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Should I Cover My Air Conditioner After Summer?

by Stewart Unsdorfer

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There are key times during the year that you need to do maintenance on your heating and cooling system. They are in the spring for your air conditioner, and in the fall for your heating unit. Outside of that maintenance schedule, people wonder if their outside air conditioning unit may need to be covered once the weather turns cold.  

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When You Should Cover Your A/C

There is a reason to cover your air conditioner after the summer, and it's not just for the winter. As we said before, your unit is built to withstand the rain and snow, but it is not built to keep out leaves, seeds, or nuts.

Therefore, you will want to cover your system during the fall only. When leaves or seeds get into your air conditioner, they can create a place where moisture collects, which then causes corrosion. It can even block up any moisture drainage your system has built in.

If you do cover your air conditioner, only cover the top of it. If you make your own cover, be aware that it should only come down the side about 6 inches. You don’t want to cover it completely, if you do, you are asking for trouble. A cover that completely covers your unit will trap moisture inside which then causes rust and corrosion.

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Why You Don't Need To Cover Your Air Conditioner

People often cover certain things around their home to keep the elements away. For example, swimming pools and lawn furniture, especially if a garage or storage shed is not available. But for those of you wondering if you should cover your outside air conditioner, it does not require a cover. 

Some people are under the impression that a cover will protect the air conditioner unit from:

Dirt

When on, the unit sucks in air, which also brings in the dirt. Once it is off, no dirt or other debris will go inside.

Snow, Ice, and Cold Weather

Outdoor cooling units are built to endure these harsh winter weather conditions, which eliminates the need for a cover.  

Moisture

Moisture (water) can freeze the air conditioner’s condenser coils, which can cause damage over time. However, there is no way to keep moisture out 100% of the time. Either through the humidity in the air, or from the wind, moisture is sure to seep in. 

With a cover on your air conditioner you actually trap the moisture in, which can then create mold. You are much better off not using a cover for this reason.

Rodents

A cover will not keep small animals away, in fact, just the opposite. Animals want to get out of the cold, and your cover can provide them with a new winter home. Remember, rodents and other small animals are known for finding their way into very small spaces.

Conclusion

Remember, your air conditioner is already built to protect against typical winter conditions. Therefore, you do not need a cover for it for the reasons you might think. You only need to cover your unit in the fall, and the units that we install have attractive looking covers custom sized to work perfectly.

If you're in need of a new air conditioning unit, just let us know

Topics: HVAC Guides

blog author

Stewart Unsdorfer

Stewart has been in the HVAC business for more than 25 years. He is a state licensed heating and A/C contractor, as well as being certified in design, fabrication, layout and installation of forced air heating / cooling systems.

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