Should You Cover Your Air Conditioner In The Winter?

Should You Cover Your Air Conditioner In The Winter

Have you ever wondered, “Should you cover your air conditioner in the winter?” You’re not alone.

This friendly guide will cut through the confusion, offering clear, straightforward advice.

We’ll debunk myths, weigh the pros and cons, and provide practical tips.

All with the goal of helping you make an informed decision about winterizing your air conditioner.

So, get cozy, and let’s dive into this handy homeowner’s guide to keeping your AC unit in tip-top shape, even in the coldest winter months.

❄️ Why an Air Conditioner Cover Isn’t Always Necessary

air conditioning unit in winter

Contrary to popular belief, air conditioners are hardy machines.

They’re designed to face the elements head-on, and yes, that includes the chill of the harsh winter weather, too!

Made from robust, resilient materials, these units can handle snow, sleet, and freezing temperatures – they’re tough cookies.

But you might ask, “Why not just cover them up anyway? It couldn’t hurt, right?

Well, here’s the thing: While it may seem like a good idea, covering your air conditioner can actually do more harm than good.

Covering the entire AC unit up can trap moisture inside, leading to rust and corrosion.

Moreover, a covered unit becomes a cozy winter home for critters, inviting unwanted guests such as mice or insects.

These little intruders can cause quite a bit of damage by chewing on wires or nesting inside.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should leave your air conditioner unit entirely at the mercy of Mother Nature.

You can shield the top of the unit from falling icicles or heavy snow accumulation, which could potentially cause damage.

Just remember to leave the sides open for ventilation.

So, your air conditioner doesn’t need a winter coat. It’s already equipped to withstand winter’s harsh conditions.

What it needs is regular check-ups and maintenance to keep it running smoothly and efficiently.

Doing so protects your outdoor AC unit and ensures a cool, comfortable summer ahead.

❄️ When You Should Cover Your AC Unit In the Winter

Outdoor AC condenser covered in snow

During fall, cover your air conditioner if it’s near many trees to prevent leaves and other debris from entering.

Any debris should be cleared during your annual maintenance service to avoid complications.

That’s why we advise servicing your air conditioner before its first use each year.

In winter, you don’t have to cover your air conditioner.

However, beware of icicles forming above.

Remove them or use a sturdy top or wood to shield your unit if they can’t be removed.

Mesh covers are an option but won’t protect against falling ice. Your unit’s protection lies in your hands!

❄️ How to Cover Your AC the Right Way

air conditioning cover in winter

✔️ Step 1: Choose the Right Air Conditioner Cover

Did you know that a special cover for your air conditioner unit exists?

These are breathable and designed to keep moisture out while preventing debris from entering.

Avoid using plastic sheets as they can hold moisture and cause damage to the outdoor air conditioner unit.

✔️ Step 2: Clean Before Covering

Before putting that air conditioner cover on, quickly clean up your unit.

Remove any leaves, twigs, or other debris that might have gathered around it.

✔️ Step 3: Secure the Cover

Now, fit the cover over your outdoor AC unit.

Make sure it’s snug but not too tight – you don’t want to restrict airflow.

Secure it with bungee cords or weights to keep it from flying off on a windy day.

✔️ Step 4: Regular Checks

Even with a cover on, make sure to check your unit regularly.

Look out for icicles forming above and remove them to avoid damage.

Use sturdy wood to shield your unit if they can’t be removed.

Remember, your outdoor AC unit doesn’t need a winter coat to stay warm, but a good cover will protect it from winter’s messier elements.

❄️ How Do Winter Conditions Affect Outdoor AC Units?

AC unit covered in snow

🌨️ Snow and Ice Buildup:

Snow and ice can damage your outdoor HVAC system and components.

Excessive snow and ice can obstruct airflow, reduce system efficiency, or cause physical damage.

It’s essential to keep your outdoor air conditioning unit well clear of snow and ice buildup.

🌨️ Severe Weather Conditions:

Heavy rain, wind, hail, or snow can inflict damage on your AC unit.

Debris from storms can obstruct air flow and dent the unit, impacting its performance

🌨️ Moisture Damage:

Covering your AC unit in winter can hold moisture within the unit, leading to rust, corrosion, and poor airflow.

Moisture can also freeze the air conditioners condenser coil, causing further damage.

🌨️ Cold Temperatures:

Running your AC unit in extremely cold temperatures can damage the machine and lead to more problems once the weather gets hotter.

🌨️ Attracting Critters:

Winter is a time when many small animals look for warm, protected places to hibernate – and a covered AC unit can seem like the perfect spot!

The warmth of the unit, combined with the shelter provided by the cover, can attract critters such as mice, squirrels, or even insects.

These uninvited guests may chew on wires, nest in vents, or cause other damage that can affect your AC’s performance when spring arrives.

❄️ Frequently Asked Questions to Should You Cover Your Air Conditioner In The Winter

icicles hanging from roof

What’s a Better Way to Protect Your AC During the Winter?

A great way to protect your AC during winter is regular maintenance.

Brush off excess snow and consider a protective shield for the top against heavy accumulation.

Remember, full covers can trap moisture, causing damage. Your AC is tough, but a little TLC never hurts!

Will Snow Damage My Air Conditioner?

Absolutely! Your AC unit is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, including snow.

While excessive snow can affect efficiency and cause physical damage, regular AC maintenance, like brushing off excess snow, keeps your unit running smoothly.

Rest assured, your AC is well-equipped to handle winter!

❄️ Conclusion

Phyxter Home Services Team

In conclusion, your AC unit is a winter warrior capable of braving the snowy season.

With a bit of regular maintenance and care, it will continue to work efficiently all year round.

Keep in mind that every warrior appreciates a little help, so don’t hesitate to lend a hand.

For more valuable insights about HVAC maintenance, stay tuned with us.

We’re here to empower you with practical tips and tricks to keep your home comfortable, no matter the weather!

✋ Want to learn more about your home’s air conditioning system? Check out our other HVAC articles!

Dealing with other common AC problems? Check out: Top 18 Common AC Problems and Solutions.

Jake Gibson

Jake Gibson is a force to be reckoned with in the HVAC industry. As the CEO of Phyxter, he has made it his mission to revolutionize how contractors work. With a background in HVAC, entrepreneurship, and technology, Jake brings innovation and expertise to this traditional industry.

About our blog

Phyxter (pronounced Fix-ter) is a national home services brand specializing in Residential HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing solutions.

Phyxter is laser-focused on writing the best articles and guides to empower homeowners to get the best out of their homes.

We hope you enjoy it!

Looking for something?

Join our Newsletter!