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How to Properly Cover Your Outdoor AC for Winter

Outdoor AC
As the cold winter weather begins, homeowners begin the task of winterizing different components of the home. One thing many homeowners may not think about is the outdoor component of the air conditioning unit. If you were not aware, you need to protect the unit from damage caused by winter weather. You may want to consider covering the unit.
You have to take certain precautions before you cover the outdoor unit. If you are not careful, you could cause damage. The following are some things you should know about covering your outdoor air conditioner unit and how to do so safely.

Reasons to Cover the Outdoor Component

The air conditioner is one of the largest investments a homeowner makes, which means proper maintenance is a must. Covering the unit in the winter can help protect its integrity. Dried up leaves and other foliage can get caught and build up inside the delicate components, including the condenser coil. When this foliage buildup occurs, the unit is not able to efficiently heat and cool the home.
Accumulated snow could completely cover the outdoor unit, which could cause structural damage. While a small layer of snow will not hurt the system, consistent thick layers of snow will add weight to the coil fins and fan blade. They could buckle under the weight of the snow and dent, preventing them from working as they should.
Ice storms could also cause damage to the unit. Ice falls with heavy force and could dent the outside panels or even the coil fins if the ice gets inside the unit. Excessive rainwater also causes problems. If water builds up inside the unit, the water can freeze inside. The ice can then expand and damage the components inside.

Tips for Covering the Outdoor Unit

You can cover your outdoor AC unit the right way, or you might accidentally do it the wrong way. First, always use a breathable material to cover the unit. You may also place a piece of plywood on top of the unit to help prevent the buildup of ice and snow. Be sure to place some heavy stones or other weighted materials to prevent movement from heavy winds.
You could also build and install a shelter or awning which provides cover for the unit. Another option is to plant shrubbery around the unit to provide protection from wind and flying debris. Before you plant, check with your HVAC technician so you will know exactly how close you can plant without disrupting the air flow. You should plant before winter so the ground is not too hard.
What you do not want to do is wrap the outdoor unit in any type of plastic. This includes any commercial air conditioner covers manufactured from plastic. Plastic does not allow air to flow through the unit. Lack of air flow for prolonged periods of time can damage the unit completely.
In addition to preventing air flow, plastic covers can also trap the built-up condensation and prevent proper evaporation. This leads to the growth of mold, rust, or freezing inside the condenser coils. Plastic coverings also make a great home for bugs and other living things, and they are none too happy to make a home in your outdoor air conditioning unit.
Our mission at Covington Air Systems, Inc., is to provide our customers with exceptional service with an unquestionable integrity. We provide an extraordinary value to our customers while meeting every need. If you need assistance with your air conditioner unit, or if you have questions about covering the outdoor unit, please contact us at your earliest convenience.