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Should I Cover My Air Conditioner During the Winter?

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As the coldest season of the year persists, many homeowners tend to wonder whether they should be covering their air conditioner to keep it in tip-top shape for Spring and Summer. However, while it is a good idea for your AC unit to undergo periodic maintenance work throughout the year, there are only rare occasions where it is necessary to cover it during the winter. Read on to learn everything you need to know, and contact our Los Angeles HVAC and electrical experts at Moe Plumbing Services for all your home service needs.

When You Should Cover Your AC Unit

Whether you need to cover your air conditioner depends almost entirely on where it is located. Most modern AC units are built to withstand the elements, so rain is not likely to be a factor. However, if your air conditioner is out in an open area near trees or foliage, it may be a good idea to cover it.

Leaves, seeds, nuts, and sticks can fall into the unit and seriously wreak havoc on the components inside. While AC units are built to handle a lot, it’s not designed for protection against small particles, which are all the more likely to interfere if your air conditioner is out in the elements. Moreover, seeds and leaves can also create pockets inside your air conditioner for moisture to collect, thereby causing corrosion and blocking the natural moisture drainage system your unit already has built in.

If you do cover your AC unit, you should only cover the top of it. Most store-bought covers will meet all the necessary specifications, though if you outfit your unit with a homemade cover, make sure it doesn’t come down more than 6 inches over the side. Covers that encompass the entire unit may also trap moisture inside, leading to corrosion and rust.

Bottom line, your AC unit only needs minimal coverage during the winter, if at all. If you’re really worried about keeping it in good condition, schedule service with a technician when the season changes and the weather gets warmer again.

When You Don’t Need to Cover Your Air Conditioner

Unless your AC unit is near landscaping where small branches and leaves are likely to get stuck in it, chances are it does not need to be covered. Most parts of California never get snow, but many people automatically assume that any precipitation at all is a reason to cover your unit. Yet modern air conditioners are capable of surviving through the snow and the rain, and as we’ve already discussed, shielding your unit from these elements can actually have a negative effect on its moisture-draining capabilities.

People also tend to assume that if dirt gets inside the unit, it will interfere with its performance. Yet unless your air conditioner is located in the ground, it tends to suck up more dirt when it is on than when it is off. If you are really concerned about the amount of dirt in your air, you would be better off purchasing an indoor air quality instead.

Another reason people cover their AC units is to keep animals out. Yet doing this to your AC unit may actually achieve the opposite of the desired effect, as animals are more likely to try and get inside the unit with a cover, as covers often appear to be a means of shelter and protection to animals.

Again, if your air conditioner is safe from seeds and leaves and the wind that can sweep them up, chances are it’s fine the way it is.

Call a Professional Today

While covering your air conditioner is a precaution likely to only have minimal impact in the long run, what can have a major difference on your system is regular tune-ups from a qualified professional. Moe Plumbing Services is committed to keeping your home or business cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and comfortable all year-round. Call today, and discover what our Los Angeles HVAC and electrical technicians can do for you.

Moe Plumbing Services is available by phone at (818) 396-8002, or you can click here to ask about service online.

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