Published: May 16, 2018


Summer is just around the corner, which means many of us are thinking about when to turn our AC units on for the season (if you haven’t already). Outdoor AC systems consist of the air compressor unit, which is the big box outside of your home. Despite the comfort they provide, outdoor AC units can be a bit unsightly to some (not us, of course). Many people will try to landscape around it to cut down on noise and hide it from view; however, that could be detrimental to your AC unit and its efficiency.

Follow these tips to protect your exterior AC unit from damage and debris this summer:

Inspect the outdoor compressor before turning on the AC:

Before kicking on your AC system for the first time, check over your outdoor compressor unit. Look for vine or weed growth possibly encroaching around the unit. This could cause damage to your unit beyond repair, or trap moisture in the unit causing mold to form and cut down on efficiency.

Let your air compressor unit breathe:

Leave at least 2-3 feet of space between your unit and any plants or structures. Additionally, there should be at least 5 feet of space between the unit and anything above it. You also want to make space for an HVAC technician to make repairs if necessary.

You may have heard that planting shade plants near your compressor will help it work more efficiently; however, the more likely outcome is efficiency may decrease because the plants will restrict airflow to the compressor.

Cover the ground around your unit:

Before you start landscaping, consider covering the space around your unit with gravel or rocks. Wind and rain are known for causing dirt and debris to get into your unit. Covering the ground around your air compressor will help prevent dirt and debris from getting into the unit during storms and clogging your system.

Be mindful of where and what you plant:

A hedge bush could be a good way to conceal your air compressor, as long as you trim it year round. Keep your unit clear of any falling leavings that may gather at the base. We recommend adding small plants or shrubs that remain a manageable size. Once again, make sure anything you plant is at least 2-3 feet away from your compressor unit. Here’s a quick list of plants you can grow to effectively hide your outdoor AC unit.

Know how and where to build a fence around your unit:

If you’re considering building a fence around your air compressor unit to hide and protect it, make sure you build it several feet away. Give the unit room to breathe, and make sure there is room for a technician to access the unit. Fences also make it easier for vines to grow, making the unit less efficient and much more difficult to repair.

As you begin to prepare for spring and summer, don’t forget about your outdoor AC unit, specifically the air compressor. If you have questions on proper landscaping techniques or maintenance, reach out to us and schedule an appointment today. We’re happy to help!