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Can I cover my HVAC unit?

July 3, 2019

Our customers in Los Angeles, California sometimes ask this question: Can I cover up an HVAC outdoor unit?

Reasons you might want to cover your HVAC Unit

If this is something you’ve never even considered, then the question may puzzle you. Perhaps you’ve never set foot to look at your outdoor system. However, there are many reasons that someone might want to cover their HVAC unit.

  • Property values depend heavily on a buyer’s first impression of the home. Savvy homeowners take great care to improve curb appeal, which can help drive up the cost of a home that is for sale.
  • Aesthetics are essential to our customers in LA. Your home should look and feel like the sanctuary it is. If the AC unit is in a prominent place on the property, like next to a pool, it can feel like an eyesore.
  • Proper care and maintenance of an air conditioning system is vital to their longevity. If there are trees or other landscaping that often cause debris to fall on or even inside an HVAC unit, you may be tempted to cover it up.

Ideally, it is best to keep your air conditioner unobstructed. But, we understand there are valid concerns and desires to wanting to conceal your condenser.

So, CAN I HIDE MY AIR CONDITIONER?

If you are seeking to hide your unit from view, then the answer is yes! You can hide your HVAC unit. However, that doesn’t mean you can build a box around your system. Air conditioning units require something called free airflow.

Talk Science to Me

The air around your HVAC system is the means for refrigerant to get cold. AC systems draw air across the condensing coils, using the temperature of the air to cool the fluid in the coil, and then shoots the hot exhaust air away.

If you block the airflow to the unit, the fan must work much harder to draw the appropriate amount of air across the coils. That could lead to higher energy bills and an increased likelihood that your unit will require repair sooner.

Separately, if you encase the unit, it could cause the air to shortcircuit. The warm exhaust air needs to be sent far away from the system so that it draws only cooler air across the coils. If warm air cannot escape to the environment, your system could have problems performing well, and after a small amount of time operating like this, the system is not able to cool at all.

In short, studies have shown that when shrubs, walls, or other objects are placed too close to a condensing unit it reduces system efficiency. If you can, leaving your AC condenser completely unobstructed is best.

Thinking of covering your HVAC unit for maintenance reasons?

If you want to cover your HVAC unit to keep the elements at bay, we have specific advice for you. You don’t need to do this! Air conditioning systems are built to endure harsh weather conditions, moisture, and even some debris.

Covering your AC unit with a tarp or other cover can cause other problems! For example, rodents seek shelter in covered areas like this during the colder months. Also, you might forget to remove the cover when you first turn on your AC, and that can cause big operational problems.

As long as you have your air conditioner serviced once a year, your system receives regularly cleaning. During our preventative maintenance visits, we rinse your unit and clean out any debris. So, make sure you take care of these visits before it starts to get hot here in southern California!

Guidelines: If you want to cover your HVAC unit

Ready to disguise your air conditioning system? Follow these essential guidelines:

  1. Service Area – remember that your system needs servicing by a certified technician at least once a year. Make sure that any barrier you create is simple to enter. Also, there should be at least 2-3 feet of clear area around the system.
  2. Choose appropriate landscaping – bushes are a popular option to hide A/C units. Be sure that you choose landscaping that doesn’t create a lot of debris, such as falling leaves, nuts, or fruit. Also, keep in mind that landscaping needs regular trimming to ensure it doesn’t encroach on your AC unit.
  3. Free Airflow – Be sure that the air conditioner has open space to encourage free airflow. If you choose fencing or other structural materials to cover your HVAC unit, be sure that there is plenty of slats or other open areas in the material. The ratio of open area to the material should be at least 50%, ideally higher. Walls or barriers should be placed no closer than 3 feet to the sides of the system.

Have a question about your AC?

Air conditioners are somewhat of a mystery to most homeowners. That’s where Brody Pennell, the experts is HVAC, come in. We’d be happy to answer any inquiries about your heating and cooling system. As the longest-standing Carrier dealer in Los Angeles, we have decades of experience in the industry. Give us a call anytime an HVAC concern comes to mind.


About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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Louise G
1713312082
Superb service and very efficientAlex was an excellent technician…he was very knowledgeable and friendly and very helpfulUpdate 4/16: Kevin and Angel were wonderful, very helpful and knowledgeable. Will definitely ask for them again.
Estela N.
1713307133
Jose Rivera was helpful and fixed the issue with my new key pad and pump quickly and efficiently. He also made sure the remote access was working.
Maura L.
1713305706
Very knowledgeable and helpful!
Valencia M.
1713305546
Juan Molina was very thorough in his assessment of our heaters conditions. Was prompt and courteous.
Adam C.
1713305048
Great service from Michael I., Raul I., Jonathan A., Edwin C., Ramiro S. and Jesus F. -- excellent work done efficiently!
Israel
1713304719
RENÉ IS GREAT .
Cary T.
1713297820
Leo H and Tristen C were great!! Explained everything. Most important they did a terrific job!
Nancy H.
1713291151
Excellent work from both Stevens and David E. They did very thorough maintenance cleanup and before and after photos made it clear how necessary it is to do the twice yearly maintenance - will clearly keep system running at peak performance. Would recommend these two highly.
Bill B.
1713232027
Our technician Leonel was thorough in both accomplishing his goal of performing the seasonal tune-up on our system and updating my wife and me as to the overall health of our system. I found him to be competent, polite and trustworthy.
Egisia M El Basha H.
1713225482
Jose R.Pascul HGets on CRafa BPablo P. All excellent
Lauren K.
1713222854
Daniel B. went above and beyond fixing my air conditioning equipment today. He explained everything to me and made sure I knew exactly what he was doing throughout the process. My issue was tricky and he was able to figure it out and fix everything. Daniel is also incredibly kind and personable and made the process easy for me. I am completely satisfied with the service and will be contacting Daniel again for all my HVAC needs!
Mary H L.
1713221057
Ariel A. performed outstanding services! It was his first visit and he asked for an orientation which I thought was a very good approach. He wanted to make sure that he covered all the areas. We have been a customer of Brody Pennell for more than 30 years, and I can honestly say this young man is in the top 10% of the employees who have had the opportunity to service our home.
Margaret G.
1713219070
These guys are total pros. They know what they are doing and they explain everything clearly and the pricing is very transparent. Ivan and Jose C. are very friendly and efficient. I have just had a second very great experience with Armando. He came to maintain the heating system and was very thorough and efficient.4/15/2024: Ruben and Phil just came by to do maintenance on my ac system. They were so friendly and explained everything really well. They inspired total confidence. Another great Brody Pennell experience.
Rinzai-ji Zen C.
1713212152
We appreciate your recommendation of Ken. He demonstrated diligence and honesty throughout his time with us. I eagerly anticipate receiving the quote and reviewing its details. We look forward to the possibility of collaborating with Ken in the near future.
Andrea S.
1713210077
Jason, Hilton, And Leo were great. Polite and neat. All is well.
Michael C.
1713206188
Very professional and knowledgeable. We think the problem was solved due to high heat. Thank you
justin H.
1713205580
Armando and Benny were great. Highly recommend!
Mycroft
1713132842
Our old furnace was about at the end of its life. After discussion with our favorite technician Marco Ayala we decided to have a heat pump installed. A crew arrived this morning headed by Edwin Cabra. He was assisted by Diego B, S. Ramiro, Edgar H, Jonathan A. This team was well trained, worked well together and was finished this afternoon! Great job by all. That's why we have been customers for more than 15 years!!Update: there was a small issue with one of the wires. Ruben Medina found the issue and corrected it. Again Brody Pennell to the rescue! Thank you again!!Further update. Giovanny Quinterro found that the outlet being used had no power. He changed the outlet and we're back to having heat. Yay! Thank you once again!!
Daniel D.
1713054294
Diego B., Sergio S., Alberto H,. And Alex S. installed a brand new system in one of my units and replaced the piping. They took a job that's usually 2 days and did it in 6 hours. They were unobtrusive to the tenants, thorough, and genuinely nice guys. Works perfectly. Extra kudos to the guys for being cool with a couple of very friendly dogs that like to jump and lick. 10/10 would recommend.
Therese B.
1712963432
I just had David Mares here to service the A/C system that they installed 2 years ago. David was great at explaining all the pertinent information about the function and cleaning of my A/C / heating system. He took pictures to show me whatever potential issues there may be down the road. I would highly recommend Brody Pennell for the A/C / heating system and specifically David Mares as a technician.
Dominique Z.
1712961408
Juan Molina was wonderful and so helpful
Baden S.
1712961375
Ruben and Leo M were so great. So professional. So friendly. Great to work with
Jeff T.
1712961025
We just bought a complete HVAC system from Marcus at Brody Pennell and I've never felt better about a manager or a company, and I'm an exacting retired general contractor. Clear choices with zero pressure or upsellng, and character as solid as their well respected company, with the resources to back it up. Marcus was impressive with his expertise, and genuine honesty well beyond that of a company representative, as the kind of person you'd look for in a friend, who seems every bit as stable as this well established company. A real pleasure!
Nancy T.
1712960484
Kevin and David provided amazing customer service for our home in Beverly Hills. They were detailed, thorough, and did not try to rush through our appointment. I received text messages from David throughout their 3 hour visit with photos of the condition of our HVAC, areas of concern, and proof of filter changes! You really can't ask for more. These guys are the best and I would highly recommend them to anyone who needs HVAC maintenance/cleaning.
Nili H.
1712957739
Juan Romo was my technician. He was on time, thoughtful, clean and thorough. He was also very knowledgeable and answered my questions in detail. He took his time and didn’t rush. I’m always delighted with Brody Pennel’s service and recommend them highly. Today I had another service called by Ivan and Hilton And they were wonderful. Gave me a beautiful service and cleaned up as they went and tried to sell me a new filter which I’m for air purification
Joel S.
1712954903
Excellent service from Daniel and Maurice.
Kimberly A.
1712954768
Anthony Manzo was a very thorough and efficient technician. He was very helpful and I would highly recommend him .
Eric B.
1712952256
Once again, excellent service from Brody Pennell. David M. was great—helpful, friendly, and informative.
reyna C.
1712945385
Iván & Hilton were great !
Mike
1712944410
I signed up for a Brody Pennell service plan after they fixed my AC issue last year. I was very impressed with the easy scheduling and responsiveness from the team. Leo H. And Freddy came out today to do my annual AC maintenance, and they did another great job. I highly recommend working with this company!
Donna G.
1712884929
Very courteous, very professional and very thorough and clear in explaining all details.
william C.
1712878629
David Mares and Fabio Gomez were outstanding. Very detail oriented.
Angela B.
1712878029
Ariel A did my semiannual maintenance today. I was very pleased with how thorough he was throughout the process. He addressed Al, of my concerns.
samantha V.
1712873936
Last week we had Brody Pennell come and replace our heating system, I am glad that they sent an amazing crew. Rafael B, Rosendo V, Alessandro A, Nicolas and Jose Manuel. Very happy with the Company and their workers.
john D.
1712868398
My furnace would not start this am. I called for service at 9 am and Jose Rivera and Paul Pacheco arrived a few hours later. They diagnosed the problem as a flaky thermostat unit and replaced it. All if well now. Definitely 5 stars.
m T.
1712866112
Anthony Manzo any David Mares were great - a pleasure to work with. Knowledgeable professionals and nice guys. They did great work and we will request them for our next service.
chris O.
1712861955
Great people and service. Juan D was nice knowledgeable and got the job done. I’d recommend Brody to any and all family and friends.
Cameron P.
1712861849
Daniel B and David E came by to service my dual zone mini split. Simple job handled professionally and very courteously. Was glad to have their help and would hire them again.
Michael A.
1712861345
James H. and Pablo L. were professional, thorough and extremely nice. They represented your company very well.
Lloyd T.
1712860413
Fabio and David Mares rescued us when our furnace gave out. David gave us a clear, understandable explanation of the problems and how we could fix them. Mike, Raul, Pascual, and Frank installed our new energy efficient HVAC system. Paul and Jose added the finishing touches. We are grateful to the entire Brody Pennell team.
Richie B.
1712858599
Ruben and Leo M. were very professional, respectful and swift with their services as well as very detailed when summarizing the results of the job.
Zexuan Z.
1712858319
Daniel provided a good service of AC investigation. He's a friendly guy
Victoria O.
1712855311
Daniel B is excellent! Extremely helpful and solved all our problems!! Fabio Gonez and Juan Milina are terrific too!
brian H.
1712855276
Ivan and Ruben arrived promptly and were very thorough and professional.
Adriana S.
1712842013
David M was great!
Rocco F.
1712792797
Juan Molina was excellent! He explained everything in detail and made it easy for us to make a decision. Very trustworthy and knowledgeable, I would definitely recommend Juan to represent your company. The service technicians, Juan Munoz and Ramiros, were also top notch! They were on time, professional, and very friendly. They installed the heater and ducts in two days and everything was perfect. They even checked my plumbing while under the house and told me there no leaks. Great teamwork by your company, a well deserved five star review!Update: just had my six month service done by David E. and Kevin L., what a great team! Once again, everything was explained in detail with pictures and they serviced our AC and heater. Another five star review!
Jiravat “JW” W.
1712790853
Friendly and very considerate
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This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Louise G
1713312082
Superb service and very efficientAlex was an excellent technician…he was very knowledgeable and friendly and very helpfulUpdate 4/16: Kevin and Angel were wonderful, very helpful and knowledgeable. Will definitely ask for them again.
Estela N.
1713307133
Jose Rivera was helpful and fixed the issue with my new key pad and pump quickly and efficiently. He also made sure the remote access was working.
Maura L.
1713305706
Very knowledgeable and helpful!
Valencia M.
1713305546
Juan Molina was very thorough in his assessment of our heaters conditions. Was prompt and courteous.
Adam C.
1713305048
Great service from Michael I., Raul I., Jonathan A., Edwin C., Ramiro S. and Jesus F. -- excellent work done efficiently!
Israel
1713304719
RENÉ IS GREAT .
Cary T.
1713297820
Leo H and Tristen C were great!! Explained everything. Most important they did a terrific job!
Nancy H.
1713291151
Excellent work from both Stevens and David E. They did very thorough maintenance cleanup and before and after photos made it clear how necessary it is to do the twice yearly maintenance - will clearly keep system running at peak performance. Would recommend these two highly.
Bill B.
1713232027
Our technician Leonel was thorough in both accomplishing his goal of performing the seasonal tune-up on our system and updating my wife and me as to the overall health of our system. I found him to be competent, polite and trustworthy.
Egisia M El Basha H.
1713225482
Jose R.Pascul HGets on CRafa BPablo P. All excellent
Lauren K.
1713222854
Daniel B. went above and beyond fixing my air conditioning equipment today. He explained everything to me and made sure I knew exactly what he was doing throughout the process. My issue was tricky and he was able to figure it out and fix everything. Daniel is also incredibly kind and personable and made the process easy for me. I am completely satisfied with the service and will be contacting Daniel again for all my HVAC needs!
Mary H L.
1713221057
Ariel A. performed outstanding services! It was his first visit and he asked for an orientation which I thought was a very good approach. He wanted to make sure that he covered all the areas. We have been a customer of Brody Pennell for more than 30 years, and I can honestly say this young man is in the top 10% of the employees who have had the opportunity to service our home.
Margaret G.
1713219070
These guys are total pros. They know what they are doing and they explain everything clearly and the pricing is very transparent. Ivan and Jose C. are very friendly and efficient. I have just had a second very great experience with Armando. He came to maintain the heating system and was very thorough and efficient.4/15/2024: Ruben and Phil just came by to do maintenance on my ac system. They were so friendly and explained everything really well. They inspired total confidence. Another great Brody Pennell experience.
Rinzai-ji Zen C.
1713212152
We appreciate your recommendation of Ken. He demonstrated diligence and honesty throughout his time with us. I eagerly anticipate receiving the quote and reviewing its details. We look forward to the possibility of collaborating with Ken in the near future.
Andrea S.
1713210077
Jason, Hilton, And Leo were great. Polite and neat. All is well.
Michael C.
1713206188
Very professional and knowledgeable. We think the problem was solved due to high heat. Thank you
justin H.
1713205580
Armando and Benny were great. Highly recommend!
Mycroft
1713132842
Our old furnace was about at the end of its life. After discussion with our favorite technician Marco Ayala we decided to have a heat pump installed. A crew arrived this morning headed by Edwin Cabra. He was assisted by Diego B, S. Ramiro, Edgar H, Jonathan A. This team was well trained, worked well together and was finished this afternoon! Great job by all. That's why we have been customers for more than 15 years!!Update: there was a small issue with one of the wires. Ruben Medina found the issue and corrected it. Again Brody Pennell to the rescue! Thank you again!!Further update. Giovanny Quinterro found that the outlet being used had no power. He changed the outlet and we're back to having heat. Yay! Thank you once again!!
Daniel D.
1713054294
Diego B., Sergio S., Alberto H,. And Alex S. installed a brand new system in one of my units and replaced the piping. They took a job that's usually 2 days and did it in 6 hours. They were unobtrusive to the tenants, thorough, and genuinely nice guys. Works perfectly. Extra kudos to the guys for being cool with a couple of very friendly dogs that like to jump and lick. 10/10 would recommend.
Therese B.
1712963432
I just had David Mares here to service the A/C system that they installed 2 years ago. David was great at explaining all the pertinent information about the function and cleaning of my A/C / heating system. He took pictures to show me whatever potential issues there may be down the road. I would highly recommend Brody Pennell for the A/C / heating system and specifically David Mares as a technician.
Dominique Z.
1712961408
Juan Molina was wonderful and so helpful
Baden S.
1712961375
Ruben and Leo M were so great. So professional. So friendly. Great to work with
Jeff T.
1712961025
We just bought a complete HVAC system from Marcus at Brody Pennell and I've never felt better about a manager or a company, and I'm an exacting retired general contractor. Clear choices with zero pressure or upsellng, and character as solid as their well respected company, with the resources to back it up. Marcus was impressive with his expertise, and genuine honesty well beyond that of a company representative, as the kind of person you'd look for in a friend, who seems every bit as stable as this well established company. A real pleasure!
Nancy T.
1712960484
Kevin and David provided amazing customer service for our home in Beverly Hills. They were detailed, thorough, and did not try to rush through our appointment. I received text messages from David throughout their 3 hour visit with photos of the condition of our HVAC, areas of concern, and proof of filter changes! You really can't ask for more. These guys are the best and I would highly recommend them to anyone who needs HVAC maintenance/cleaning.
Nili H.
1712957739
Juan Romo was my technician. He was on time, thoughtful, clean and thorough. He was also very knowledgeable and answered my questions in detail. He took his time and didn’t rush. I’m always delighted with Brody Pennel’s service and recommend them highly. Today I had another service called by Ivan and Hilton And they were wonderful. Gave me a beautiful service and cleaned up as they went and tried to sell me a new filter which I’m for air purification
Joel S.
1712954903
Excellent service from Daniel and Maurice.
Kimberly A.
1712954768
Anthony Manzo was a very thorough and efficient technician. He was very helpful and I would highly recommend him .
Eric B.
1712952256
Once again, excellent service from Brody Pennell. David M. was great—helpful, friendly, and informative.
reyna C.
1712945385
Iván & Hilton were great !
Mike
1712944410
I signed up for a Brody Pennell service plan after they fixed my AC issue last year. I was very impressed with the easy scheduling and responsiveness from the team. Leo H. And Freddy came out today to do my annual AC maintenance, and they did another great job. I highly recommend working with this company!
Donna G.
1712884929
Very courteous, very professional and very thorough and clear in explaining all details.
william C.
1712878629
David Mares and Fabio Gomez were outstanding. Very detail oriented.
Angela B.
1712878029
Ariel A did my semiannual maintenance today. I was very pleased with how thorough he was throughout the process. He addressed Al, of my concerns.
samantha V.
1712873936
Last week we had Brody Pennell come and replace our heating system, I am glad that they sent an amazing crew. Rafael B, Rosendo V, Alessandro A, Nicolas and Jose Manuel. Very happy with the Company and their workers.
john D.
1712868398
My furnace would not start this am. I called for service at 9 am and Jose Rivera and Paul Pacheco arrived a few hours later. They diagnosed the problem as a flaky thermostat unit and replaced it. All if well now. Definitely 5 stars.
m T.
1712866112
Anthony Manzo any David Mares were great - a pleasure to work with. Knowledgeable professionals and nice guys. They did great work and we will request them for our next service.
chris O.
1712861955
Great people and service. Juan D was nice knowledgeable and got the job done. I’d recommend Brody to any and all family and friends.
Cameron P.
1712861849
Daniel B and David E came by to service my dual zone mini split. Simple job handled professionally and very courteously. Was glad to have their help and would hire them again.
Michael A.
1712861345
James H. and Pablo L. were professional, thorough and extremely nice. They represented your company very well.
Lloyd T.
1712860413
Fabio and David Mares rescued us when our furnace gave out. David gave us a clear, understandable explanation of the problems and how we could fix them. Mike, Raul, Pascual, and Frank installed our new energy efficient HVAC system. Paul and Jose added the finishing touches. We are grateful to the entire Brody Pennell team.
Richie B.
1712858599
Ruben and Leo M. were very professional, respectful and swift with their services as well as very detailed when summarizing the results of the job.
Zexuan Z.
1712858319
Daniel provided a good service of AC investigation. He's a friendly guy
Victoria O.
1712855311
Daniel B is excellent! Extremely helpful and solved all our problems!! Fabio Gonez and Juan Milina are terrific too!
brian H.
1712855276
Ivan and Ruben arrived promptly and were very thorough and professional.
Adriana S.
1712842013
David M was great!
Rocco F.
1712792797
Juan Molina was excellent! He explained everything in detail and made it easy for us to make a decision. Very trustworthy and knowledgeable, I would definitely recommend Juan to represent your company. The service technicians, Juan Munoz and Ramiros, were also top notch! They were on time, professional, and very friendly. They installed the heater and ducts in two days and everything was perfect. They even checked my plumbing while under the house and told me there no leaks. Great teamwork by your company, a well deserved five star review!Update: just had my six month service done by David E. and Kevin L., what a great team! Once again, everything was explained in detail with pictures and they serviced our AC and heater. Another five star review!
Jiravat “JW” W.
1712790853
Friendly and very considerate
×
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