There’s a right way and a wrong way to hide your outdoor air conditioner unit.
Have you struggled with poor cooling performance and high energy bills from your air conditioner all summer? Has this most recent heat wave just about pushed your tolerance for this nonsense over the edge? You may want to go check on your outdoor air conditioner condensing unit.
You may find that, in an attempt to conceal your “ugly” air conditioner equipment from view, your builder or landscaper has seriously compromised its efficiency.
- A solid wall tightly enclosing the unit
- Unit located under a porch or deck
- Dense bushes surrounding unit
Any of these methods of concealing the condenser unit can trap it in its own discharge. With nowhere to escape to, the hot air that has been discharged by the unit will cause temperatures in the enclosure to rise. As the unit is forced to recirculate this hotter air, it will be more difficult for the system to produce the cooling power you expect.
For example, let’s say it is a 95-degree day. Inside a tight, walled condenser unit enclosure, temperatures could easily soar to 115 degrees. The air conditioner will have to work much harder to generate cooled air starting with 115-degree air than with 95-degree air. According to one manufacturer’s data, a unit rated for 35,600 BTU at 95 degrees would only run at 31,200 BTU at 115 degrees. That’s a loss of 12 percent of the unit’s cooling capacity! You can just imagine what this would do to the energy bill.
There’s a Better Way to Conceal Your Condenser
While the ideal scenario would be to have the condenser unit completely out in the open, the good news is, you don’t necessarily have to choose between your outdoor curb appeal and your indoor comfort. It is possible to conceal the condenser unit in a way that will not compromise efficiency.
Allow for sufficient airflow within the enclosure.
Possibilities might include:
- Conceal the unit with a lattice
- Use thinner plantings instead of thick bushes
- Only build a wall on the side facing the street
- Leave a 6 inch gap between the walls and the ground
- If a walled enclosure is required by your HOA, make it significantly larger than the unit
Need Air Conditioner Repair?
If, after checking on your air conditioner condenser you find that poor air circulation is not to blame for your high energy bills and poor cooling performance, you no doubt have some other problem. It’s time to call Econo West Heating Air & Plumbing at (661) 947-2653. We’ll send an experienced HVAC tech out to your home to troubleshoot your unit and provide an estimate for the necessary air conditioner repair or replacement.