AC Maintenance: Should I Cover My Air Conditioner in Winter?

By October 28, 2020April 14th, 2022No Comments
HVAC heating and air conditioning residential units or heat pumps

Winter’s just around the corner. Time to cover up your air conditioner… or should you? While covering up an air conditioner can have some benefits, it can also have some drawbacks as well.

So, if you’re wondering, “should I cover my air conditioner in winter?”, you should read on. We’re going to discuss some of the specific related to the practice below.

Should I Cover My Air Conditioner in Winter: Exploring the Myths

To be sure, there is some benefit to covering an air conditioner in the winter. However, it’s probably not the benefit that you expect.

Covers aren’t going to do much to stifle the effects of rain and snow. Much of the moisture from rain and snow will still make its way to the unit. And what you might be happy to hear is that, even if they’re not covered, air conditioning units will go largely unscathed.

See, these units are built to withstand the effects of rain and snow. Their manufacturers understand that they’ll be installed outside, and so construct them in a way that keeps moisture and ice damage to an absolute minimum.

Yes, there is a chance that their internal components will become a little dirty. However, the amount of dirt that they take on will pose no problems. Plus, you should be cleaning the interior of your air conditioner unit on a regular basis anyway.

Upsides to Covering Your Air Conditioner

There are two upsides to covering an air conditioner during the winter. One of these upsides is that you’ll help to keep the system’s internal components clean. After all, if the top of the unit is closed off, not as much dirt will be able to make its way in.

The other benefit of covering an air conditioner is that you’ll prevent items from falling into the unit. So, for example, if a branch were to break off of a tree and fall onto the unit, the residue from the branch wouldn’t be able to fall down into the system.

It’s important to remember, however, that air conditioning units are already covered with metal bars. And while these bars won’t entirely deter the entry of miscellaneous debris, they’ll still keep out the large items.

So, while there are upsides to covering your air conditioner, they don’t make a substantial difference. And many would argue that they fail to outweigh the downsides of putting on a cover.

Downsides to Covering Your Air Conditioner

Putting a cover on an air conditioner has benefits, so why shouldn’t you do it? Well, because it could actually do more harm than good.

First of all, by putting a cover on your air conditioner, you’re allowing it to trap moisture in close quarters. The result of this? Mold growth, and, in the long run, rust.

Another problem associated with covering your air conditioner is that you’re essentially creating a home for rodents and other pests. When the weather gets really cold, these pests will look for covers quarters in which they can lodge. Your air conditioning unit will be an obvious choice.

Once they’ve made their way to your AC unit, they might try to work their way into it. Once there, they can do damage to various components. So, in essence, by covering your AC unit, you could be attracting damage to it.

Lastly, covers cost money. So, if you were to use one, you would essentially be paying for the potential destruction of your AC system. That’s just a bad deal.

Covering an Air Conditioner Properly

Now, let’s say that you do want to cover your air conditioner. That’s fine. But if you do so, you’re going to want to do it so that you limit the downsides as much as possible.

So, instead of wrapping the AC unit up entirely, you should only cover the very top of it, ideally with a plywood board. Hold that board down with a brick or two and you’ll be good to go for the rest of the winter.

By doing this, you’ll keep debris out of the AC but will also prevent mold and rust from building up upon it. The AC’s external shell should offer enough protection for its internal components, rendering a full cover meaningless.

But again, this isn’t really necessary. You can make do easily without covering your AC unit at all.

Preparing Your AC for the Winter

Though covering your AC won’t do much to prepare it for the winter, implementing some other measures will. Make sure to clear (including trees and hedges) the area around the condenser so that there is as little risk for debris as possible.

You’ll also want to change your HVAC’s air filter and listen out for any strange noises. Make sure to check for refrigerant leaks as well.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your system inspected by a professional. That way, they can handle any potential problems before the winter weather exacerbates them. It’s wise to have your HVAC system inspected yearly anyways, so now would be a good time to facilitate that.

Need Air Conditioner Maintenance in Forney, TX?

And there it is, an answer to the question of “should I cover my air conditioner in winter?” As you can see, by and large, covering your air conditioner is a bad idea. If you really want to prepare your AC unit for the winter season, you should instead utilize the services of a professional air conditioner maintenance company.

Looking for air conditioner maintenance in Forney, TX? Infinity Texas Air has you covered. We provide not only AC maintenance services but AC repair and AC installation as well.

Contact us now to get the process started!