When summer’s over and fall nights roll into town, off goes the A/C and on goes the heat. Fall’s a great time to maintain home systems, and outdoor A/C units tend to be one of those workhorses that some homeowners overlook as they transition into their reliance on heating systems.
One of the most-asked questions from homeowners with hardworking A/C units is: When the season’s over, should I cover it for protection?
Should You Cover Your Outdoor AC Unit in the Winter?
The newest air conditioning units were designed for weather-related applications. AAC systems work in extreme situations – from slick rainfall and violent winds. Condensers are made from durable materials that can withstand extreme weather. There is rain, snow, and high temperatures.
Inside a condensing chamber are coils that are also designed for protection against the elements. The durable material and system components are so that the unit doesn’t require any cooling system cover at the same time. As we know nothing about everything it could happen, you should buy a cover for your AC unit that helps protect you from the unexpected.
Why cover your outdoor air conditioner in winter?
Here’s why it needs protection, and why it’s important to know how to cover an air conditioner for winter the right way:
- Dried leaves and flying debris can get caught in the sensitive fins of your outdoor air conditioner’s condenser coil. When that happens, it won’t be able to release heat to cool your space. Leaves and dust can cause a big problem; besides knowing how to cover an air conditioner for winter, you must also know about cleaning the coils before the cooling season. (More on that in a minute.)
- Inches of accumulating snow can encase the unit. It’s ok to have a light layer of frost on the outside of the unit, but don’t let it become encased in a thick layer of snow or ice. The fan blades and the coil fins can be damaged.
- Falling ice can hit the unit with a surprising amount of force, causing damage to the outside of the air conditioner, or worse, damaging those sensitive coil fins.
- Dripping water from trees and gutters can get into the unit. Later when the temperature drops, that water turns to ice that expands and damages the fins.
Which type of cover is best for outdoor HVAC units?
The outdoor unit may have various options available if you want to cover them. Although the surface might seem a little janky, a solution could have plywood installed on your outdoor unit. It is inexpensive, and will not contain most debris. The mesh-type air conditioning cover also includes the product called a Kool Kap, a hooded cooling unit that keeps dirt out of your home. When you cover an air-conditioner, cover it with plastic to protect it against dirt. There is no definitive answer.
Covering an entire unit may actually trap moisture into the system by creating a high humidity environment that may cause rust and corrosion.
How Does Properly Cover Your AC Unit Help?
I have long been asked by some experts if AC covers should be installed during winter time. It seems reasonable that you won’t be using air-conditioned heating units in winter when you’re in the winter. Many HVAC experts think covering your air conditioning unit will not be necessary since it will withstand extreme temperatures, including wind, rain, snow, or ice. It may have been true in 1996, however, it’s not always necessary to protect your AC unit.
If you plan to use an AC cover for winter, always make sure there’s an adequate amount of airflow.
How does freezing weather affect your HVAC system?
The impact of the snow on your HVAC system can vary. If your outdoor heaters have an air conditioner that runs both during the summer months and winter months, you should take extra caution when storing winter equipment. Even in the absence of an HVAC unit during the colder winter months, ice and snow can damage compressor components and affect their performance.
Outdoor cooling units are built to endure these harsh winter weather conditions, which eliminates the need for a cover.
Poor airflow due to ice and snow buildup on HVAC unit in Winter
Ice in the air conditioning system also affects airflow during winter. Heat pumps heat your home in the winter using energy from the outside of the house to send heat to the inside of the home. When your heating system has its exterior unit drained on 4 sides it will be hard to draw air out of it and affect its functions. Reduced airflow can cause damage and require costly AC repairs.
The heat of the furnace may be the source of toxins and carbon dioxide poisoning. Almost every furnace has electric heating to produce the heat which can then be transferred to the house.
Where to buy an air conditioner cover for winter?
You may wonder where to get the most affordable AC covers. If you start looking on the Internet, there are plenty of options. You can also visit the local home improvement store. Many HVAC companies have the same covers for AC units. Do you need reliable plumbing and heating supplies?
Have you ever wondered if you should cover your AC unit for the winter? You’re not the only one – it’s a really common question.