Should I Cover My Air Conditioner in the Winter?

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As the weather starts to get colder, you may be thinking about ways to winterize your home and make it more energy-efficient. One question you may have is whether or not you should cover your air conditioner unit.

Many homeowners are unsure about whether or not they should cover their air conditioner in the winter. The answer to this question depends on a few factors, such as the type of air conditioner you have and the climate you live in.

There are two main types of air conditioners: window units and central AC units. Window units are less expensive and easier to install, but they only cool the part of the house where they are located. Central AC units are more expensive and require professional installation, but they cool the entire house using a system of ducts.

If you have a window unit, it's generally recommended that you remove it from the window if possible.  If not, then cover it in the winter to protect it from the elements. Central AC units are less susceptible to damage from wind, rain, and snow, so there may be no need to cover them.

Another factor to consider is the climate you live in. If you live in an area with mild winters, there's no need to cover your air conditioner. However, if you live in an area with severe winters, it's important to take steps to protect your investment.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of covering your air conditioner in the winter so that you can make an informed decision for your home.


Covering Your Air Conditioner Unit in the Winter - The Pros:

  1. It Can Help Prevent Rust and Corrosion - The cover will act as a barrier between the unit and the elements, protecting it from moisture and salt, which cause corrosion and damage to your AC unit if there is any water left inside it.
  2. It Can Help Prevent Ice Buildup - If water does get into your unit and freeze, it can cause ice buildup. When water freezes, it expands. This can cause cracks and other damage. This can damage both the interior and exterior of your unit. Covering it can help prevent this from happening.
  3. It Can Help Insulate Your Home - A well-insulated AC unit will keep the cold from coming inside, which means lower utility bills for you! Wrapping your unit in a cover (or even just a tarp) can help create a barrier against the cold weather and having a drafty house.
  4. It Can Help Protect Against Debris - In the winter, there are often high winds that can blow debris around. If this debris hits your AC unit, it could cause damage. Dirt, dust and leaves can also get inside and make your AC less effective in the spring.
  5. It Can Help Increase Its Lifespan - By taking steps to protect your AC unit from the elements in the winter, you can help increase its lifespan. This is especially true if you live in an area with harsh winters!


Covering Your Air Conditioner Unit in the Winter - The Cons:

  1. It Can Cause Mold and Mildew to Grow - If you don't allow enough air flow around your unit when you cover it, mold and mildew can start to grow inside the cover. This can then lead to health problems for you and your family if you're exposed to it.
  2. It Can Attract Pests - If there are any openings in your cover, mice or other pests may be able to get in and build nests inside your AC unit. This could lead to costly repairs down the road.
  3. It Can Trap Moisture - As we mentioned before, water expands when it freezes. However, even if there isn't any water in your AC unit, covering it can trap moisture from the air inside and cause rusting and corrosion over time .
  4. You'll Need to Remove The Cover Every Spring - Once spring rolls around, you'll need to remember to remove the cover so that your AC unit can start working again. Otherwise, you'll end up having to pay for costly repairs.


What if I don’t want to cover it?

Many believe that they do not need to cover their AC.  In fact, covering your air conditioner could actually do more harm than good.

So what should you do instead? There are a few things you can do to winterize your air conditioner and keep it in good shape until springtime arrives.

First, clean the unit thoroughly. Remove any leaves or other debris that may have made its way inside. This will help ensure that your unit can function properly when it's time to turn it on again in the spring.

Secondly, have a professional inspect and service your AC unit before winter sets in. This will help identify any potential problems so they can be fixed before they cause major damage.


At Craig Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we can inspect your AC unit in the spring and make sure it is in tip-top shape to keep you cool.  We can even help you winterize to maximize its longevity.

Enroll in our Service Club and you will never have to worry about your air conditioner again.

By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your air conditioner is ready to go when warmer weather arrives. So don't wait until springtime to get started—winterize your AC unit today!