Should I Cover My A/C Unit in the Winter?

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Most units are built to withstand the elements and don't need to be covered. However, we’ll go over the positive and negative effects of A/C covers so you can decide if you need one. 

When the leaves start to fall and the temperature begins to plummet, you know it’s time to get your home and yard ready for the impending cold. You may already have a winter home maintenance checklist, so should you cover your air conditioner in the winter as well?  

You may have heard that using an A/C cover for winter helps protect your unit, but that's actually a myth. Surprisingly, using an air conditioner cover can cause more harm than good. The last thing you want is to uncover a major issue with your air conditioner once spring rolls around. Here are some reasons why it may be best to skip the central air conditioner cover for winter.

Your Air Conditioner is Made to Withstand the Elements

Most A/C compressors are built with quality materials that were created to withstand mother nature. Models from the top brands are made with weather-resistant materials, such as stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. They are built to endure whatever harsh weather comes their way. 

If you have a window unit, window air conditioner covers are usually not recommended either, because even the best cover won’t keep the cold and moisture out. It’s best to just take your window air conditioner out and put it in storage until summertime.  

A/C Covers Can Trap Moisture

Though you might expect an A/C unit cover to keep out the elements, water can still penetrate your air conditioner through evaporation. Using a central air conditioner cover doesn’t allow that water to escape. A bit of trapped moisture can interfere with how air conditioners work and disrupt the function of the condenser, blocking airflow to the house and potentially creating an environment in which mold and mildew may be able to infiltrate your home's interior. This can create efficiency problems for your A/C, potential health issues, and a frustrating situation for you to clean up.  

A/C Covers May Cause Pest Problems

Using an air conditioner cover in winter may not protect your unit, but it can make the local wildlife happy. Using an outdoor air conditioner cover can invite unwelcome guests to make a nest inside during the cold winter months. Rodents, lizards, and other pests can create nests in the space between the unit and the cover, and they’re usually not nice about it—they can chew through wires and strip parts of them to create their shelters. Having to evict some unhappy possums from their new digs does not sound like a fun way to welcome springtime. 

This winter, you may want to just skip covering the A/C unit in winter to avoid internal issues and save you from acquiring some new accidental pets. A/C units can seem vulnerable, but they are strong appliances that can be dependable and highly functional for years if cared for properly. Learn why your A/C unit needs a home warranty and what you can do to help avoid breakdowns

In the market for a different type of A/C unit? Whether you’re interested in window air conditioners, a central HVAC system or a ductless air conditioner, an American Home Shield® home warranty covers a variety of systems and appliances. Shop online to see what’s covered

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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