Love A/C but Find the Outdoor Unit Unsightly? Do Something About It
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Love A/C but Find the Outdoor Unit Unsightly? Do Something About It


If you enjoy the cool refreshment of your Portland home’s central air conditioner, but find that outdoor unit unsightly, you have several strategies to effectively hide the unit without hampering its operation. Remember, though, to leave clear space on all sides for your HVAC technician to service the A/C equipment.

Great Grasses

If you find the outdoor unit unsightly, planting ornamental grasses around it can help. Avoid plants that grow much taller than five feet, as they can obstruct airflow, but some plants for the Portland area include:

  • Japanese Sweet Flag (acorus calumus)—five-foot leaves can mask a lot of central air conditioner cabinet
  • New Zealand Flax (phorium)—available in many varieties, such as Rainbow Queen and Apricot Queen
  • Carex (sedge)—a good variety in this grass is New England Hair, which grows tall and straight

Box It In

With three boxwood shrubs (one on each side away from your home), you can break up the profile of the cabinet. Where once you found the outdoor unit unsightly, the three bushes mean you may not find it at all.

Go Topless

Your A/C unit’s fitted cloth or vinyl cover can be unsightly, calling attention to the bulk of the compressor. It can also cut down air circulation.

Fence It In

Any fence you build around the compressor unit should be at least three feet from the cabinet for ample airflow and ease of servicing. A tip: make sure the gate into the fenced area is at least as wide as the unit, in case it needs replacing.

Discourage Unplanned Plants

Avoid lawn watering near the outdoor cabinet. Consider drip irrigation that directs water where you want plants, but keeps other areas—the A/C unit’s concrete pad—dry. This prevents attention-grabbing plants from sending out taproots and sending up unwanted sprouts.

Discourage Unwanted Visitors

By disguising or hiding your central air conditioner’s outdoor portion, you also discourage theft. A burglar cannot make off with the sheet metal, copper and motors if they are hidden.

For more help with your Portland home’s central air conditioner, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling.

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