Do I Need to Cover My Air Conditioning Unit during the Winter?

Once fall begins in New Lenox and surrounding areas, many stop using their air conditioner and transition to their furnaces when the temperatures drop. Some homeowners use the fall months to perform professional maintenance on their AC units. One of homeowners’ most frequently asked questions about their AC unit is whether they should cover it during the winter.

Can an AC Unit Survive Uncovered in the Winter?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Newer outdoor AC units are designed to stand up under extreme temperatures. This includes hot summers and inclement weather. The coils and mechanics inside the outdoor AC unit are protected from the weather. Of course, the quality of the AC unit you purchase will impact how well it holds up to winter weather.

The most important things a homeowner can do are winterize their outdoor unit, have it professionally maintained, and ensure that the outdoor unit is protected from debris, animal nests, and other buildups.

Circumstances That May Require You to Cover Your AC Unit during the Winter

In northern parts of the country, like Illinois, you typically use air conditioning for between four and six months. You may want to cover the outdoor AC unit to protect it from the weight of snow, ice buildup, and falling leaves during the other months.

Air conditioners are tested to stand up to icy conditions. However, excessive snowfall and excessive ice buildup can gradually damage the coils.

If your AC unit is near a tree, pine needles and leaves may fall and fill it. Covering your unit can help keep those things out of it. This will make it much easier for you come springtime. No one wants to clean a bunch of leaves and gunk out of an AC unit.

Additionally, if your AC sits under a part of the roof that typically forms large icicles during the winter, you may want to cover the unit with a shelter recommended by your HVAC technician. All it takes is one giant icicle to fall and damage your AC fan.

Some people cover their AC unit because they don’t want the hassle of having to clean it up come springtime. They like to have fall maintenance done and protect their unit. They will know that when they start the unit up in the late spring, it will function as it should with no debris problems.

What Types of Materials Should You Use to Cover Your AC?

If you cover your AC unit, avoid using plastic or any covering that restricts airflow. This will damage your unit by promoting rust because moisture will build up inside the unit.

Using a watertight cover could make your outdoor AC unit the perfect home for critters looking to survive the winter’s cold and moisture. However, covering your unit using the proper type of coverage will not hurt it during winter. This is why it is so important to seek the recommendation of your HVAC company.

Should You Cover Window or Wall-Mounted AC Units?

If you have a window AC unit, you should remove it from the window during the winter instead of covering it. This will prevent drafts around the appliance and also make it so that the unit lasts longer. Unlike the outdoor component of a central AC unit, window units are not designed to be kept out all year long.

Wall-mounted units, like ductless mini-splits, are harder to remove during the fall and winter. These should be covered with a breathable fabric to alleviate drafts while not collecting moisture. Of course, you wouldn’t want to do this if your wall-mounted unit also serves as a heat pump during the winter. In this case, you would want to leave the outdoor unit uncovered so as not to inhibit its air intake.

High-Quality Heating and Air Conditioning in New Lenox, Illinois

At Zark Heating & Cooling, we are proud to have a trained, certified team that has been providing HVAC care to our neighbors for more than a decade. We are committed to investing in training and are proud to be NATE- and NIC-certified. Additionally, we are Energy Star and ACCA accredited. When you contact our team, you will get nothing but professional HVAC service.

Our services include HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair. We are proud to install mini-splits, humidifiers, air scrubbers, whole-house fans, UV lights, radiant heating, and more. Other services we offer include air balancing and indoor air quality testing. Our company services new construction and remodeling projects. Contact Zark Heating & Cooling today, and let us show you what it feels like to get top-notch heating and air conditioning in New Lenox.

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