Check Out Our Helpful Dos and Don’ts
How did we get here? How is it September already? It won’t be long now before our heating systems are in full operation to keep our homes comfy and cozy all winter long. In the meantime, you might be asking this about your air conditioner: Do I need to cover the outside unit before winter arrives?
Good question! Outside AC units are built to handle the rain and snow, but are vulnerable when fall winds kick up leaves, twigs, tree nuts, seeds and other debris. All of these items can get stuck, leading to moisture buildup and corrosion. They also can affect your AC’s performance. As a result, before you know it, your system is struggling and you’re on the hunt for an AC replacement.
Bundle Up Your AC for the Fall—But Not Too Tight!
So, we highly recommend that you cover your unit in the fall. But here’s a word of caution: Only cover the top part. When the cover completely surrounds the unit, this, too, can result in moisture buildup. Choose a cover that hangs down roughly 6 inches from the top of your unit.
Some homeowners keep their outdoor AC units covered up during winter because they think it safeguards them from snow, ice, sleet and other harsh winter conditions. But, as we mentioned earlier, air conditioning units are built to withstand this kind of punishment.
Here are other reasons why you shouldn’t keep your AC unit under wraps during winter:
- Moisture that builds up and is trapped by a cover will freeze and could eventually damage your condenser coils. During milder temperatures, the water that’s under the cover provides a great breeding ground for mold growth. Yuck!
- Contrary to what some homeowners think, a cover will not protect your unit from dirt during the winter. When the system is operating, it pulls in air, which brings dirt along with it. That’s true. But your system is off during the winter, so dirt is not a threat.
- You might think that covering your air conditioner will protect it from squirrels, chipmunks and other wild critters. Actually, the opposite is true. When these animals try to get out of the cold, a covered air conditioner can become an extremely attractive home.
Still using your AC? Here’s another tip from your friends at Complete Comfort: Never run your unit when the cover is on. To operate properly and efficiently, your air conditioning system needs sufficient airflow. Covers do not allow for the necessary exchange of heat and condensation.