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Should You Cover Your Air Conditioner in the Winter?

Snow-covered air conditioner

Anything outside your home is susceptible to damage from the elements. This is one key reason homeowners in Columbus, GA and Opelika, AL often store patio furniture, grills, and other portable outdoor items over the winter season. But what about your air conditioning unit? This time of year, homeowners often ask us whether they should cover their outside air conditioning unit. Read on to learn the answer, straight from the pros at Energy Savers!

Should You Cover Your AC Unit in the Winter?

Air conditioning units most commonly sit outside and connect to an indoor furnace or air handler, as split cooling systems are common throughout our area. As such, this equipment is designed to withstand elemental exposure over a unit’s many years of service. While it seems like this expensive appliance could be vulnerable and should be protected at all costs, your outdoor AC unit is tougher than most think.

So, should you cover your air conditioner in the winter? Air conditioners don’t need to be covered to withstand freezing temperatures and harsh winter storms as they are designed with this exposure in mind. If you ask HVAC manufacturers whether covering your AC unit is a good idea, most would tell you they don’t recommend it.

Using air conditioner covers can cause damage to the system, due to user errors, trapped moisture, or unwanted pests taking winter shelter inside the air conditioner unit. However, some still feel more comfortable covering the air conditioner, so it’s important to know how to do so the proper way.

How to Cover an Outdoor Air Conditioning Unit for Winter

While covering an air conditioner during the winter is not necessary, some homeowners prefer doing so over the colder season. A cover can be useful to keep natural debris out of the unit, like leaves and seeds. If overhead gutters cause water to drip onto your outdoor unit, covering the equipment can protect against damage caused by moisture freezing in the air conditioner.

The first thing you need to know is what you should cover your air conditioner in the winter with.

  • Specially designed covers and caps are available for outdoor air conditioning units. These are often made from mesh material so air can still flow through the unit, reducing the likelihood of moisture problems.
  • To protect an outside air conditioning unit from damage due to falling limbs and other debris over the winter, a simple piece of plywood can do the trick. Cut the plywood so it covers the entire top of the unit.

If you insist on covering your air conditioner over the winter months, you need to follow some important rules to protect your unit.

  • Do not cover the outdoor air conditioner until you have turned off the cooling system for the season.
  • Don’t fully cover the air conditioner – leave some area open, such as the sides, so air is still able to flow through the unit to help you avoid mold growth and moisture damage.
  • Secure the cover to ensure it does not blow off or become tangled around your unit.
  • Make sure to remove the air conditioner cover once outdoor conditions improve. Never start up your cooling system if the outdoor air conditioner is still covered.

Contact Energy Savers for Cooling Services

Should you cover your air conditioner in the winter? Though it’s not necessary, some homeowners do prefer doing so. If you are considering a cover for your outdoor air conditioner, talk to the cooling system professionals of Energy Savers. Our team will help you determine the best way to protect your cooling system during the down season – contact us today!

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