PICKHVAC Scholarship Winner Article: Should I Cover My Air Conditioner In Winter or Summer?

Are you looking out to maintain your air conditioning unit and keep it running all year round? You might have also wondered should I Cover My Air Conditioner In Winter or Summer? Well, in that case, there are a couple of guidelines that you have to follow. Whether you own a heating unit or an air conditioning one, you must be aware of the fact that there are some key times every year, when you need to take care of them. This is ideally during spring and winter for both your heating and cooling systems. Besides following the daily maintenance schedule, many people wonder whether they should cover their air conditioning units in summer or winter. So in order to address your doubts, I have come up with a detailed guideline that will tell you everything that you need to know about maintaining your air conditioners and taking proper care of them.

When should you ideally cover your AC?

When it comes to covering your air conditioners, I would recommend you to cover it right after the summers and not merely for the winter. Having said this, I would also like to remind you that although your air conditioning unit is designed in a way to withstand every oddity against adverse weather conditions like the snow and the rain, yet it is not designed in a way to keep away from the leaves, nuts or the seeds. Due to this reason, you should always make it a point to cover your air conditioning units right after summer, during the falls and the winters. This is even more viable for the outdoor air conditioners because when the seeds, debris or leaves happen to enter your air conditioning unit, they end up creating a small space where more moisture gathers in the coming days. This moisture, eventually leads to corrosion. At the same time, it can also end up blocking your system’s in-built moisture drainage system.

But there is also another thing that you should be following. If you do happen to cover your air conditioning unit, it is highly recommended that you only cover its top. If you are using your own cover, make sure that it comes down to the side of your system by only six inches. You should never cover your cooling unit completely because if you do, you are inviting trouble. Any cover that will cover your unit completely will end up tapping moisture from within. This, in turn, will cause corrosion, rust and further damage.

Why should you cover your air conditioning system in the winter?

There are several reasons why you should make it a point to cover your air conditioner during the winters. To begin with, a cover will protect it from the flying debris and the dried leaves. If you don’t cover your AC, these debris and dried leaves can get stuck up in the condenser coil of your outdoor cooling unit. When something like that happens, it will not be able to release the much needed heat for cooling your space. Leaves and dust can indeed lead to a major problem. So besides making it a point to cover your air conditioners during winter, you should also make sure that you clean the coils of your AC during and before the winter season.

Another reason why you should cover your cooling unit in winters is that if you don’t, several inches of accumulating now might encase your unit. Although it is perfectly fine to have a light frosty layer around the unit, it is highly recommended that you don’t let it become encased in a completely thick layer of ice and snow. This might also damage the blades of the ac’s fan and the coil fins. Furthermore, the falling ice can end up hitting your unit extremely forcefully. This will cause external damage to the air conditioner and here too your coil fins will be susceptible to more intense damage.

The third and the final reason why you should be using covers on your air conditioner is than winter is usually characterized by water dripping from the trees. So this dripping water from the gutters and the trees might end up reaching your unit. Eventually, as the temperature will drop, the water transforms into ice and further damages the fins and the fan blades.

How to cover your air conditioner properly during the winters?

Now that you understand when and why you should actually cover your air conditioners, it is time for you to learn the right way of covering it. In the following section, we have added some guidelines for covering your AC unit during the winters in a proper and right way.

Always use a cover which is made of breathable and light material.

While covering your AC, try putting a plywood at the top of your unit. This, in turn, is going to act as a shield from the ice and snow which further weighs it down with bricks and rocks.

Use a wood awning or any shelter and attach it to the building which will over the top of your unit.

Try planting shrubs around your air conditioning unit. This will protect it from the blowing snow and the wind. Likewise, also make it a point to check with your respective air conditioning company about the proper clearance of air flow. This is extremely important for your AC’s proper operation during the summer time.

Try building your own shelter for the air conditioning unit. Build this shelter in such a way that it provides ample protection during the winter time. You will find some clever ideas about this both on Pinterest and other websites. Also, while figuring out designs for covering your air conditioning unit for the winters, try to ensure that you have the necessary clearance around the cooling machine for proper air flow.

Also, while you protect your AC unit, make sure you never do it with plastic. Also, try avoiding the commercially available covers that are made out of plastic. You should avoid plastic primarily because it is not breathable and due to this reason it will trap the condensation instead of letting it escape. This will eventually lead to rust and the growth of mold.

So what’s next? Follow these guidelines and keep your air conditioning working all year round.

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