Pinterest-ing Your A/C Unit

By now, I think everyone has heard of Pinterest! This electronic pinboard site is incredibly popular and full of creative ideas, ranging from the latest cookie dough recipes (my favorite) to methods on how to upcycle your old toilet paper rolls (my LEAST favorite-nothing says classy like a toilet paper roll wreath on the front door). With all the ideas out there, of course people have pinned tips regarding A/C units. We will look at a few of the most popular air conditioning-related pins, and share our opinions on them!

First, the ever-popular "dryer sheets in the vents".

This one is not a bad idea, and won't hurt the A/C system. However, be sure to put the dryer sheet under the filter in the return duct, so you won't have to work about the sheet blowing around in the vent and possibly getting sucked into the A/C coils. You can also put a few drops of essential oils (oils-another Pinterest favorite!) on a thin cloth and put that under the filter. Small amounts of scented oils don't hurt the system, and will help your house smell better, as promised by the pin. This second variation is fine too, as long as the Febreze clip is securely attached to the vent! 

Next, we have hiding window or wall A/C units:

This idea looks great, but will keep your system from performing properly and efficiently. Keep in mind, any item you place over the unit blocks air flow. Blocking air flow means your area will not be as cool, and the system will have to work harder and run longer just to maintain the desired room temperature. Don't cover with the unit with a picture, chalkboard, or bookcase, unless its temporary and/or you are not using the system.

How about the "door mat over the wall vent"?

Only a few of the older, historic homes in Phoenix feature these types of lower wall vents. The vents are now located on the ceiling or at the top of the wall. If you do have a wall vent like this, attaching a door mat to it is a bad idea. Don't cover the vent, even partially, because again, this impedes air flow.

Lastly, we have the very popular "A/C unit fence:"

Great ideas here!  But once again, guess what…don't obstruct the unit!  A solid barrier around the unit will restrict air flow, making the system work harder, which leads to parts wearing out faster.  If you do wish to put up a decorative fence, barriers should be 18-24 inches away from the sides of the unit, and should allow for plenty of air flow, like the lattice-type fences shown here.

A word on those bushes in a minute…

There should be NO obstruction on the top. My favorites are the modern style fences. Too bad my A/C unit is on the roof.

When designing an A/C fence, also keep in mind that your A/C guy will be need to access the unit for service. Adding hinges, a gate, or an easily removable side would work nicely. Do NOT build a solid bench around the unit, and even though we will admit this looks amazing, it is just not practical for the heavy A/C use here in Phoenix (thanks to the landscape designer for suggesting this homeowner consult an A/C specialist first!):
And don't plant a bush right next to the unit, as suggested by this pin below! Did they put the unit in that shrub?!

Again, 18-24 inches of space is needed, and the plant should be a low-shedding type of shrub. Otherwise, the leaves can get sucked right in to the unit and plug up the coils, meaning the unit will need constant maintenance. And please, for the love of your A/C guy, NO CACTUS!

We hope these reviews were helpful, and maybe even gave you some ideas for your own A/C unit! Have you ever tried some of these pins yourself? And since Pinterest is so fun and interesting, we decided to create an account! If you are a Pinterest user, we would love to have you follow us! Stay Pinteresting, my friends!


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Monday, 24 February 2020