Winter is just around the corner. Therefore, you should determine the areas around your home that need winterization. Generally, the winterization process includes insulating outdoor faucets, cleaning gutters, and booking professional HVAC maintenance. While taking steps to prepare your home for winter, pay special attention to your air conditioner because it will dictate the comfort level inside your home once the weather warms up again. Many homeowners ask us if they need an air conditioner cover or not. Read on to learn more about this query.
Does My Air Conditioning Unit Need a Cover in the Winter?
- 1 Does My Air Conditioning Unit Need a Cover in the Winter?
- 2 Call PFO Heating & Air Conditioning For All Your HVAC Requirements
Simply put, you should not cover your air conditioning unit. Even if there is harsh weather linked with winter, it isn’t necessarily needed to cover your air conditioner as part of your winterization preparations. There are many opinions about this issue, but keep in mind that air conditioners are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions for extended periods. For example, the condenser was intentionally made to have a durable and long-lasting finish so the air conditioner can be used outdoors. It can hold out against weather conditions like snow, rain, sleet, and hail. The inner components, like the coils, can also withstand extreme weather, so you do not have to cover your air conditioning unit during winter.
Why Some Homeowners Think They Should Cover Their Air Conditioners
Manufacturers usually advise against covering your air conditioner in the winter. However, many still believe that doing so poses some benefits, such as:
- The cover protects the air conditioner from debris.
- Many also think that a cover keeps their air conditioners running efficiently as it prevents the unit from incurring long-term wear and tear that may be caused by debris and moisture buildup.
- They also believe that the cover helps the air conditioner’s from getting into direct contact with the coils, so there are fewer chances of electrical issues like short circuits.
Reasons Covering Your Air Conditioner is a Bad Idea
Despite the previously stated advantages, experts still say that it is best to leave air conditioners uncovered in the winter. Air conditioners can tolerate extreme winter weather and are also designed to run in the open. Covering your air conditioner only creates the ideal conditions for moisture buildup, which can cause damage to your air conditioner down the line. Other disadvantages you incur when you cover your air conditioner in the winter are:
- Trapped moisture under the cover can result in rust and corrosion of the air conditioner’s metallic components.
- The cover creates a humid environment that can result in electrical components damage.
- An air conditioner is created to run in the open air, so covering it only blocks the airflow and encourages mold and mildew to grow.
- The cover tends to attract rodents and other critters searching for a place they can live in during winter. Worse, rodents can bite through the electrical wires of your cooling unit and cause it to malfunction.
- Covering air conditioners isn’t recommended by manufacturers. Doing so can void the warranty.
- A cover on your air conditioner can cause the temperatures around the unit to drop further. This can cause the air conditioner coils to freeze.
Covering your air conditioner exposes it to potential damage. If you have to cover it, ensure that you use a breathable cover that lets air circulate freely. However, as previously mentioned, this can attract critters and make your air conditioner their home. Therefore, it is better to just build an overhead structure that can protect your air conditioner against falling debris, like sticks and leaves. This lets your air conditioner have sufficient breathing space and be rodent-free.
Tips to Protect Your Air Conditioner in Winter
Air conditioners are designed to withstand harsh weather. However, snow and hail can reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner, especially if they get stuck inside for a fairly long time. Therefore, you need to find ways to protect your cooling system, preferably a method that doesn’t require covering the unit tightly. Here are several recommendations to help you:
- Place plywood at the top of your air conditioner and weigh it down with rocks or bricks so falling ice and snow cannot get in the unit.
- Cover the entire air conditioner surface by extending your awning.
- Plant trees and shrubs around your AC unit to shield it against heavy winds that may push snow into your air conditioner.
- Construct a shade over your air conditioner to protect it during the summer and winter.
- Hire an HVAC professional to thoroughly check your air conditioner and repair any issues.
Is it Advisable to Run Your Air Conditioner in Winter?
No, running your air conditioning unit in the winter isn’t advisable. Air conditioners with condensers are usually designed to run in warm weather. The condenser or the outdoor unit utilizes an oil-based lubricant to grease the compressor. Sub-zero temperatures can cause the oil to freeze, so it cannot lubricate the compressor properly. Your air conditioner will overwork to pump air if this happens. As a result, it uses more energy and hastens wear. If the winter doesn’t have extremely low temperatures, you can turn down your heating system per your household’s needs.
Covering your air conditioner during the winter will likely cause more harm than good. Therefore, leave your air conditioner alone during your winterization process. Consult a professional HVAC contractor for more information on what you can do to prepare your HVAC system for the coming winter.
Call PFO Heating & Air Conditioning For All Your HVAC Requirements
PFO Heating & Air Conditioning provides top-notch heating and cooling services in the Greater Princeton, NJ area. Our experienced and knowledgeable technicians can conduct superior HVAC maintenance, installations, repairs, and replacements. Rest assured, we hire only the best professionally certified technicians who can perform accurate HVAC system services at all times.
For the most affordable HVAC service costs in the locality, make sure to contact PFO Heating & Air Conditioning. Our tune-up services can increase your home’s energy efficiency and comfort while lowering your energy bills. If your HVAC system needs replacing or repairing, we can recommend the best solution within your budget. We back all of our work with a guarantee. Book your next service appointment with PFO Heating & Air Conditioning today and receive a free, in-home estimate.