As the scorching summer sun starts to fade and the relief of fall starts to settle in, residents of Boynton Beach start preparing their homes and yards for the the upcoming cold weather. For many, that leads to the question of whether they should cover their outside AC for the winter.
While it may seem like a great idea, the fact is 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 sometimes cause problems.
Here, the specialists at A2Z Air Inc share five reasons why covering your AC 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
Exterior AC units are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions like snow in the winter. These units are built with sturdy materials and components that can handle the outdoor elements without damage. The coils and fins of the unit are specially developed to resist corrosion, and the housing is designed to protect the internal parts 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 wintertime is because doing so can trap moisture—which is not at all what you want in your outdoor unit. That’s because trapping moisture inside the unit generates the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to flourish.
Mold and mildew not only have an undesirable aroma, but they can also present health risks, especially for household residents with respiratory issues or allergies. Plus, the trapped moisture can corrode the internal components of the AC unit.
Instead of 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
You and your family aren’t the only ones who prepare for winter. Animals that live around your home are also looking for a warm, cozy place to crash for the wintry months. For many creatures, a covered air conditioner is an awesome winter home.
Birds, mice, chipmunks and even rats often make homes inside covered air conditioners. Animals residing in a covered air conditioner can cause numerous problems. Rats can chew through wires, insulation and other connections, causing damage that may require pricey repairs. Debris animals bring into the AC to create a warm and comfortable bed can block airflow and ventilation, reducing the efficiency of the unit and potentially causing it to overheat. In addition, animal waste can result in unsanitary conditions and foul 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 cooling system—and leaves you with less mess to clean up and things to repair once the snow melts.
4. Covering Your Air Conditioner Restricts Airflow
Another reason not to cover your air conditioner in the winter is because a cover blocks airflow through the unit. Adequate airflow is essential for the AC system because it assists heat exchange and permits the unit to cool efficiently. When airflow is severely limited, the system has to work harder to achieve the desired temperature, resulting in greater energy consumption and strain on the components.
In addition, if you run your air conditioner without realizing that the outside unit is covered or because you simply forgot, it could result in a range of problems. One issue is that the lack of proper airflow could cause the compressor to overheat, leading to its failure or damage. That’s why it is necessary to ensure the outdoor unit is always cleared of any blockages 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 air conditioner than to cover your exterior AC unit.
There are numerous key maintenance projects you should prioritize to ensure the best possible performance and longevity of your AC unit. First, it’s smart to examine your outdoor AC unit regularly and get rid of any debris such as leaves, sticks 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 hinder effective heat exchange or airflow.
Scheduled air conditioning maintenance not only enhances efficiency, but it also helps extend the unit's life span, decreases energy consumption and avoids costly repairs. Rather than using a cover, putting time and effort into routine air conditioning maintenance is a proactive strategy that can significantly benefit your entire HVAC system in the long run.