Do I Need to Cover My Air Conditioner?

October 18, 2019

With cold weather coming in Cedar Rapids, you may be questioning when you should cover your outdoor air conditioner. Of if you have to cover it at all.

Your AC unit is a tough piece of equipment. It’s engineered to take on bad weather, including intense temperatures and torrential precipitation.

Sometimes covers cause more problems, because they can trap water. Additional wetness inside your system can cause internal parts to rust or turn moldy.

While using an air conditioner cover is an individual choice, there are two periods that are great for using a cover for an extended period of time—fall and summer.  

That’s because yard waste during those seasons—grass clippings, twigs and leaves—can build up and obstruct your system’s airflow. Reduced airflow means your air conditioning unit works longer and may use more electricity to cool your residence.

Wanting other ways to make your air conditioner run efficiently? Routine AC maintenance from Ilten's Incorporated heating and cooling professionals can help. We’ll clean and lubricate your unit, and inspect important components. This often allows us to pinpoint issues before they begin.

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How to Choose an Air Conditioner Cover

If you come to the conclusion you want to cover your air conditioner, here are several suggestions on selecting the best cover. 

Avoid Full Covers

To keep air flowing, a protective air conditioner cover should only enclose the top of your equipment and several inches on the side.

Full AC covers can trap condensation inside your equipment, potentially rusting metal components. It could also make your air conditioner an inviting area for rodents, which could eat through wires.

Related: What New Homeowners Need to Know About Their Air Conditioner

Don’t Use Plastic or Vinyl Covers

Plastic or vinyl covers block air, which could cause condensation to build up inside your air conditioner. The best type of material is one that lets in air, like canvas or mesh.

Related: How AC Repair & Maintenance Can Actually Save You Money

When to Use an Air Conditioner Cover

If you decide to use an air conditioner cover, here are the best times to install it.

Cover Your Air Conditioner During Summer

A lightweight mesh cover during the summer allows your air conditioner to run unrestricted while keeping grass clippings and branches out.

Related: How Do I Know if My Air Conditioner is Running Properly?

Cover Your Air Conditioner During Fall

A breathable canvas cover will halt leaves, nuts and other debris from falling into your equipment.

Related: Tips for Cleaning Your System

Cover Your Air Conditioner Before Severe Weather

You can temporarily cover your air conditioner in the winter when you know heavy snow is coming. Snow and ice that build up inside your system can melt and refreeze, damaging condenser coils and decreasing efficiency.

Although it’s not always possible to expect a hailstorm, you can temporarily cover your system if a severe storm is approaching in Cedar Rapids. Hail can seriously damage your system’s exterior, altering efficiency.

Related: How Severe Weather Can Lead to AC Repair

We Can Help Your AC System Run Efficiently

Whether you have questions about heating and cooling or need air conditioning service, Ilten's Incorporated offers aid. Give us a call at 319-208-3295 or schedule an appointment online.