Your central air conditioning system is a significant investment. With winter weather just around the corner, you want to protect your investment any way you can. However, there's plenty of conflicting information about how to best protect your A/C system. Some experts tell you to keep your outdoor A/C unit covered throughout the winter, while others advocate against the practice.
So who's right and who's wrong? The following attempts to uncover some real answers about covering your outdoor A/C unit during the winter.
Keeping your outdoor A/C unit covered up for the winter months can have its advantages. For instance, you won't have to deal with leaves and other windswept debris getting trapped inside of the unit. Covering your A/C equipment lets you skip the time-consuming task of cleaning out your outdoor cabinet prior to restarting your A/C system come next spring.
Keeping your A/C unit under wraps also prevents ice and snowmelt from falling into the unit and potentially refreezing inside, leading to ice-related damage inside of the unit. A covered A/C unit also escapes bird droppings and tree sap.
While covering your outdoor A/C unit offers plenty of advantages, there are also several downsides to consider. Moisture buildup is one of the most common -- and potentially devastating -- drawbacks of covering your A/C unit. Excess moisture buildup can lead to rapid rust and corrosion, eventually rendering your A/C system useless before its projected lifecycle ends.
Covering your outdoor A/C unit can also turn it into a potential refuge for rodents and other small creatures looking for shelter. Intrepid animals can then make themselves comfortable by destroying wire and insulation in search of food and bedding, trashing your A/C system in the process. The sheer amount of damage caused by a nesting animal can sometimes exceed the cost of a brand-new A/C system.
While many experts discourage covering your outdoor A/C unit for the reasons mentioned earlier, it can still be done as long as you have the right type of A/C cover. Using an ordinary tarp can potentially damage your outdoor A/C unit, but a custom-made mesh cover can discourage nesting animals while preventing debris from getting trapped inside of the A/C unit. The mesh material also drives off moisture by promoting constant airflow through the unit.
If you don't have a custom-made cover, placing a large, flat piece of plywood over the condenser fan grille can also shield your A/C system from leave and debris accumulation. For extra security, make sure to secure the plywood cover with a large cinder block or a bungee cord system. For professional help, reach out to a company like Weather Control Air Conditioning, Inc.