Plumbing & Heating, we can provide you with a top-notch AC tune-up in Sacramento, CA, or the surrounding area. Our experienced professionals are dedicated to keeping your air conditioning unit in prime condition. Whether you’re looking to enhance the aesthetics of your outdoor space with a new air conditioning installation in Fresno, CA or need a repair, we’ve got you covered.

Schedule your AC services with Lee’s Air, Plumbing & Heating today and enjoy a cool, beautiful, and comfortable home all summer long!

Thomas Howard

Written by Thomas Howard

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