Enclosure to hide central air conditioner?

kristizMay 22, 2009

We have a very small city backyard, about 21 x 15 feet, and live in a townhouse (middle unit), so our air conditioner is in the back yard since there is nowhere else to put it. Since we plan to sit back there a lot this summer, I'd like to build some sort of enclosure to hide the AC while still allowing adequate air flow. I'm thinking maybe something made of lattice? Just something to disguise it rather than have it stand out so mch, it's not very nice to look at! Planting shrubs to hide it is not an option because there isn't enough space and we already have a stone patio in that area.

I was just wondering if anyone here has built something like this, and if so could you recommend a good design or give me some tips on how to construct it?

Thanks!

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srercrcr

I haven't built it (yet) but I know what I want to do. The house is gray hardee board with white trim, so I thought I would carry the theme over to the "enclosure". You don't really want to enclose it, it needs to pull in ambient air and push out hot air. My idea is a mini-wall, like 5 ft wide 4 ft tall, two treated posts in concrete, a wooden frame (white) and horizontal Hardee boards (gray) that would match the house. Use 6" wide lumber, 4" will make it look cheap. It will block the sight of the unit as well cut the noise significantly. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 6:26AM
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tommyw

I have two heat pumps side by side. I built a five foot high enclosure using 4X4 post and lattice panels attached. I also ran 2X6's across the top (from post to post)for a finished look. Everything was painted to match the house.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 12:43PM
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kristiz

Those sound like great ideas!
Unfortunately it's going to be hard to make an enclosure blend in to our house since it's made of brick...but hopefully we'll figure something out! Maybe we'll just have to paint/stain the wood to match the colour of the brick, that may be the best we can do...

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 1:58PM
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srercrcr

Lattice isn't going to cut the noise like a solid wall. You could lay a foundation down and build two brick posts with lumber connecting like tommyw did. Its not rocket science.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 7:10PM
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doral_gw

Before you do this....you might want to go to the HVAC forum and see what a HVAC tech has to say about your plan. Also, if your AC compressor is next to the house and you box it in...you will have more reflected sound into the side of the house?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 10:24AM
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tommyw

As a follow up ... you DO NOT want to restrict the air flow to your units, that is why I used the lattice and the top remained open.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 12:37PM
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brickeyee

"As a follow up ... you DO NOT want to restrict the air flow to your units, that is why I used the lattice and the top remained open."

The top is the exhaust air, the sides of the condenser are the intake air.

Anything that reduces air flow decreases the efficiency of the system, and can lead to poor performance, overheating, and short life.

Even lattice presents a large obstruction to free air flow.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 1:14PM
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kevin_hammond

I have been looking for the same thing, and I took these pictures in Charleston, SC earlier this spring. It's the most attractive solution I have seen.

Whatever you do, make sure an a/c service person can get back there to service/replace the unit without tearing down the screen.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 4:43PM
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centralairunits

Nice idea......thank's a lot

Here is a link that might be useful: other information of central ac units

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 10:11AM
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shaunywoo22_yahoo_com

The lattice is a great idea and I think the most attractive looking, but it is not practical. It will cut the air needed to cool down the compressor by at least 40%. I have worked on hvac in the past and have some experience in the field, and have also been looking for a solution to the same issue.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 1:10PM
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brickeyee

"It will cut the air needed to cool down the compressor by at least 40%. "

Very badly stated.

It does not "cut the air needed to cool down the compressor" but decreases the air REQUIRED to cool the compressor and freon by a large amount.

The system efficiency and life WILL be reduced.

That hot air comping out of the unit is carrying the heat that was removed from your house.
Restrict its flow and the system becomes less efficient, pr may even fail.

You need a rather large area around a condenser to ensure free air flow and prevent it from re-circulating already heated air it discharges back into the unit.

A solid wall (nice for blocking sound) restricts air flow the most.
It likely would need to be many feet away from the unit, eating up a lot of yard space.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 3:11PM
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