Air conditioning systems are a necessity in virtually all U.S. homes. However, outdoor HVAC units don’t really do much to improve the look of landscaping. That’s why homeowners and air conditioning professionals have gotten creative with ways to conceal these units. Here are some of the ways we have seen homeowners hide their HVAC unit.
Fencing and Screens
One of the easiest and quickest ways to conceal an HVAC unit is to erect a decorative fence or trellis around it. When considering the trellis or fence design, get inspiration from other areas of the home or landscape so that it will blend in. For example, mirror a design used in other fencing or in your landscape edging. Leave the unit open on at least one side to provide access.
Another great option is using natural stone or brick to build a short three-sided wall around your unit. Again, use materials that are similar to those used in your home construction or driveway so that the HVAC wall doesn’t stand out awkwardly.
Shrubs and Trees
You can also simply add a few plants to your landscaping to create a natural fence around the HVAC unit. Opt for dwarf varieties of evergreen shrubs and trees, and plant them two feet apart. As they grow, keep them trimmed and eventually they will form a single hedge or a fence. Keep the plants two feet away from the HVAC unit to prevent them from blocking the airflow.
Pre-Made HVAC Covers
Pre-made HVAC covers come in almost any design and material imaginable, from wood slats to decorative metal. When purchasing one of these pre-made covers, it’s important to first accurately measure the width, depth, and height of your unit to ensure that it will fit. Additionally, only opt for units that have plenty of open space to allow for proper air flow.
Things to Avoid
No matter what method of concealment you choose, here are some things we recommend you avoid to prevent damage and other problems. First, never fully enclose the unit in anything that doesn't have ventilation. The compressor needs to pull in air to work, and if it can’t do that it will likely break down sooner. Secondly, never fully enclose a unit, as it makes it extremely difficult for service personnel to perform maintenance or repairs. Similarly, leave at least two feet of space between walls or fencing and the HVAC unit to allow access to all sides for proper inspections.