How to protect your air conditioner from winter damage
Fox Heating and Cooling Protect your air conditioner Arvada Wheat Ridge HVAC

How to protect your air conditioner from winter damage

With the recent winter storm that came into Denver, Colorado and the rest of the US, there may have been some complications with your home’s furnace and Air Conditioner. Despite not being in use during the winter months, an air conditioner still needs to be protected from the cold weather. Failing to do so might result in damage to your air conditioner directly or possibly your other home systems, furnace, and even plumbing. Here is a little more information about to protect your air conditioner during the winter and why.

Why you need to cover your air conditioner during winter

Your air conditioner is an important part of your home and business, not caring for it correctly is like leaving it out in the cold and exposed to the elements:

Debris and dead foliage

Dried leaves and debris can fall into your air conditioner during the cooler months. The reason this is different from any other time of the year is that during the Summer you are most likely running your air conditioner frequently so the debris is cleared before traveling further into the system. If debris reaches your condenser coil, it could potentially affect its ability to release heat the air conditioner generates while operating. So unless you remember to clean your condenser coils before starting up your air conditioner in the Summer and a cover to protect your air conditioner.

Accumulating Snow

A little snow here and there is perfectly normal but for the big snows, the blizzards, and cold fronts make sure to cover your air conditioner. We have all seen what enough snow can do to a neighborhood’s trees. Your air conditioner is out there and exposed allowing snow to accumulate to a point where it can travel inside the HVAC system or even damage the blades of the air conditioning unit. 

Pooling Water

Where there is snow, there will be water eventually. Water can be harmful to a few functioning parts of your air conditioner and electrical systems. If a sudden snow and melt happen, snow that accumulated inside an air conditioning unit will have pooling water. Later when the temperature drops, that water turns to ice that expands and damages the fins.

Do not cover your air conditioner with plastic 

A PSA about material and devices to cover your air conditioner with, please do not cover your air conditioner with plastic wrap or sheets. The plastic of this nature does not breathe and can cause condensation. The problem is, they also trap condensation from escaping. When that happens, your air conditioner can develop rust or mold growth. Those plastic covers can also encourage insects and critters to escape from the elements and take up residence in your air conditioner.

How to cover your air conditioner for winter

Here are some suggestions for how to cover and protect your air conditioner for winter in a way that doesn’t trap moisture inside, yet still keeps the unit protected:

  • Use a cover made of breathable material.
  • Put plywood over the top of the unit only to shield it from snow and ice, weighing it down with bricks or rocks to keep it in place.
  • Install a wood awning or shelter attached to the building that covers the top of the unit.
  • Plant shrubs around the unit to protect from wind and blowing snow. Check with your air-conditioning service company about the proper clearance for airflow, which is essential for proper operation in the summer.
  • Build your own shelter for the unit that provides protection in winter and shade in summer. You can find clever designs on Pinterest and other websites. When thinking about designs for how to cover your air conditioner for winter, make sure you have adequate clearance around the air conditioner for airflow.

Make sure to schedule your Air Conditioner Tune-up before Spring

While there is plenty of winters left in the coming months, Fox Heating and Cooling wants to remind you that scheduling out your air conditioner’s annual service is always recommended. Fox HVAC can make sure your air conditioner and HVAC systems are up and running when you need them. By having all of this preventive maintenance and cleaning performed by yourself and a professional, you can ensure that your air conditioner will be operating at peak efficiency and not costing you a surprise expense!

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