Should I Cover My AC Unit in the Wintertime?

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Should I Cover My AC Unit in the Wintertime?

AC Unit in Cold Winter Conditions in Kennewick, WA; Hermiston, OR; and Denver, CO

If you’re like most homeowners, you rely on your air conditioning system to get you through the hot summer months. However, when the weather starts to get cold again and you’re not going to be using your air conditioner for a while, you may be thinking about covering it. In fact, one very big debate in the HVAC world is whether an outside AC unit should be covered during the winter.

Why Cover Your AC Unit?

If you live in a region of the country that receives a lot of snow throughout the winter months, you may consider covering your air conditioning unit to keep the snow out. Most homeowners in these regions of the country will cover many of their outside home components to keep off snow, ice, and other wintery mixes. While this may seem like a great idea, it can be damaging to your outdoor air conditioning unit.

The Problem With AC Covers?

Most outside air conditioner unit covers are constructed of thick material that fully encloses the unit. The problem with this is that the cover creates an unhealthy environment inside your air conditioning system.

Without adequate airflow, moisture will build up inside your air conditioning system and cause unwanted mold and mildew to start occurring. Over time, this can lead to rust and other potential issues that can prematurely put wear on your outdoor air conditioning unit.

Another reason that covers are not recommended for outside AC units is that they create an attractant for outside critters. Many would try to nest inside your unit because it’s much warmer than being out in the cold winter. Unfortunately, this can create several problems with your outdoor unit when you go to use it next summer.

AC Units Are Built for Bad Weather

It’s important to understand that air conditioner manufacturers specifically construct their outdoor units to withstand bad winter weather. From snow to ice, these units will stand up to the natural elements without any need for a cover. In fact, if you check your HVAC warranty, you won’t find anywhere that you must cover your outdoor unit to maintain your warranty status.

What About Leaves?

Leaves can create a real problem when it comes to your outdoor air conditioning unit. While the sides are well protected from entry, the top grates still allow debris to enter the fan blades. With regular washing, you can help to remove these leaves.

However, a great alternative to helping prevent these leaves from entering is to have a partial mesh cover that just goes over the top of your air conditioning unit. Unlike the commonly advertised sturdy full covers, these top covers are simply constructed of a light mesh material that helps to prevent large debris from entering the fan blade of your outdoor air conditioning unit.

The cover only sits over the topmost portion of your air conditioning unit and doesn’t cover up any of its sides. Most come with bungee cords on the side that can be simply attached to the side of the unit to hold the actual cover in place. Due to the mesh construct of these types of partial covers, they’re completely safe to use with your outdoor AC units. You’ll never have to worry about trapping moisture inside your air conditioning system.

Cleaning Your Unit Protects it From Wintertime Damage

If you’re concerned with properly preparing your outdoor air conditioning unit for the winter season, you can give it a thorough cleaning after the summer months. This will help remove unwanted debris like leaves and twigs stuck inside your system.

If this debris is inadequately removed, it can attract moisture and start to create corrosion on the metal surfaces inside your air conditioning unit. While you may be tempted to use a pressure washer to help speed through the process, it’s not recommended as it could bend the metal grates on the side of your unit. It’s best to stick with a garden hose and a good commercial cleaning product to get the job done.

Helpful HVAC Services

Bruce Mechanical Inc offers high-quality HVAC services for the entire Kennewick, WA, and surrounding areas. We can help with all your heat pump, indoor air quality, hydronic heat, ductless mini-split, ductwork, fireplace, and new construction needs. Simply call us today to schedule your next appointment with our skilled service technicians