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Is your ugly air conditioner wrecking your home's curb appeal? Use some natural cover to make it disappear!

Landscaping Best Practices Around Your AC Unit

Posted: May 9, 2022 by Andy

From Ashtabula to Ashland, spring is in full swing in Northeast Ohio! Like most homeowners, you've probably spent a lot of time tidying up your yard lately. But have you considered beautifying the area around your central air conditioning system's outside condenser unit?

Can you spot the air conditioner in the beautifully landscaped side yard above? Hint: look closely at the cleverly-placed lattice on the left side of the photo.

Landscaping around your AC unit is a great way to hide it from view without obstructing its airflow. If you're considering this option, know that there's a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Today's article will give you some tips on the ideal way to landscape around your condenser and enhance its efficiency. Before you start, though, it's essential to keep the unit accessible to technicians for seasonal check-ups and repairs.

Also, don't hesitate to call Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling for all of your air conditioner repair needs. We're here for you, 24/7!

Planting distances

Generally speaking, the minimum planting distance is two to three feet away from your condenser, but planting further away is recommended. Remember, plants get larger over time. If you place plant life too close, the unit's airflow will be obstructed, which can cause:

• Decreased energy efficiency
• Shortened system life
• Increased repair frequency

All of these issues cost you more money. Choose your greenery wisely when considering the necessary distance. It's wise to avoid plants that shed branches and leaves or that will spread and grow too close to the condenser. Roots and debris make accessing your AC unit more difficult and obstruct its ventilation. Our technicians will thank you for keeping the area around your AC clear!

Give it some shade

Your kids aren't the only ones trying to get out of the sun's heat in the summer. Adding plants that create shade over your AC unit will help it cool more efficiently.

That said, your AC only wants the shade. Avoid letting piles of leaves cover the system or allowing branches to hang low, restricting its airflow and potentially falling into the unit and causing damage. Debris in the condenser's fan area can prevent your AC system from turning on, which doesn't do your comfort any favors. A good rule is to allow at least five to six feet of clear space above your unit.

Rocks and pavers are your friends

Do you want less grass to mow and fewer weeds to pull? What homeowner doesn't, right? If you long for minimal landscape maintenance, consider adding a gravel garden around your AC unit. It only takes a day or two to set up, and you can find everything you'll need at your local garden center.

Rocks and paver stones prevent weeds and other unwanted plants from growing near the air conditioner. That ground ivy may look pretty, but it'll choke the life out of your condenser unit!

Protect it from the elements

We all know the weather here in Ohio can be unpredictable and often severe. Therefore, it's essential to protect your outdoor unit by using hedges and trees as natural shields while maintaining physical access to the air conditioner.

One way is to create a windbreak for protection from severe weather conditions with sturdy trees. You can do this with evergreen plants to block high winds. These hedges are ideal because they don't lose their leaves in the fall and are simple to maintain.

Another way is to install a lattice box or trellis. These decorative landscaping elements help redirect the air and prevent debris or tall grass from blocking the unit.

These options also help your air conditioner blend in better with the yard without the drudgery of tending to a flower bed.

What plants are best?

It's smart to consider the growth rate and maturity when selecting shrubs, flowers, and other plants to place around your air conditioner. Avoid flowering plants that attract bees and wasps. These pests will nest inside your air conditioning unit, potentially causing damage to it. Also, avoid plants with thorns or sharp leaves like roses and holly because they can make it difficult and uncomfortable for technicians.

Finally, plant large trees carefully. Trees that shed their leaves in the fall will provide shade in the hot summer months, then allow sunlight in winter to keep your house warm and reduce the workload of your furnace. Evergreen plants aren't as tall, but they're great for landscaping around your AC system because they're attractive and help insulate your home.

Can I enclose my AC unit?

The short answer is yes, but with careful planning. There are several ways you can enclose your AC unit without restricting access and airflow.

Consider a lattice box, trellis, or fence to hide the condenser from sight. These are all easy ways to conceal the unit but remember not to cover the top of the AC. It's also helpful to add a door, so your friendly Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling technician can easily access the unit!

These open options can be laced with vines or other types of vegetation that make it hard to see if there's an AC unit there at all.

Beautify the AC area, but don't overdo it

Clever use of shade, mulch, and other options for landscaping around your AC increases your home's curb appeal while safely hiding your AC unit. When following these landscaping tips, remember that you can find space recommendations in your AC unit owner's manual.

Discovered an issue with your AC condenser while landscaping? Don't wait to call Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling for repair, installation, or tune-up service at your Northeast Ohio home. For convenience, you can also schedule online!

 


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