When summer’s over and fall nights roll into town, off goes the A/C and on goes the heat. Fall’s a great time to maintain home systems, and outdoor A/C units tend to be one of those workhorses that some homeowners overlook as they transition into their reliance on heating systems.
As summer turns to fall and quickly rolls into the winter months, the A/C goes off and on goes the heat. Fall is an ideal time to go through your home maintenance checklist to prepare for winter. One integral element of every household is the outdoor HVAC system.
Every home is reliant on heat at some point during the wintertime. A question that keeps popping up among homeowners is, “Should I cover my A/C unit in winter?” Here we’ll cover the pros and cons of covering your A/C unit and what you can do to protect your unit when the temperature plummets.
Should I Cover My AC Unit in Winter?
Modern A/C units are typically manufactured to stand the test of time and weather fluctuations like snow, rain, and extreme heat, it may be unnecessary to cover your A/C unit in the off-season. But if your unit is older or you simply want to protect it from inclement weather, here are some factors to consider.
Pros to Covering an Outdoor A/C System
- Cleaner Coils That Will Last Longer – A/C units aren’t inexpensive pieces of equipment and homes rely on them to keep the inside temperature livable. That being said, covering your A/C unit during the winter may help keep the air conditioner coils cleaner, which would extend the life of your A/C unit.
- Less Debris – This seems to be the number one reason homeowners cover their A/C units in the winter. When it snows or winter storms start to pick up things like leaves, branches, sticks and other debris can blow into your unit. Covering it will ensure your HVAC unit stays debris-free all winter long.
- Prevents Frostbite – Obviously, your A/C unit can’t get actual frostbite, but it can freeze over. Covering it up in the wintertime will prevent frost from collecting on the coils, which could damage them and they’ll need to be cleaned and serviced.
Cons to Covering Outdoor A/C System
- Risk of Rust – Since winter weather isn’t consistently cold or freezing, the fluctuating outdoor temperatures could cause condensation to collect inside of the unit. When you consider the fact that your HVAC unit has an intricate web of electrical wiring, coils, circuit boards, and connectors, having moisture sit on these delicate components could prove fatal to your unit.
- Mold – Your air conditioner is built to be open-aired. Covering it will reduce proper airflow, and with moisture, mold could begin to grow and the coils. This could result in a decrease in your A/C unit’s efficiency over time.
- Rodents, Rats, and Squirrels, Oh My! – Critters look for warmth and shelter when freezing temperatures set in and will seek a safe haven in the most peculiar of places. Rodents have been known to creep their way into covered HVAC systems and will likely chew through vital parts of your unit, resulting in costly repairs come springtime.
Contact Sky Heating
If you are having an issue with your HVAC system or furnace, our technicians are fully trained and equipped to quickly determine the source of the problem and correct it. In addition to repairs and furnace replacement, we provide ductwork, air quality, and plumbing services in Portland, Gresham, The Dalles, and elsewhere across Oregon and Southwest Washington. Call us at 541-275-2918 or reach out online to schedule HVAC service.