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When Should You Cover Your AC Unit in the Winter?

Cassie Pound, owner of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric
Published by
Cassie Pound
February 13, 2022

It’s the end of summer. Fall is creeping around the corner, and your family has switched the AC off to enjoy the temperate, shortening days of the year.

Many homeowners take stock of their home systems in the fall and winter months, maintaining and preparing them for the cold. As a homeowner, it’s essential to take these necessary steps to ensure your home is livable and comfortable. However, most homeowners overlook their AC units as they turn them off and let them rest through the coming seasons.

A great question to ask: Should you cover your AC unit in winter? Honestly, it depends on your AC unit and the situations around your home. Read on to learn more about when and why you should cover your air conditioner.

Need comprehensive AC repair or replacement? Give the top-rated Broken Arrow HVAC service contractors at Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing a call today. We’ll get your AC back to normal so you and your family don’t have to worry about the impending heat of the summer.

Reasons to Not Cover Your Unit

Before we dive into the reasons why and when you should cover your unit, we want to inform you of the reasons why wrapping your AC unit in winter is not always a great idea. Many homeowners cover their AC and leave it at that, but doing so can cause more problems than it solves.

Snow and Ice Does Not Harm Your Unit

ACs come built sturdy with metal coatings that protect them from the elements, including snow, rain, intense cold, and intense heat. Remember that your AC’s manufacturer designed it to stay outside for its entire lifespan, so you don’t need to go out of your way to protect it.

Covers Collect and Hold Moisture

While a cover may prevent some moisture from entering your unit directly during and after a strong storm, humidity, condensation, and other elements make it impossible to keep all moisture from entering your device. Your cover, likewise, will collect water in its dips and folds. This standing water can quickly lead to mold growth or even rust your device if you don’t drain the cover frequently enough.

Covers Attract Small Animals

Homeowners tend to cover their ACs because they don’t want critters nesting inside. Unfortunately, using a cover has the opposite effect, as it will create an enclosed space for mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and other small creatures to make a temporary home.

When You Should Cover Your AC Unit in Fall

While manufacturers build ACs to withstand severe conditions, they aren’t entirely weatherproof. That said, you might want to worry more about covering your unit in the fall instead of winter.

Your AC can withstand the brutal cold and the snow and ice that come with it. It cannot handle a buildup of leaves, seeds, acorns, and other fall debris. You don’t need to reference the number of times you’ve raked your lawn for the “last” time to know how many leaves can continue to pile up before winter.

Inside your air conditioner, leaves and other debris can collect moisture, leading to corrosion, mold growth, and rust. This debris can also block and clog your unit’s moisture drainage system, causing more significant issues if not addressed immediately.

Overall, it can prove challenging for homeowners to cover their units during the fall. It may be cool one day and hot the next, prompting you to uncover and recover your AC multiple times throughout the season.

Ways to Effectively Cover Your AC

While we’ve outlined some of the problems involved with covering your unit, you can circumvent many of these with the right cover.

It’s best to use a breathable cover. This will prevent an excess of ice from building up inside the unit while preventing mold, rust, and animals from making homes. Breathable fabric can prevent detriments to the finish or components.

Besides using a wrap like this, you can attach an accessory to the top of the unit. This acts as a barrier against falling debris. You can craft DIY covers, but be sure the cover only comes no more than six inches down the side of the unit.

Covering the unit too much can cause some of the problems mentioned above to arise, like mold and trapped moisture.

Sometimes, ACs come with covers, making the process of finding a proper cover for your unit more streamlined. Check with us if you want to know more about porous covers for your specific unit. We have access to and can direct you toward an all-weather protective attachment for your AC.

How to Winterize Window AC Units

The best course of action involves removing windowed units once temperatures dip. This will lessen drafts that make their way around the edges of the unit and will help your device last longer.

Do not cover a window unit with plastic, as this contributes to mold growth and other moisture problems. Because you can remove the unit, we’d recommend you do so to avoid any weather- or cold-related issues.

Other Ways to Winterize Your AC Unit

Covering AC units in winter is not the only way to keep your AC safe. You should check your AC for leaves, pine needles, branches, animal nests, and other buildups, removing them from the device before the winter hits. All of these can cause damage, affecting your AC’s long-term performance.

Call Today for All Your AC Needs!

Regardless of the route you choose, it’s essential to take the necessary steps, so your AC works immaculately once the summer hits again. Cover your AC unit in the winter as needed, but don’t stick to it as a hard and fast rule.

Do you need comprehensive AC maintenance to ensure your device is ready for the summer? Give Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing a call today at 918-268-7343, and we’ll get a service technician to your home ASAP. We have all your bases covered, whether installing HVAC systems for a finished basement or tending to emergencies.

Cassie Pound, owner of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric
Published by
Cassie Pound

Cassie Pound is the Vice President of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric with locations in Tulsa, Glenpool, and Bartlesville, Oklahoma.