Should I cover my air conditioner in the winter

Woman with blanket and mug sitting in front of a fireplace wondering what to do with her air conditioner in the winter in Atlanta

While it's a good idea to always prepare your HVAC system before winter kicks in, a lot of people ask how exactly to prepare their AC units in the winter. For example, should
you cover your air conditioner in the winter
? Are air covers a good idea? What happens if you run air conditioner while it's covered? What are the advantages and disadvantages of covering your air conditioner during winter?

I'll dive into these questions shortly but it's worth noting that your air conditioner is meant and designed to be outdoors. So the short answer to whether you should cover your AC unit in winter is 'NO'. But there's a recommended time and proper way to cover it (I'll share shortly).

 AC units are tough and can withstand the harshest winter conditions. The debate on whether to cover your unit during winter or not has been going on for a long time. This is because there are pros and cons to covering your unit during winter.

Disadvantages of covering your AC unit during winter

  1. It can cause rust and corrosion on your unit since fully covering it traps moisture. This humid environment causes corrosion and rust since your AC has wires and other parts that easily rust when exposed to moisture.
  2. It can cause growth of molds on your unit’s evaporator coils since covering your AC blocks air flow. The more the growth of these molds, the lesser the air flow that passes through evaporator coils - and the lesser the efficiency of your unit.
  3. Also, if you cover the air conditioner during winter, animals such as rats could inhabit your AC unit as their home. This could result in problems such as chewed electrical wires and eventually system malfunction.

Advantages of covering your AC unit during winter (and when to cover)

Should you cover your air conditioner unit? Sometimes. There are of course scenarios and seasons that will require you cover your air conditioner. Covering your unit can save your unit especially if you have lots of trees around your unit. During fall season, leaves, twigs an
other debris from the trees tend to separate from trees and find their way inside your AC. These debris can cause damage to your unit and it's vital you cover it temporarily during fall but not during winter. You also want to ensure that you only cover the top area of the air conditioner and not the entire unit including the sides.

Learn about cleaning your air conditioner vents and why you should do it regularly! 

If you need help with your air conditioner or would like to schedule a maintenance appointment, contact Moncrief Heating & Air Conditioning today.