Winters in Louisiana are generally mild, but they don’t require residents to use their air conditioning units for comfort. Since you don’t need your cooling system during the coldest months of the year, you might wonder about covering the outdoor unit to protect the equipment.
Should you cover AC units in winter or leave them open to the elements? Covington’s air conditioning experts at Airsmiths Cooling & Heating explain that properly shielding AC systems is acceptable in certain conditions.
When Should You Cover Your AC Unit in Winter?
When asking, “Should you cover an AC unit in winter?” you should first consider your location. Living in a warm climate might require yearlong cooling system use, so covering the outdoor unit is unnecessary. Your home could also have a heat pump that provides cool and warm air for around-the-clock comfort.
It might be best to cover the outdoor portion of air conditioning systems if winters in your location are prone to harsh weather conditions. Though whole-home cooling units can handle constant exposure to the elements, excessive precipitation with freezing temperatures could trigger many freeze/thaw cycles.
You might also consider covering your air conditioner if trees on or near your property are likely to shed leaves, pine needles, and other debris into the outdoor unit’s open slats. A proper cover will make it easier to clean the equipment in the spring to prepare for summer temperatures.
Despite the reasons you might cover your air conditioner during the winter months, you should still avoid completely wrapping the equipment in non-breathable material. Here’s why.
1. Air Conditioning Units Can Survive the Winter
Whole-home air conditioners with outdoor units will be under constant exposure to various weather conditions, including extreme temperatures, rain, hail, snow, and ice. Manufacturers make the equipment with durable, corrosion-resistant metals like stainless steel. They also insulate electrical components to protect them from electrical damage in wet conditions.
2. Pests Will Hide in the Cover
During the winter, critters look for warm shelters. Covering your outdoor air conditioning unit will make the equipment more appealing to pests that will use it as a safe place to nest.
Squirrels, mice, and other wildlife can cause considerable problems if they move into your covered air conditioner. They’ll use messy leaves and debris to build nests inside the outdoor unit and chew wiring and insulation, leading to unwanted and costly HVAC damage.
You should also consider what might happen if pests leave your covered air conditioner and find ways to enter your home. It’s easy for small rodents like mice to fit into small gaps within the HVAC unit and gain entry into your house. It’s better to keep pests at bay by leaving your AC unit uncovered and uninviting.
3. Complete Covers Can Lead to Mold
There’s no way to completely prevent moisture from getting inside an AC unit, which is why manufacturers design them to function in wet weather conditions. However, when you wrap the equipment in a thick tarp or cover it from top to bottom, you end up trapping moisture. The excess condensation and darkness can cause mold to grow and release spores inside your house.
If you must cover your AC unit, it’s best to stick with a breathable cover that shields the top of the AC unit from debris.
Allow Airsmiths Cooling & Heating To Give Your HVAC Unit the Care It Deserves
The answer to “Should you cover AC units in winter?” isn’t a definitive yes or no. However, you can be confident that the team at Airsmiths Cooling & Heating can provide whatever services your air conditioner needs to maintain optimal performance. As a long-standing family-run HVAC company, Airsmiths is trusted among countless residential and commercial clients throughout Covington, LA, and the surrounding areas. Our certified technicians handle everything from AC maintenance and installation to indoor air quality testing. Call Airsmiths Cooling & Heating today at 985-400-5093 to request an appointment.