Do I Need to Cover My Air Conditioner?

October 18, 2019

With cold weather approaching in Lawrence, you may be questioning when you should cover your outdoor air conditioner. Of if you need to cover it at all.

Your AC unit is a sturdy piece of equipment. It’s engineered to withstand inclement weather, including excessive temperatures and heavy precipitation.

Sometimes covers cause more problems, because they can trap moisture. Additional wetness inside your system can cause internal components to rust or turn moldy.

While using an air conditioner cover is your own choice, there are two periods that are good to use a cover for a long period of time—fall and summer.  

That’s because yard debris during those seasons—grass clippings, twigs and leaves—can accumulate and obstruct your system’s airflow. Decreased airflow means your air conditioning unit works harder and may use more electricity to cool your residence.

Looking for other ways to make your air conditioner run efficiently? Annual AC maintenance from Scott Temperature heating and cooling technicians can help. We’ll clean and lubricate your unit, and examine essential pieces. This often allows us to pinpoint issues before they begin.

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How to Choose an Air Conditioner Cover

If you determine you want to cover your air conditioner, here are a few suggestions on picking the right cover. 

Avoid Full Covers

To keep air moving, a protective air conditioner cover should only surround the top of your system and several inches on the side.

Complete AC covers can trap water inside your system, potentially eating away at metal parts. It could also make your air conditioner an inviting home for rodents, which could chew wires.

Related: What New Homeowners Need to Know About Their Air Conditioner

Don’t Use Plastic or Vinyl Covers

Plastic or vinyl covers stop air, which could cause moisture to build up inside your unit. The best type of fabric is one that lets in air, like canvas or mesh.

Related: How AC Repair & Maintenance Can Actually Save You Money

When to Use an Air Conditioner Cover

If you decide to use an air conditioner cover, here are the best times to put it on.

Cover Your Air Conditioner During Summer

A lightweight mesh cover during the summer allows your air conditioner to run freely while keeping grass clippings and twigs out.

Related: How Do I Know if My Air Conditioner is Running Properly?

Cover Your Air Conditioner During Fall

A breathable canvas cover will block leaves, nuts and other rubbish from getting into your unit.

Related: Tips for Cleaning Your System

Cover Your Air Conditioner Before Severe Weather

You can temporarily cover your air conditioner in the winter when you know a snowstorm is approaching. Snow and ice that accumulate inside your air conditioner can melt and refreeze, damaging condenser coils and decreasing efficiency.

Although it’s not always possible to expect a hailstorm, you can temporarily cover your system if a severe storm is imminent in Lawrence. Hail can seriously damage your system’s fins, altering efficiency.

Related: How Severe Weather Can Lead to AC Repair

We Can Help Your AC System Run Efficiently

Whether you have questions about heating and cooling or need air conditioning service, Scott Temperature provides aid. Give us a call at 785-269-0465 or schedule an appointment online.