Air conditioners might make life more comfortable over a long hot summer, but the outside unit can be an eyesore. Two common ways to conceal external condensers are by growing a barrier of plants, or by erecting a privacy screen.

Using a Privacy Screen to Conceal Your Split System Aircon

A portable outdoor privacy screen is a panelled, folding structure made from a variety of materials such as wicker, solid eucalyptus, bamboo and natural willow. One advantage of using a privacy screen is its portability; it can easily be relocated to fence off other areas of the yard, which makes it an ideal option for renters.

The screen should be placed at least one metre from the external condenser to allow free air flow around the unit. The exterior unit blows out hot air, so it is important to allow enough space to prevent overheating. 

An advantage of concealing an external condenser with either a privacy screen or plants is that both provide shade from the sun, which will reduce electricity costs.

In wild or windy weather, the stability of a privacy screen can be problematic. However, you can steady the screen by staking it into the ground, or fixing it in concrete or wood. Another option is to grow plants against an open weaved or lattice style to secure it.

Using Plants to Conceal the External Condenser

An alternate way to conceal the exterior unit is to create a natural barrier by growing plants and shrubbery. Again, allow at least a metre around the unit to enable free air flow, and also to permit space for maintenance. Avoid prickly and spiky plants that might cause problems for maintenance experts.

Choose plants that grow upwards rather than outwards. Deciduous shrubs can provide attractive screens and come in a variety of flowers and leaves. Ornamental grasses that can grow to one metre are another option, or evergreens are another possibility. Remember to consider the size of the mature plant, and regularly prune and trim the foliage to keep in check.

As the external condenser blows out hot air, the plants will need to withstand hot, dry conditions. Avoid plants with seed pods or berries that can cause damage to the unit by dropping debris into the vents. Also check the plants regularly for nests and animal inhabitants, as rodents can chew through the wiring of the unit causing problems.

Both privacy screens and plants can effectively screen the exterior unit of you split system AC. A privacy screen is a quicker and more portable option, particularly suitable for renters, while a screen created through plants and shrubbery is more a more permanent, and work-intensive choice. Learn more about your options by contacting resources like ACSIS Airconditioning Warehouse.