Winter has arrived for the year and that means it’s time to winterize your home if you haven’t already done so. There are the gutters and the garage to maintain and clean out, not to mention double checking the roof for leaks. And, don’t forget about your outdoor air conditioning unit!
Your air conditioner can handle the winter elements, but it’s still a good idea to invest in an air conditioner cover. But, not just any AC unit covers won’t do. You’ll need to know what type of cover to buy as well as how to cover your air conditioning unit efficiently and properly.
If this is all foreign information to you, then you need to keep reading. In this article, we’re discussing several reasons why you need an air conditioner cover and what to do with it once you get it home. Keep reading to learn more.
5 Reasons Why You Need an Air Conditioner Cover This Winter
If you’re the type of person that likes to be proactive and take care of problems before they occur, then you’ll want to invest in a good AC cover for your outdoor unit. Of course, leaving it uncovered may not result in damage. But isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?
The best time of year to use central air conditioner covers is actually in the fall when debris is falling and moving around your yard with the wind. Seeds and leaves can get caught in your AC coils and cause damage. Not to mention that if this type of debris is left unattended, it can grow mold and cause rust to form.
Air conditioning unit covers outside prevent snow from piling up and encasing your unit. A light layer of snow won’t do much damage, but the fan blades and coil fins can become damaged under a thick layer of snow or ice.
Falling icicles can cause a surprising amount of damage to your AC unit. They drop with a force that can impact the sensitive coil fins within your unit.
Likewise, ice that gets inside your unit can melt and re-freeze causing expansion within your unit that will damage the inner workings of the unit.
Insects and Other Critters
Winter is the perfect time of year for insects and other critters, like rodents, to seek shelter in your AC unit. Make sure you cover any access points so that nothing can get in.
Water is more likely to freeze in the winter. The weather in the winter can be quite unpredictable with rain one day and freezing temperatures the next. This can cause the water inside your AC unit to freeze and expand which will inevitably damage the inside of your unit.
Water can also be cause for mold if left untreated.
How to Cover Your Air Conditioning Unit for Winter
There are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to covering your AC unit properly. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your unit is getting the best care this winter.
You can find AC covers for winter at your local hardware store and online at select retailers. Make sure to look at the specifications of the covers before you buy so that you’ll understand what products are best. Most residential AC covers are made with a breathable material so as to prevent moisture from getting trapped inside your unit.
One of the easiest ways to cover your unit is to simply place a piece of plywood slightly larger than the top of your unit over the top. You’ll need cinder blocks or some other heavy material to hold it down so it doesn’t get blown off in a wind storm.
Awning or Shelter
A small awning or shelter built around your unit that covers the top and sides should be sufficient to protect your unit from falling ice and other debris. It also helps in the summer months when your AC unit is working hard to cool your home by shading the unit.
Plants or Shrubs
Another way to protect your unit without purchasing a cover is to simply plant large plants or shrubs around your unit. Make sure they aren’t seeding plants. Check out your AC unit manual for guidance on what type of clearance you need for the AC unit to work properly in the summer.
Spring Maintenance Tips
Once winter is over, you’ll need to uncover your unit and perform some preventative maintenance before summer arrives. Even if you think your air conditioner is in prime running condition, there are a few things to consider.
If your AC unit sits directly on the ground, you could be at risk for minor flooding which can cause significant damage. Consider lifting your unit off the ground by placing it on a concrete slab about four inches above the ground.
Prevent Direct Sun
Remember that awning and shelter we mentioned? This is a great way to prevent direct sun from penetrating your AC unit while it’s working all summer long. The heat from the sun can make the unit work harder which runs up your energy bills.
The most important thing you’ll need to do each year if you want to avoid calling the serviceman for repairs is to call the serviceman for maintenance. This includes coil cleaning which removes dust, leaves, and debris from your unit that can damage the fins inside your unit. Not to mention that mold growth.
Remember, if you do purchase an air conditioner cover, make sure to avoid plastics. And, don’t cover the unit completely or you could risk damage to your unit. Many HVAC specialists report that their Springtime calls often consist of repairs to AC units that have been improperly and completely covered (especially with plastic) over the winter.
If you have further questions about how to maintain your air conditioner during the winter, or if you need assistance, feel free to contact us! We have been serving the greater Indianapolis area for over 38 years.