Should You Cover Your Air Conditioner During the Winter?

December 29, 2020

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Are you supposed to cover your AC unit in winter?About 84% of US households have some form of air conditioning, so it’s safe to say that the majority of Americans agree that having an AC system in their homes is a must. We can also assume that most of us take certain measures to winterize our homes and HVAC systems to maximize our comfort and keep our energy bills down during the colder months.

However, there’s one age-old question that many AC owners still wonder about: can you leave the exterior unit of your air conditioner as is during fall and winter, or does it need a top cover to protect it from harsh weather?

In the following article, we’ll dispel this confusion once and for all by explaining both the advantages and disadvantages of covering an outdoor AC unit. Keep reading to learn more.

Are you supposed to cover your AC unit in winter?

You’re not. The reality is that engineers who design outdoor air conditioner units are fully aware that these devices could be exposed to extreme temperatures and harsh weather all year long, so they specifically design them to be able to withstand these conditions.

Needless to say, if you live in a city such as Chandler, which gets relatively mild winters compared to the other parts of the world, your AC will die from old age long before the weather can have any effect on it.

In addition to being completely unnecessary, covering your AC can actually interfere with its normal functioning.

Here’s why:

External AC units are made to be open to the air

Covering the unit blocks normal air flow, which can result in mold growths on your evaporator coil. This not only reduces the efficiency of your AC, it can also cause your AC to blow mold spores straight into your home.

Covers create a high humidity environment

Trapping moisture inside your AC’s system can cause it to corrode and rust. Also, since your outdoor AC unit contains wiring connections, electrical wiring, and possibly even a circuit board or two, there’s an increased risk of component failure.

Pests love AC covers

Rodents, birds, stray cats, and other animals love using covered ACs as shelter during the winter. In addition to being unhealthy, this often leads to electrical wires getting chewed, the insulation on Freon lines being taken apart, and the unit itself becoming a nest for mice.

Does covering your AC unit help?

Despite all of the above, there are indeed a few small benefits that can be gained by covering your external AC unit during the winter.

These benefits are:

  • A cover may keep the evaporator coils inside your AC a little cleaner, enabling it to run a bit more efficiently the next time it’s used.
  • A cover prevents debris such as sand, dust, dirt, sticks, leaves, and other yard waste from getting inside your outdoor AC unit, so putting a cover over it may be worthwhile if you’re expecting a sandstorm.
  • It keeps water from dripping directly onto your coils and freezing (this could potentially damage the unit).

Where can I find the most reliable air conditioning contractor in Chandler, AZ?

Does covering your AC unit help?Are you unsure whether you should use an air conditioner top cover, and you’d like to learn more about it from an experienced AC contractor? Or perhaps your heat pump has given up the ghost and you need to have it fixed ASAP? Whatever your AC-related needs may be, you can’t go wrong by reaching out to Hughes Air.

With over 30 years of hands-on experience and an extensive list of 5-star reviews, we can proudly call ourselves the premier HVAC contractor in Chandler. Give us a call today.