Do You Need to Cover Your AC?

The cold weather may have you wondering when it’s time to cover your outdoor air conditioner.

An AC unit is a tough piece of equipment. With it, you’ll be able to handle bad weather, including extreme temperatures and torrential rain. Covers can sometimes create more problems than they solve. Wetness inside your unit can cause rust or mold to grow. A cover for your air conditioner is an individual choice, but fall and summer are great times to use one. In those seasons, yard debris, such as grass clippings, twigs, and leaves, can build up and clog your system. If your airflow is reduced, your air conditioner will work harder and use more electricity. Here are a few tips on selecting the right cover for your air conditioner if you decide to cover it. A protective air conditioner cover should only cover the top and a few inches on each side. Total AC covers can trap moisture inside your equipment, potentially eating away at metal. Also, it could attract rodents, which can sever wires. Vinyl or plastic covers block air, which may cause moisture to build up inside your unit. Airflow-allowing cloth, such as canvas or mesh, is best. During the summer, a lightweight mesh cover allows air conditioning to run freely while keeping grass clippings and sticks out. Leaves, nuts, and other debris will not drop into your system with a breathable canvas cover. If you know a snowstorm is coming, you can temporarily cover your air conditioner. Ice and snow that collect inside your AC can melt and refreeze, harming the condenser coils. Although you can’t always predict a hailstorm, you can cover your AC temporarily if a severe storm is expected. Hail can severely damage the exterior, lowering efficiency.

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