What You Should Know About Covering Your Air Conditioner This Winter

Once the weather begins to cool down, winterizing your air conditioner is something you need to think about. If you live in an area that receives heavy winter precipitation, you may want to consider covering the condenser. However, you just cannot simply place a tarp over the unit. Here are some things you should know in order to cover your condenser properly.

Why Should You Cover Your Outdoor Unit?

A home's HVAC system is one of the most expensive aspects of homeownership. Therefore, you need to ensure you do everything possible to take care of it. During the winter season, dry leaves, sticks, and other debris can become trapped in the condenser, possibly damaging internal parts. Snow accumulation and ice can also cause structural damage. The snow can cause the fan blades to bend and no longer work. Ice can also dent the panels, fans, and coils.

What Should You Use to Cover the Outdoor Unit?

You need to be careful when you consider your options for covering the outdoor unit. You need to use a breathable material made from mesh on the unit. You also can use a piece of plywood weighed down on top of the condenser. If you want to create a permanent covering that you can reapply every winter, you can build a mobile awning or other shelter to stand over the condenser.

You should not wrap any sort of plastic or tarp around the outdoor unit, which includes the special plastic covers designed for an air conditioner. Plastic does not allow the air to get through to the inside of the condenser. Although the goal is to protect the condenser from the winter elements, you still need to allow air to get inside during all-weather seasons. If the air cannot flow through the system, major damage can occur.

In addition, any wrapping of plastic around an outdoor unit can prevent the evaporation necessary. The condensation can then become trapped inside, causing the growth of mold and mildew. The condensation can freeze inside the unit and cause damage to the coils. Full plastic covering is also an ideal hiding spot for rodents and insects, who can damage the inside of a condenser by chewing lines and leaving waste material behind.

Do not cover your outdoor condenser unit without talking to your HVAC technician first. He or she will help you choose an option that is best for you and your home.

For more information, contact an AC repair service.