As the sweltering summer sun starts to fade and the cooler temperatures of fall starts to settle in, residents of Tomball start preparing their homes and yards for the wintertime. For many, that leads to the question of whether they need to cover their outdoor air conditioning unit for the winter.
While it may seem like a smart idea, in reality there are multiple reasons why you shouldn’t cover your AC unit in the winter. In addition to not being necessary, covering your outdoor air conditioning equipment can actually cause problems.
Here, the specialists at Premium Air Services LLC share five reasons why covering your air conditioning equipment doesn’t need to be on your fall to-do list and what you should do instead.
1. Your AC Unit Isn’t Damaged by Snow
Outdoor AC units are supposed to withstand harsh weather conditions like snow in the winter season. These units are built with sturdy materials and parts that can handle the outdoor elements without damage. The coils and fins of the unit are constructed to resist corrosion, and the housing is designed to protect the internal elements from moisture and debris.
2. Covering Your Air Conditioner Can Cause Mold
One of the reasons you should not cover your air conditioner in the winter is because doing so can trap moisture—which is definitely not what you want in your outdoor unit. That’s because sealing moisture inside the unit creates the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to flourish.
Mold and mildew not only have an undesirable smell, but they can also create health risks, especially for household residents with respiratory issues or allergies. Also, the excess moisture can corrode the internal components of the AC unit.
As an alternative to covering the unit, instead make sure the unit has proper drainage and keep the area around the unit clear of debris, allowing for efficient airflow and preventing moisture buildup.
3. A Covered Air Conditioner Can Attract Animals
Humans aren’t the only ones who make plans for winter. Animals that live around your home are also searching for a warm, cozy place to crash for the winter months. For many animals, a covered air conditioner is an awesome winter home.
Birds, mice, chipmunks and even rats commonly make winter dens inside covered air conditioners. Animals residing in a covered AC unit can cause many problems. Rodents can chew through wires, insulation and other parts, causing damage that may require pricey repairs. Debris animals bring into the AC to create a warm and comfortable home can obstruct airflow and ventilation, limiting the efficiency of the AC and potentially causing it to overheat. In addition, animal excrement can result in unsanitary conditions and potent odors.
Leaving your air conditioner uncovered helps deter wildlife, because an uncovered AC provides less shelter from chilly temperatures than a covered unit. That’s better for your AC—and leaves you with less mess to clean up and things to repair when winter is over.
4. Covering Your Air Conditioner Restricts Airflow
Another reason it's better that you don't cover your AC unit in the winter is because a cover restricts airflow through the unit. Proper airflow is essential for the AC system because it assists heat exchange and permits the unit to cool effectively. When airflow is restricted, the system has to work harder to achieve the desired temperature, causing additional energy consumption and strain on the components.
In addition, if you run your air conditioning without knowing that the outdoor unit is covered or because you simply forgot, it could result in a range of problems. One issue is that the shortage of appropriate airflow could cause the compressor to overheat, leading to its failure or damage. That’s why it is crucial to ensure the outdoor unit is free from barriers and is not covered to maintain the best possible airflow.
5. AC Maintenance Works Better Than Covering Your Air Conditioner
The bottom line is, it's a lot more effective to do a little maintenance for your cooling system than to cover your outdoor AC unit.
There are numerous key maintenance projects you should prioritize to ensure maximum operation and longevity of your AC unit. First, it’s a good idea to look at your outdoor AC unit regularly and pull out any debris such as leaves, small branches and dirt to allow proper airflow. Second, check and clean the coils, fins and filters to make sure they are free from dirt and dust buildup that would prevent efficient heat exchange or airflow.
Routine air conditioning maintenance not only enhances efficiency, but it also helps extend the unit's life span, reduces energy consumption and protects against costly repairs. Rather than using a cover, putting time and effort into routine air conditioning maintenance is a proactive plan of action that can substantially benefit your entire HVAC system in the long run.