The air conditioner can be a major problem when trying to disguise it. Unless you are willing to build and paint the wall, there is not much that can be done about hiding them easily or well. However, with some creativity and work, an AC unit outside your house can still remain hidden from view….
The “how to hide an hvac unit” is a question that has been asked many times. Here are 5 examples of how we hid our air conditioner outside.
Looking for a simple solution to conceal your air conditioner? In this post, we’ll show you how we concealed ours, as well as a few other common options for concealing your outdoor air conditioner. I couldn’t believe how simple it was until we finished.
Contents Table of Contents
- Rules for concealing an outdoor air conditioner
- How We Hid Our Air Conditioner
- Building Materials for the AC Fence
- How Long Does It Take To Build An AC Enclosure?
- How to Build an Air Conditioner Fence
- Pool Equipment Is Hiding
- Top 5 Ways to Hide Your Air Conditioner
- Now it’s your turn.
Rules for concealing an outdoor air conditioner
First and foremost, keep these two guidelines in mind while searching for methods to conceal your unit:
- Maintain accessibility- You want to ensure that a repair worker can get to the unit to conduct repairs or perform routine maintenance. So whatever construction you build there can’t be permanent and can’t be removed or accessed.
- Make sure there’s enough of circulation around the air conditioner by keeping it ventilated. The major goal of the air conditioner is to suck hot air out of the home, so you don’t want to make it more difficult for it to accomplish its job.
How We Hid Our Air Conditioner
We just purchased a new air conditioner, which prompted this whole essay. We asked them to relocate it a few feet away from our deck when they erected it, which worked out well. However, it is still near to the deck and an eyesore.
In fact, the whole area is unappealing, so I devised a design for a retractable fence screen to conceal the air conditioner.
My major concern while designing a layout was ensuring enough air movement around the AC unit. You must have adequate ventilation for it, just as you must have enough ventilation for the second rule. I didn’t want to create anything that might cause it to malfunction since it’s fresh new.
Also, according to my little study, you should have at least 12 inches of clean space surrounding your air conditioner.
The screen has to be detachable for annual servicing access, which was my second issue. This relates to the first rule.
I’ve seen various ideas where the screen is made of lattice, but I’m not a fan of the lattice aesthetic. I decided to make my AC fence in the same design as my horizontal fence, which has 14 cypress slats. I had scrap cypress laying about the home, so that was an added bonus.
I chose to create two horizontal slat frames with 22 pressure treated legs out of the surplus cypress pieces. The legs will be longer than the slats and will be buried in two (2) 2 inch diameter PVC pipes.
Building Materials for the AC Fence
For one screen that is 60 inches wide by 48 inches height, the following materials are utilized.
- (2) 2 inch pvc pipe (Lowes offers pvc pipe in 5 foot lengths) yields four 15-inch pieces
- (10) 14-inch-wide cypress slats, 60-inch length
- (2) pressure-treated 2x2x96 legs, 60-66 inches long (this may vary as I explain below)
- (40) 1 588 screws for the outside
- Drilling (We use the Dewalt Drill and Impact Driver Combo)
How Long Does It Take To Build An AC Enclosure?
To be honest, I was fortunate in that I already have a lot of the materials and equipment needed to construct this. It took me roughly 4-5 hours to complete the task. If I had to go to the hardware shop to obtain the items, it would take me around 6-7 hours.
How to Build an Air Conditioner Fence
All of my parts, including the PVC, were cut using a miter saw. To make it simpler to bury your pvc, cut it in half at a 90 degree angle, then cut those halfs in half at a 45 degree angle. I cut my slats by first measuring and cutting the first one, then using that as a reference to cut the remainder to width.
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It’s quicker and more precise for me than getting out the measuring tape for each cut.
Take note of the 2x2s that have been pressure treated. To locate a few straight ones at the hardware shop, you’ll have to go through the whole stack. Because the wood is so thin and pressure-treated, it will distort significantly. They sometimes store them packed in six-packs to keep them straight. If you obtain these, make sure you create the screen on the same day you get them, else they’ll warp after you take them out of the package.
The first slat is put over the top of the 22 legs to create the screen. I lay it down on a level table, legs below the slat. Make sure the top slat is flush with each leg’s top and side. If it helps, a clamp may be used to keep it from moving.
Because the holes are near to the edge and cypress can break if you drill too close to the edge, I took care to pre-drill the wood.
I put in two 1 5/8 external screws each side after pre-drilling two holes. I then utilize one of the vertically rotated slats to create an equal 34 gap between the slats. Continue in this manner until all of the slats are in place. Once you’ve installed the first slat, the rest is a breeze.
This is how the final screen will appear after all of the boards are in place. The legs should reach between 8 and 12 inches beyond the slats. The legs should be inserted into the pvc and ground far enough to secure the screen.
I used a little hammer to pound the PVC into the ground after I identified the right areas in the earth. You may not discover any roots if you’re fortunate.
If you’re like me and locate a root, I cut it with my hand spade, but if the root is near to the surface, you might use a little pruner.
Once the roots have been removed, the objective is to pound the PVC deep enough so that you can pick it up and remove the soil from the pipe, leaving enough space for the leg to sit 12 inches inside for stability.
I did one PVC piece at a time to make sure the spacing for the second leg was correct. It’s time to put the legs in once you’ve put both PVC pipes in the ground.
One side of my legs was higher than the other when I inserted them. I reside in Florida, where the soil is quite sandy, so I figured I could use my tiny sledge to make it a bit lower by hitting the top of the high side 22. I couldn’t make it level, so I removed the screen legs from the PVC and filled the low side with earth.
After a few attempts, I was able to get the screen level.
I left my legs longer on my second screen since I didn’t want it to be shorter than my first.
After you’ve buried the PVC, you’ll need to get the second screen to match the first. I slipped my legs inside the PVC and then calculated the distance between the first and second screens.
Then I did the same thing on the bottom of my leg. Even with the first screen and level, it required two attempts to obtain the second screen. Then I observed that my second screen moved more than my first, so I put some extra stakes in between the PVC and wood legs to keep it from moving too much.
I believe the screens turned out well, and I like being able to manufacture something useful out of scraps that I have sitting around the home. I’m looking forward to putting some plants in front of the TV.
Pool Equipment Is Hiding
A viewer on our YouTube channel asked about examples for Pool Equipment Is Hiding. It’s very similar to the AC structure that we built.
This was something we created for some friends who wanted to conceal their pool equipment. The most notable feature of this enclosure is that it includes gates on both sides that provide access to all areas.
Top 5 Ways to Hide Your Air Conditioner
Now that you’ve seen How We Hid Our Air Conditioner, here’s some different designs and ways to keep your ugly AC hidden. We’ll showcase some that are DIY and some that you can purchase in case DIY isn’t your style. If you’re interested in hiding any other things in your backyard, you can check this article out about how to hide an outside garbage can!
Screen made of bamboo
The Screen made of bamboo below is a great way to hide your AC unit, trash cans or anything else you don’t want to see. It is easy to maneuver around objects with the hinged screens. The bamboo will give your yard a more tropical feel than a regular enclosure.
Fence with Pickets Cover
This is a simple and adorable design that looks great if you already have a picket fence. This enclosure is made of pvc, which will not decay, and is constructed in the same manner as our wood enclosure, with legs that go into the ground to provide access to the AC unit.
Fencing made of lattice
Like I said earlier, I’m just not a fan of Fencing made of lattice, but it’s a popular way to hide the ac and there are some lattice screens that look pretty nice, like this one. This design is also PVC and made from the same company as the picket fence design.
Enclosures Made of Green
If you have a green thumb and your air conditioner is in a sunny location, consider growing something attractive or tasty to cover it.
To aid you with your greenery screen enclosure, here’s a planter box and trellis.
Planters on a Wooden Screen
This design, with cedar wood slats and built-in planters, is the best of all worlds to me. The plants offer color and soften the wood slats with their verdant appeal. With the planters on both sides, you may place the screen on a diagonal or in a straight line. It’s inherently pest and rot resistant since it’s made of cedar.
Now it’s your turn.
Hopefully, we’ve given you some ideas for hiding your air conditioner and given you the courage to create your own. It’s astonishing how much better that little space appears now that the obnoxious air conditioner is gone.
So, how about you? Have you worked precisely how you want to conceal your air conditioner?
We hope this information was useful in assisting you in constructing an AC enclosure for your garden. Check out this list if you’re seeking for additional backyard landscaping ideas.
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