Should You Cover Your Air Conditioner This Winter?

With the winter approaching quickly, you most likely have shut off your air conditioner until next spring. You may be wondering if you should cover the outdoor condenser of your home's air conditioner before the snow comes. Here is what you need to know about protecting your condenser:

Should You Purchase a Condenser Cover?

A cover doesn't do much to protect a condenser during the winter. They can actually do more harm than good to the condenser in some situations. A cover will trap the moisture underneath it, which creates an ideal environment for the metal components to rust and start to corrode.

A condenser must have air circulation for it to survive, not be put into a cover that will not let water in or out. Air conditioner condensers are designed to withstand snow and rain during the winter months, and it is built with those weather conditioner in mind. The humid, enclosed weather environments are what it cannot withstand. Just leave the cover off the condenser, and everything will be fine. Water will eventually dry out and prevent rust from forming on an uncovered condenser, while a covered condenser will trap it inside through the whole winter.

Is There Anything That Can Be Done to Protect a Condenser?

Anything that you set on the condenser runs that risk of trapping moisture on the surface. Even placing a board on top of your condenser to protect it from falling icicles will trap moisture in places where the board touches the metal. If you can somehow create an awning that hangs over the condenser in the winter, feel free to, but it is not necessary.

What you do want to do is clean out all of the debris inside the air conditioner when the fall is over. Those leaves trapped in the condenser could also trap moisture against the metal in the same way that the tarp can. When cleaning a condenser, always spray water from the inside to push debris out of the unit rather than further inside it.

A fin comb works great at getting debris out from between the metal fins. Once again, any trapped debris can cause those individual fins to rust if it is stuck on it during the winter months.

If you've made the mistake of covering an air conditioner condenser in the past and now have rust, reach out to a local HVAC company like Allied Mechanical & Electrical, Inc. for help restoring your air conditioner.