Covering an AC For the Winter

Does an Air Conditioner Need to Be Under Wraps in the Cold Season?

Should I cover my air conditioner?

The best way to make sure your home’s cooling system lasts a long time is with proper maintenance. But what exactly does that mean? There are several ways homeowners can make sure their AC is in good working order. You want to make sure the air filter is changed out on a regular basis. But what, if anything needs to be for an air conditioner in the off months? Does an outdoor AC need to be covered for the winter?

You may have noticed neighbors putting their air conditioning unit under wraps before the first snow heads our way. Before purchasing an AC wrap, read the pros and cons of whether you really need to cover your AC. Our HVAC experts at Maximum Heating & Air Conditioning handles maintenance and repair for all types of cooling systems. There are some reasons that make covering an air conditioner a smart choice. But there are times when covering an AC would be a bad idea.

Good Reasons FOR Covering an Air Conditioner

An AC wrap can provide good protection for your outdoor AC from dirt, debris, snow, and ice. It’s a good idea before the summer season hits to clean your AC unit and its coils. This is true especially if it’s covered in dirt or muck. Obviously, if you had your unit covered over the winter, you avoided having a bug mess on your AC to clean up.

Covering an ac for the winter to protect from icicles

But there are some hazards that those AC wraps are not able to protect an AC unit from, such as icicles. Big chunks of Ice falling on an AC can damage the unit.

If your air conditioner sits under a spot where icicles form, you may want to consider covering your unit. But a fabric wrap won’t cut it. That is not going to give sufficient protection from falling ice. Instead, you would want to lay something hard over the top of the unit like a piece of plywood.

Reasons AGAINST Covering an Outdoor AC

While an AC cover may keep debris out, it might welcome small pests in. A wrapped AC can become a welcoming home to mice and other rodents. These creatures like to make areas like this their home over the coldest months.

And that can be a big problem, one that can seriously damage your air conditioner.

While rodents are staying warm under the AC wrap, they may also nibble on the nearby wires. That can cause a lot of damage to your unit. So, if you choose to get an AC cover, be sure to purchase one designed to keep small creatures out.

But there is another reason against covering an AC. Simply put, air conditioning units were built to be outdoors. Most AC brands undergo intense testing to ensure their systems will withstand harsh conditions, even those we experience in northern Illinois.

Aurora, IL home in winter

Bottom Line: Cover If You Want, But Do it Right

Covering an AC for part of the year may prevent some rust or damage. But it does not make up for the potential hazards that wrapping it can cause. So if you choose to put your air conditioner under wrap over the winter, just be sure you’re getting a good wrap to keep out mice and to only cover it over the cold months.

Make sure to uncover a wrapped AC BEFORE you turn your air conditioning back on again.

You will face a lot of problems if you start up your home’s cooling system without taking off the AC cover. You may even find that your cooling system won’t work at all.

If you find your AC is not working, give Maximum Heating & Air Conditioning in Aurora a call for a quick repair at (630) 788-4688.