If you have an outdoor unit, then you may be wondering whether you should cover it when the weather turns cooler in the fall or winter. However, there are pros and cons to covering your outdoor unit, the point where HVAC professionals have been debating the question for decades. Below, we delve into all the reasons why covering your outdoor unit in the fall/winter can be either a good or a bad idea. Ultimately, it’s your decision.
If you require maintenance on your outdoor unit, or if you do not currently have an outdoor unit but are interested in purchasing one, the technicians at Ambient Edge can help. Call us at
(888) 240-8283 to set up an appointment, and one of our technicians will stop by at a time that works best for you.
Pros to Covering Your Unit
You may want to cover your outdoor unit in the fall to protect it from the elements. For one thing, you’ll want to prevent debris like twigs and falling leaves from ending up in the unit. The cleaner you keep your air conditioner, the less work you’ll have to do when it comes time to turn it on again, and the more efficiently it will run when you do.
Further, covering the unit prevents water and other moisture, like morning dew, from getting in, which can freeze on the coils and cause damages. In the warmer months, though, this is fine, as rain actually flushes smaller debris out of the unit, keeping it cleaner.
Cons to Covering Your Unit
There are drawbacks to covering your outdoor unit, too. For one thing, some manufacturers actually tell you not to cover the unit. Covering the unit can trap moisture inside it as the sun beats down on the cover. The last thing the inner workings of an electronic device needs is a high-humidity environment, as this leads to rust, mold, and corrosion.
Not only that, but in the cooler months, small animals like mice may be looking for places to hide from the harsher weather, and your cover may look like the perfect home for them. While this may sound nice, animals can chew through the wiring of your unit and use it to make a bed for themselves. Fixing something like this can be expensive to the point of replacing the unit entirely to save on costs.
You may also forget that you covered the unit and run it. You should never run a covered unit, as this obstructs proper airflow and can damage the unit. And if you cover a unit that contains a heat pump, you are actually creating a fire hazard.
Why Coverage Isn’t Entirely Necessary
You are under no obligation to cover your outdoor unit, especially if the manufacturer advises against it. For one thing, the manufacturer made the unit for the specific purpose of being able to withstand the harsher conditions of being outside 24/7. Though, of course, this is with the understanding that your area will endure a typical winter. With predictions of an excessively snowy winter, for instance, you may be considering covering your outdoor unit anyway for its protection.
To Cover or Not to Cover
Ultimately, the decision as to whether you should cover your outdoor unit in the cooler months is entirely up to you. You must decide if the benefits outweigh the risks. The only time you should never cover your unit, however, is if the unit contains a heat pump. This is because the heat pump never stops working, and as mentioned earlier, covering it creates a fire hazard.
If, however, you do decide to cover the unit, and you do not have a heat pump, then laying a simple piece of plywood across the top does the trick. Not only is this an inexpensive option, but the plywood will act as a barrier for most sorts of debris, moisture, and animals. If you’d rather use a cover, you can find covers that do the same job as plywood, but that costs a bit more.
Having Issues with Your Outdoor Unit? Let Ambient Edge Take a Look!
Perhaps you thought it was a good idea to cover your outdoor unit, only to realize that your unit suffered damages as a result. If so, don’t panic – Ambient Edge can help. Whether rodents have burrowed into your unit and made it their home, or rust and corrosion have settled in due to excess moisture, Ambient Edge can repair your unit or, if the need arises, replace it for a fair price and with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
If you’d like us to take a look at your outdoor unit, simply fill out the contact form on our website, or call us at (888) 240-8283. We have decades of experience helping customers with problems just like yours, so don’t delay – call Ambient Edge today!