When summer winds down and cooler breezes move in, our air conditioners get switched off and replaced with heat. A big question that often comes up is whether or not to cover your air conditioning unit when it’s not in use. Let’s look at some of the facts.

Air conditioners are built to withstand extreme weather

Because they’re made to work outside, A/C units can stand up to any weather, including Minnesota winters. The condenser, which is the hard exterior box of the unit, has a durable, long-lasting finish. Be it rain, sleet, snow, or hail, the condenser is built to last. Your air conditioner’s coils are also designed to handle extreme weather conditions.

Since A/C units are made with first-rate materials and have a solid finish, it’s usually not necessary to cover them when they’re not in use. In fact, most manufacturers do not recommend covering your air conditioner. Even so, many people see benefits to doing so.

What are the advantages to covering my air conditioner?

The biggest advantage to covering your A/C unit is to prevent leaves and seeds from getting into it. This debris creates pockets where moisture can collect. This is the last thing you want to happen. When moisture gets into your system, it can cause a whole slew of problems.

Even though A/C systems are built to last, excessive weight from leaves, snow, or ice can damage the coils over time. A hard, all-weather shield may be able to absorb some of this weight.

What are the disadvantages?

The biggest disadvantage to covering your air conditioner is that it often leads to moisture getting trapped in the unit. Trapped moisture is the enemy. Water build-up can lead to a number of problems, including the following:

  • Rust and corrosion
  • Mold issues, which could block airflow through the coils and reduce efficiency
  • Coils freezing together
  • Safety issues with your unit’s electrical wiring and circuits

    Another disadvantage to covering your A/C unit is that rodents and critters tend to be attracted to the covers themselves. Remember, these animals are looking for warm places to nest in the

winter, and can fit in very small spaces. They will chew through your A/C’s electrical wiring, wreaking havoc on your system. Ultimately, the choice is yours. Most professionals will tell you it’s not necessary to cover your air conditioner. They’re built to handle anything Mother Nature throws their way, even harsh Minnesota winters.

Other professionals will tell you to cover your A/C unit during autumn to keep out falling leaves and seeds. It’s important to note that if you do choose to cover your air conditioner, only the top portion should be covered. If the whole unit is covered, it will limit airflow, which can bring excess moisture into your system.

The best way to care for your air conditioner is through regular service from one of K&S’s certified HVAC technicians. You can​ schedule your heating and cooling appointment online​,or give us a call. You can reach us at (507) 282-4328 for our Rochester location, and (952) 697-4328 for our Twin Cities location. We’re always here to help.