View Full Version : Show me how you hid your AC Condenser

Matt Meiser
09-28-2010, 8:27 PM
I signed the contract today to replace our AC with a heat pump that will work in conjunction with our gas furnace. Since the AC sits below a window and the heat pump will be much larger, it has to move to the end of the house where it will be a lot more visible. There won't be much room for bushes or other vegetation due to basement windows I don't want to block.

I'm thinking some kind of fence 4-5' tall with some taller, narrower perennials around it but I don't have a great idea yet on any details. For example, we looked at some PVC picket fence sections at Lowes last night be I wasn't crazy about the design. They also had some PT picket fence sections we liked better, but its a maintenance headache. The screening will also serve protect it to some extent from windblown debris and snow in the winter since it will be pretty exposed there.

One of these days I'll actually do some woodworking once all these house projects are done. This could be woodworking, though I'd really like something maintenance-free.

Lee Schierer
09-29-2010, 1:00 PM
Go back to HD or Lowes and get some pvc lattice, make up your own frame an get PVC sleeves for the end posts.http://www.home.earthlink.net/~us71na/deck1.jpg

Remember your condenser needs air flow so don't get it too closed in.

Tom Godley
09-30-2010, 8:11 AM
IMO you can never really hide them when the installation location is a visible spot - placing them within a newly designed landscape often looks the best.

I find the look of the unit less offensive than a fence or a band of plants -- its yells out AC unit or trash cans. I have both of my units more that 10 feet away from the house in a landscaped bed

The air flow in winter can become particularly important especially if you get a lot of snow - so anything situated too close can become a problem.

George Beck
09-30-2010, 8:31 AM
You could paint it with camouflage like an army hummer or alternatively paint woodland scenes like squirrels under a bush. The ultimate would be mirrors which would reflect the surrounding landscape making it DISAPPEAR!

Ok, sorry, I know it is a serious question. I am just in a "mood" today.


Matt Meiser
09-30-2010, 8:59 AM
Trane paints theirs a fairly dark neutral color so it shouldn't stand out too bad but still, its right there on the end of the house where you'll see it as you drive down the road toward our house. We had a local fence guy out last night who is going to quote us a 2-sided picket fence screen that we like the look of. Being pickets it should allow for plenty of airflow. It should actually help prevent snow and debris from accumulating right around the unit.

George, reflective mirrors might be a bad idea--Google "Vegas death ray" :)

Jeff Monson
09-30-2010, 10:06 AM
Matt, you are really gonna like the heat pump, we had a Trane heat pump at our last house. We installed it new in 1997 and moved out in 2009, never had 1 service call, great unit. You have the best of both worlds with a gas backup for colder weather.

Matt Meiser
09-30-2010, 10:45 AM
Thanks for the feedback Jeff. Whenever I talk to people about them I either get raving reviews or the "WHAT???? Are you crazy? You can't have a heat pump in Michigan!" response from those only familiar with the ones backed up by electric.

Tom Godley
09-30-2010, 10:55 AM
The newer heat pumps great -- they work economically at temps well bellow what most people had for heat pumps only a few years ago.

They are a necessity for anyone using propane for heat.

Matt Meiser
09-30-2010, 11:01 AM
We are going from propane only to heat pump with NG backup in one summer. That should be nice on the pocketbook come January (though not so nice right now!)

And the added benefit is that in a few weeks I'll have central AC in the shop. Even SWMBO is excited about that because it means I no longer need her help getting the window AC in and out each year.

Lee Schierer
09-30-2010, 11:22 AM
And the added benefit is that in a few weeks I'll have central AC in the shop. Even SWMBO is excited about that because it means I no longer need her help getting the window AC in and out each year.

In a few weeks all you will need to do for A/C in the shop is leave the door open.....:D

paul cottingham
09-30-2010, 12:33 PM
I have a Trane and love it. You don't notice it at all after a short while.

Matt Meiser
10-01-2010, 7:09 AM
In a few weeks all you will need to do for A/C in the shop is leave the door open.....:D

No, but summer is only 8...long.......months...............away:(

Brian Cover
10-09-2010, 8:48 PM
When you put the new fence around the condenser, be sure to leave 18" clearance for airflow. Also, plan ahead for the repair tech and leave 36" clearance in front of the service access panel on the unit.

Matt Meiser
10-12-2010, 10:41 AM
Heat pump went in last Thursday and after looking at it as we drive up our road we decided we definitely want something around it. We signed the contract last night to have some PVC picket fence sections installed on 2 sides. Being about 50% open and having one side completely open will allow for good airflow, but keep the windblown debris away. The side of the unit with the access panel happens to be the side we are leaving open, but the fence panels are also easy to remove if needed. Our HVAC contractor said leave 1' of space with the picket fence.

Paul, we already don't notice it. Its sooo quiet. Our old AC was just off the deck, just outside our MB window and very loud. This is outside my daughter's window and all you hear there is a low hum. Its on the other side of an exterior wall from my office and I don't hear it at all there. And we can't hear it at all in the back yard.