Keeping your central air conditioning system under wraps this winter sounds like a no-brainer. After all, you want to protect it against all manners of ice, snow and debris buildup that's common during the season. Unfortunately, covering up your A/C system could do more harm than good. Here are a few reasons why you're better off leaving your outdoor A/C cabinet exposed to the elements.
1. Rust and Corrosion
Moisture is a common problem with A/C systems put under cover. Moisture is everywhere -- it exists naturally in the air as water vapor and in the ground underneath your A/C cabinet. Temperature differences inside and outside your covered A/C system can also lead to condensation inside the unit.
Needless to say, throwing a cover over your A/C system may save it from debris, but it won't keep water out of it. Months of exposure to moisture can cause your A/C system's internals to rust up or corrode. When you finally uncover your A/C system, you may be greeted with a rusty unit requiring hundreds or even thousands of dollars in remedial work.
2. Mold Growth
Mold growth is also a problem with covered A/C systems. Trapped moisture inside the unit also creates an ideal environment for mold, mildew and algae to take hold. Once these microorganisms get a toehold on your A/C system, it can cause a variety of problems. For instance, algae growth on the condenser coils can prevent the A/C unit from working properly.
3. Pest Problems
Sheltering your outdoor A/C cabinet from the elements can inadvertently provide shelter for unwanted pests. The relatively warm and dry confines of your covered A/C unit offer an ideal environment for rodents and other small creatures to nest throughout the winter.
Once these unwanted pests get settled in, they can wreak havoc on your A/C system through chewed wiring, torn insulation, imported debris and the usual feces and urine left behind once warmer weather arrives. Leaving the covers off your A/C system discourages pests from making it their new home.
4. Weather Resistance
Believe it or not, your outdoor A/C cabinet is made to brave the elements. Every part of your A/C system is made with quality materials that offer a measure of resistance against harsh winter conditions, plus every component is tested and rated to survive winter weather. Your very own home also shields your A/C cabinet from direct wind and snow contact, depending on its location and orientation in relation to prevailing winds.
Contact an air conditioning maintenance service for more help.