Should You Cover Your AC Unit This Fall and Winter?

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Now that winter is here and temperatures are cool, you probably have turned on the heat. In fact, you may have already called your local heating company to service your system so that your house can be warm and cozy all winter long. But before the cold really hits, you have an important decision to make: should you cover your AC unit during fall and winter?

Around 87 percent of U.S. households have air conditioning, which means that most Americans can agree that having a cooling system is a must. But what they don’t always agree on is whether those air conditioning units should be covered during the fall season. Some HVAC specialists feel it’s unnecessary, while others, like Home Comfort Experts, recommend that you use a specific type of cover to protect your unit from inclement weather. In today’s post, we’ll discuss each point of view and make some recommendations. For further information, you’ll want to contact your cooling and heating company.

The Case For Covering Your AC Unit

This argument is a bit polarizing, but there are certain circumstances wherein it makes sense to cover your unit. Some people choose to cover their air conditioner during the fall, when leaves, dirt, branches, and other debris can easily become lodged in your unit. When seeds, nuts, and other small items find their way inside, they can create additional moisture accumulation. This, in turn, can lead to corrosion (and the need for expensive AC repairs). During autumn, you can cover just the top portion of your air conditioner to ensure that these particles aren’t able to infiltrate. After that part of the season is over, you can remove the cover. It is always a mistake to wrap the entire unit, though that method is very popular.


There are a couple of other conditions that may make you want to cover your unit. In case of hail storms, wind storms, or extreme blizzards, you may want to take the precaution to cover your unit beforehand. You won’t need to keep the cover on for a prolonged period of time, but this added protection can keep excess moisture or debris from getting into your unit. It’s not always a must, but nervous homeowners may achieve some peace of mind by doing so. However, a regular old rain shower or snowfall won’t require you to take this action.


Why Covering Your Air Conditioner May Not Be Necessary

Your own heating company might not actually see the need to cover your AC unit at all. After all, its components are actually made to withstand harsh weather conditions like the cold (and even ice and snow). If you keep up with your air conditioning maintenance, take steps to cut back surrounding trees, and remove extraneous debris in the fall, you’ll probably be fine to leave your AC unit uncovered during the fall and winter. In fact, many major air conditioning manufacturers don’t recommend that you cover your unit during the offseason.


There are actually some reasons your heating company and your AC manufacturer might recommend that you not wrap the entire unit. Wrapping your air conditioner can encourage insects and rodents to take refuge in and around your unit, which can cause major problems down the line. Unless you want to replace expensive components come spring, you might want to think twice before wrapping the entire unit — instead, look for a shower-cap style cover that just seals the top and prevents debris from floating inside. Mold and mildew can take hold when you wrap the entire outside of your unit, and the fact is that this kind of cover won’t actually prevent moisture accumulation.

In short: if you assumed that wrapping your AC unit would protect it from the winter weather, you might be misinformed. Other than during times of very extreme weather or a lot of falling debris, it is not a good idea to completely wrap your compressor unit in the typical tarp-and-bungee method. Unless your unit is in precarious condition — in which case you should contact your cooling and heating company anyway — it’ll defend itself just fine by just snugly covering the top.

Contact the heating professionals at Home Comfort Experts today to learn about our services. We serve Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan from our 12 locations. Give us a call at (574) 255-4600 to learn about our full complement of heating, cooling and plumbing services.

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