After summer passes and winter sets in, it’s easy to forget about the external AC unit out in the yard. Apart from occasionally swiping away any snow, you may otherwise leave it alone through the cold season. While this may have worked in the past, a particularly rough winter could easily leave your unit damaged. Properly winterizing your AC before the temperatures dip could save you money on future repair costs. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about protecting your AC unit this winter.

Potential Benefits

Modern air conditioners are built to withstand a variety of temperatures and weather conditions. They’re more likely to be damaged during heavy, prolonged storms rather than just snow or freezing conditioners. However, older and outdated systems are more at risk of internal and external damage from adverse weather. Many of their parts may be compromised due to age and can no longer withstand the same amount of pressure.

An external AC cover protects your unit from debris like leaves, rocks, twigs, and ice. High winds can easily knock hard objects in and around your unit, causing damage to the soft fins. Accumulated snow can even put an excessive amount of weight on the coils. A full-length AC cover protects every inch of your air conditioner from rain, snow, and debris.

When correctly utilized, these covers can also stop pests from getting inside. During the winter, stray cats, raccoons, and rats search for warm, enclosed spaces out of the snow. These pests will damage the outside of your AC unit to get inside. They’ll then chew through the wires and damage other electrical components. Using a full-length cover seals the entire system from debris and pesky rodents.

The perpetual winter precipitation can also take a toll on your metal AC unit. Consistent rain and snow allow water and ice to thoroughly permeate your air conditioner. Excessive amounts of moisture increase your chances of rust, mold, and corrosion. When you go to turn your unit on in the spring, your home may suddenly smell uncomfortably musty. Preventing moisture from getting inside can limit your year-to-year rust accumulation.

Potential Consequences

AC unit covers are most likely to cause damage to a system if they’re not being properly utilized. For example, outdoor AC units are designed with maximum airflow in mind. They need constant ventilation so that fresh air can touch the many internal components. An AC cover without air vents will cause the air in your unit to stagnate. Rather than preventing mold growth, this will actually speed up the fungi infestation.

Some AC covers can be so thick and heavy that they trap moisture inside. On those few warm winter days, condensation will form on the underside of the cover. This constant moisture can lead to worsened rust issues and even electrical problems.

Finally, if your cover is too big for your unit, it may provide the perfect home for neighborhood pests. It’s easier to get under an AC cover than it is to get into your unit. They may make nests against your air conditioner, allowing smaller pieces of rocks and twigs to get inside.

To get the best results from your cover, you need to research the proper brands and styles available. Buying a low-quality option may result in more AC issues than if you hadn’t covered it at all.

Types of Covers

Choosing the right cover for your AC unit will minimize potential mold and rodent risks. Dust covers are typically one of the most popular and affordable options available. These are best used to reduce airborne particulates in the unit. Unfortunately, they don’t provide much protection against cold temperatures or snow.

Weather or winterizing covers are often made from heavy-duty, specialized plastics or metals. These covers are designed to insulate your unit from the cold. While these covers typically cost more, they’re one of the best lines of defense against winter damage.

It’s important to note that handmade covers made of foliage or wood may cause more harm than good during the winter. Building a structure around your air conditioner can impede airflow, increasing wear and tear and strain over the warm season. It may also provide the perfect hideaway for local pests and rodents when it starts snowing.

When first shopping around for covers, look at what your AC unit’s manufacturer offers. Many companies sell covers specific to your unit’s specifications and needs. If you’re shopping from a third-party seller, always check the quality and workmanship of the product. Avoid investing in covers that don’t have ventilation options. If you’re not sure which cover is the best for you, ask your local HVAC company for helpful advice and recommendations.

Regular Seasonal Care

Before you consider putting on a cover, you must first winterize your unit. Start by pushing away any nearby debris, vines, shrubbery, or trees. Snow can weigh down your landscaping, allowing it to rest on your unit. Wipe down the outside of your unit with a sturdy sponge.

You can then remove the external case and spray it down with a hose. Moving to the internal components, first wrap the electrical wiring in a plastic bag. Remove any dirt or debris at the bottom with a vacuum or rag. Wash the unit with a low-pressure water hose to remove any lingering dust.

While cleaning your unit, keep an eye out for any new signs of damage. After putting it back together, call for an HVAC tune-up. Keeping your home cool during the hottest days of the year requires a lot of energy. Your unit ran constantly for months, which likely impacted its overall efficiency.

Scheduling service at the end of the summer season is a great way to catch damage early. You don’t want a newly compromised component to worsen over the long winter. HVAC systems function best when they’re professionally maintained at least twice a year. Calling in a technician routinely lowers your energy bills, improves your temperature control, and prolongs your system’s viable lifespan.

After you’ve cleaned your unit and called for service, you can finally cover it for the season. Make sure to follow all manufacturer guidelines and recommendations. It’s ideal to check your covered AC at least once a month for the duration of the winter. Look for any nearby animal tracks, fallen branches, or loose debris that may harm your unit. When spring arrives again, your AC will be ready to tackle the coming warm season with ease.

Superior Heating and Cooling Services

Sano Heating & Air Conditioning is your best option for tried-and-true indoor comfort services in Anaheim, CA and the surrounding communities of Orange County. Trust us to provide incredible HVAC expertise with a focus on pristine results. Our NATE-certified technicians always prioritize your comfort by offering highly personalized care. We’re ready to expertly repair, install, and maintain your heating and cooling systems. Our team can also test your indoor air quality, install a new zoning system, repair and clean ducts, and provide sheet metal services. Call Sano Heating & Air Conditioning in Anaheim today to schedule your next service appointment.

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