Your air conditioner is an extremely important part of your home, particularly during summer months when temperatures can soar and humidity makes the air sticky and uncomfortable. However, every air conditioner has two different components: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. However, for some people, an outdoor unit is a huge drag on your home’s curb appeal, and can be a sore spot on an otherwise pristine exterior. While your indoor unit is easy to conceal in a closet or up in your attic, your outdoor unit isn’t so simple. On this blog, we’ll explain some of the challenges of concealing an outdoor unit and offer a few valuable tips for how to do it effectively.
Difficulties of Concealing an Outdoor Unit
Let’s be honest: an outdoor unit is large, loud, and can sometimes present a rather stark contrast to the otherwise beautiful appeal of your home’s exterior. A large, oddly-colored box that makes a ton of noise just isn’t something you want people to focus on when they’re walking by or coming to visit your home. So, naturally, concealing it is a rather appealing alternative.
However, you have to keep some important things in mind when hiding your air conditioning unit. First, your outdoor unit needs unrestricted airflow. This is because your outdoor unit is known as your condenser, and contains an important component called your condenser coil. Refrigerant that’s pumped through this coil is extremely hot, and air that is pulled over the coil needs to absorb this heat in order to remove it and keep your home cool. If your condenser can’t get the airflow it needs, it can’t expel the heat into the atmosphere, and your air conditioner simply won’t be able to cool your house off.
Second, your outdoor unit can’t be covered over the top. The reasoning is similar to our previous point: the air that absorbs heat from your condenser coil is expelled out the top of your condenser via the fan in your outdoor unit, which means this air can be extremely hot. Not only can this potentially cause a material to melt or catch fire with too much exposure, but it can also prevent the heat transfer which is necessary to cool your home.
Finally, your condenser coil need to remain clean for best efficiency and functionality, so any concealment solutions shouldn’t involve things like leaves, dirt, or grass. While it’s not completely ill-advised to have your outdoor unit located near plants like bushes, shrubs, or hedges, it’s important to keep these things trimmed back and any nearby grass neatly groomed to reduce the chances of something impacting your coil in the long term.
Ways to Hide Your Air Conditioner
Here are a few things you can do to conceal your air conditioner in a visually-pleasing and effective way.
- Encase your compressor in a specially-designed box: Believe it or not, many manufacturers actually make metallic boxes or cases which are designed to protect and hide your outdoor unit while keeping airflow restriction all the way around to an absolute minimum. These cases can come in a variety of colors, and you can more than likely find one for your compressor which is in a color that looks great and doesn’t stick out like an exposed compressor might. Not to mention this case also protects your system from damage, so it may be a valuable investment should your system be hit by a block of ice during winter or a falling roof tile.
- Cover it with a fence: Fences can not only keep unwanted intruders out of your property, but they can also hide your air conditioner from view while keeping your home looking beautiful. While this is a more expensive endeavor to hide your air conditioner, the benefits can sometimes outweigh the cost pretty significantly.
- Use natural fencing: Finally, plant life can provide an effective shield that doesn’t involve a bulky fence. Shrubs and bushes are both beautiful, effective screens, and easy to maintain: all you need is some occasional water (that an irrigation system can often provide) and a semi-regularly pruning or trimming to keep those growing branches under control. Plus they may be the most beautiful way of concealing your air conditioning unit. The only downside is growing them from scratch can take months or even years, and buying already-grown hedges can be an extremely costly endeavor. Likewise, you’ll need to make sure there’s a radius of at least three feet all the way around your compressor at all times for optimal airflow.
Do you need your air conditioner repaired or a new system installed? Call Tri-City Heating and Cooling at (203) 303-5700 today to request a quote.