SHOULD YOU COVER YOUR A/C IN THE WINTER?
If you’re like most people, a simple stroll into Lowe’s, Home Depot, or your local hardware store means coming across products you might never have thought you needed - like air conditioner covers. Many people in the HVAC community debate the need for covers, so we thought we’d list the pros and cons so you can decide what’s best for yourself... 

The benefits of covering an air conditioner include:

  • Keeping the air conditioner coils cleaner, so your unit will run more efficiently when it’s turned on again next season.
  • Covers prevent yard waste,such as sticks, leaves and other things from blowing into your unit and causing damage.
  • Covers can prevent water from resting directly on coils and freezing, which could be damaging, especially if there are a lot of freeze-thaw cycles over the winter. Something pretty common during a usual Rochester winter. 

The potential reasons to not cover a unit include:

  • Covering a unit with a plastic cover will trap moisture inside, creating a high humidity environment, by creating a bit of a “greenhouse” effect for your unit when the sun beats down on the cover. The electrical components, and circuit boards hate this sort of environment. To address that lack of air, look for a cover that “breathes” like canvas or has a liner on the inside to absorb some moisture and minimize the collection and dripping of water.
  • Most manufacturers don’t specifically recommend covering the outside unit.
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Some folks use a partial cover, like placing a piece of plywood over the top of the unit, to keep out leaves and debris, while leaving the sides open to prevent too much moisture from accumulating in the unit. If there’s a good chance ice might fall from a gutter onto the unit, or it’s in a spot likely to be affected by winter ice storms, a simple plywood cover might be helpful added protection. 

Our Final Answer... 

With the snow we tend to get, the right cover could help! A piece of plywood to keep the snow off your unit would work great. If you do cover your unit, remember these things:

  • Do not cover the heat pump - it runs all year! 
  • Wash the outdoor unit off before you put the hose away for the season. Then let your unit dry before covering it. 
  • Make sure to turn the power off to the unit so somebody doesn't forget next spring, turn it on, and cause damage to the unit!
If you have any other questions about home comfort, please give us a call at (585) 641-3080, or email us at info@airquipheating.com! 
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