Denton County Heating & Air Services
Should You Cover Your AC Unit in Winter?

Should You Cover Your AC Unit in Winter?

Fall and early winter are busy seasons as you prepare for your home for the cold months ahead, but one chore you don’t have to bother with is covering your air conditioning unit. Though AC covers are available for sale, in most cases they aren’t necessary. In fact, covering an air conditioning unit can be harmful because it creates humid conditions inside the unit and encourages infestations of pests.

Rust and Corrosion
Covering an AC unit traps moist air inside it, which is a serious problem when it comes to the unit’s metal components.
Humid, still air creates the perfect conditions for rust. Rust looks unsightly and can eat into metal over time, corroding it and damaging essential components. However, if you leave the unit uncovered, air can circulate freely, removing moisture before it can do any harm. As well as leaving the unit uncovered, you can give an outdoor unit extra protection from rust by applying a coat of car wax.

Mold and Mildew
When an AC unit is covered, humidity inside it can cause mold and mildew to develop. Though you might not notice the problem over winter, when hot weather returns and you turn on the unit, mold can block the airflow, interfere with the functioning of the condenser and reduce the unit’s efficiency. What’s more, mold spores are transferred to the air that circulates through your home, triggering asthma attacks and making your indoor air unhealthy. Cleaning mold and mildew from a unit can be difficult.

Pest Infestations
A cover on an outdoor AC unit provides the perfect shelter for rats, mice and other pests during winter weather. Imagine removing the cover in spring and being surprised by a rat’s nest. Pests carry diseases and can gnaw wires and block an AC unit with their mess. To discourage them from nesting in or near your unit, leave it uncovered, remove plant debris, leaves, rocks, stones and dirt from around it, and keep yard ornaments and plants at least three feet away.

Weatherproofing
Outdoor AC units are weatherproofed against all but the most extreme weather conditions. Most outdoor units sit only a few feet away from the house walls, so they’re already sheltered from the elements. Additionally, the aluminum, copper, steel and other materials they’re made from can withstand most types of harsh weather. Unless unusually extreme weather is forecast, don’t cover the unit, and if you do, remove the cover when the weather returns to normal.

AC Unit Not in Use
An air conditioning unit that’s turned off but uncovered won’t come to harm during winter. Some homeowners worry that their air-conditioning units will fill with dust and dirt if they aren’t covered, but this isn’t the case. An AC unit only draws in air when it’s working, so it won’t be drawing in air over the winter. After winter has ended, a spring maintenance service, will ensure the unit is ready for summer.

While it’s important to maintain your air-conditioning unit in help keep it good working order, you don’t have to cover it after summer is over. Covering an indoor or outdoor unit doesn’t protect it from dirt or bad weather, but it can create problems later on. If you want to know more about winter maintenance for your home’s AC unit or you’re interested in having a professional inspection, contact the experts at 1st Choice Air Solutions.

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