Should You Cover Your A/C Unit for Winter?
Winter is “hibernation” time for your cooling system. There is no doubt that you’ve readied your home’s air conditioner unit for the cold weather ahead, both mechanically and otherwise. Still, if you’re like many homeowners who have just learned how to tend to their air conditioning properly, one caretaking question probably has left you scratching your head.
Should you cover your air conditioning before the snow flies? The short answer: It depends.
Furnace Doctors, your Saint Paul Park team of HVAC contractors, has all the information you need below to make an informed decision.
Consider Condensation Concerns
While here in Minnesota, it is often advisable to cover your A/C to keep out excessive snow and ice. As you prepare to do so, you’ll need to be careful about what cover you use if you choose to go that route.
Airflow is critical if you want to prevent rust, mold, and corrosion in and around your outdoor unit. Generally, plastic covers and anything that doesn’t “breathe,” so to speak, are absolute no-nos. So what should you use?
If anything, polyester or mesh can be good bets. Talk with your HVAC company to find the suitable material for you, as this can be heavily situation-dependent. You might not need one at all. However, by speaking with a professional about your concerns about covering up your cooling unit, you can rest easy with the right solution.
Another potential problem when you cover your outdoor cooling unit: rodents. By blanketing the structure, you create a dark, warm space ideal for rodents to live in during the harsh winter months. They keep out of the wind, find plenty of tight spaces – the perfect spot for your rodent yard-dwellers to take up residence.
When rodents make their winter into your outdoor cooling unit, they can cause serious systemic damage. Even one mouse can chew up more things than is believable upon first sight. If you’re going to cover your cooling unit, you’ll need to safeguard it against rodents. Although usually easier said than done, seeking advice from a professional is likely your best bet.
Always Account for Age
Newer A/C models are often built to be weatherproof, counteracting the potential downfalls of applying a cover. In this case, your machine might be absolutely fine to sit outside unprotected – in fact, it may be ideal.
However, there are still plenty of homeowners that have older models that leave this question unanswered. It is likely that your older outdoor cooling unit will benefit from a little extra protection in the winter.
As always, remember to account for condensation concerns. Speak to an HVAC professional to better understand what your system needs per its age.
Winterize Your Whole HVAC System
While you are seeking help from a professional regarding your air conditioner unit, be sure to take some time to look at your heating system. It is critical to keep your cooling system safe until spring comes again, but you’ll soon need your home’s heating system to stay safe and warm.
Schedule Furnace Maintenance
Once you’ve handled your home’s air conditioner or cooling unit, you should turn your attention to your furnace. Even if you do not have any concerns regarding your furnace’s functionality, you should schedule a routine check up with a furnace specialist. They can conduct routine maintenance or make sure you get the necessary repairs before the cold Minnesota winter hits.
These small, but mighty, repairs may include checking or changing the air filter, inspecting or repairing the thermostat, cleaning the furnace cabinet, and paying close attention to the age of your heating unit.
Seal Drafty Doors & Windows
Get ahead of high heating bills this winter by taking an autumn stroll around the interior and exterior of your home to inspect for drafty doors or windows. If you notice any, or even have suspicions, work on sealing those cracks right away. Not only can these make your home colder and more uncomfortable in the harsh winter months, but drive up already-high energy bills.
Checking your home for drafts is tedious, but it is critical in helping your home’s HVAC system run smoothly this winter.
A/C Service With All the Cooling System Answers
Considering covering your air conditioning system this winter? Let the HVAC experts with Furnace Doctors help you decide if it’s the right route for you. Give our Saint Paul Park office a call today at 651-789-3082.