If you live in Las Vegas, the last thing you want is to compromise your furnace. It’s starting to get cold outside. When you think of winter, you might think of snow (and maybe the holidays), but the cold weather season can do a number on your HVAC equipment.
Before you reach for that old tarp to cover it up, it’s important to know the pros and cons of covering your AC unit in the winter.
During the winter, you might be tempted to cover your air conditioner to keep it from freezing. However, is doing so really a good idea?
Here are some pros and cons of covering your AC during the winter:
- If you live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures, covering your AC may help prevent it from freezing. If the outside temperature is below freezing during a storm, covering your AC can prevent water from accumulating on its coils and causing damage when it freezes and expands later. Freezing and expanding usually occur within 24 hours after a storm. In some cases, this may even save you money on repairs because you won’t have to replace any damaged parts!
- Covering your AC can also help keep birds, squirrels, and other critters out of it and off the roof of your home or business. Of course, you don’t want them nesting inside or chewing up electrical wiring!
- It will help keep your energy bills low. The more energy efficient your home is, the less money you’ll spend on electricity or gas for heating and cooling.
- As a homeowner, covering your entire unit can extend your air conditioner’s life. For example, if it’s covered all winter long, it won’t be exposed to harsh weather conditions like rain or snow that could cause damage over time.
- It can keep your house warmer during colder months. The insulation from a blanket will help keep heat inside rather than letting it escape. Your home temperature can escape through vents in the windows or walls around where units are installed outdoors near ground level. This is where they connect directly to existing ductwork inside your house. Placing the cover can prevent heating loss through those areas. Instead, if uncovered throughout harsh winters, it can allow warm air to leak outside.
Some schools of thought indicate you should cover your outside AC unit when it’s not getting daily use. However, other sources state it depends on where you live. In places where there’s very cold weather, snow, ice, or lower temperatures, many people do decide to cover their unit to protect it from the elements.
Even in those areas, though, there’s a danger that covering the unit may make it susceptible to rust and vermin. Mice and small animals take up residence in warm, enclosed spaces where people don’t often tread. So not only do you not want rodents in or near your home, but you also run the risk of them chewing through wires and damaging the unit.
In Las Vegas, there isn’t much worry over exceptionally cold weather. However, your air conditioning unit will not likely see a lot of snow or ice, so the question is- is there a reason to cover your AC unit in this winter climate?
You may wonder, “Should I cover my air conditioner in the winter?” It’s a question HVAC companies hear a lot, and it’s a good one! After all, you don’t want to risk your AC unit freezing over and breaking down. The result of that can be really expensive fees in the spring! However, there are some reasons why you might not want to cover it.
First of all, if you live in an area where the temperature stays below freezing for long periods of time each year, covering your AC will help keep it from freezing over. When water freezes, it expands. That expansion can cause damage to your unit. If you’re going away on vacation or something and won’t be able to monitor your AC while you’re gone, covering it is a good idea. However, there are also some drawbacks to covering your unit in the winter:
If you live in a humid climate (which means high levels of humidity), covering your AC can lead to mold growth. Moisture and condensation won’t escape as quickly if there’s no airflow through the covered air conditioner. Mold spores aren’t great for anyone who might be around them (like kids), so this is definitely something worth considering if you live somewhere humid.
Another issue with covering an outdoor unit, (if you live in an area where it gets torrential rains, snows, or gets very cold) covering up your AC may end up causing ice dams on your roof. This can lead to leaks that cause water damage inside your home.
What Kind of Air Conditioner Covers Are Available?
You can cover your air conditioner in the winter to preserve it and save money. If you live in the desert region where it gets cold during the winter, you may want to consider covering your air conditioner. This can help protect it from damage due to extreme weather conditions and allow it to run more efficiently.
There are several different types of covers available for this purpose. The first type is called a “blanket wrap.”
It’s an insulated blanket designed specifically to cover an air conditioner so that heat doesn’t escape through the vents.
The second type is called a “dome cover,” which looks like a dome with holes for ventilation purposes. It is known to keep out snow and rain as well as animals such as cats or dogs if they try climbing up onto it (which they often do).
Other types of covers are also available, such as those made from vinyl or plastic. These aren’t recommended because they don’t provide adequate protection against the elements. Elements such as direct sunlight, heavy snowfall, leaf debris, and animal exposure over time will eventually wear down and break through these covers. They are not very durable either. They are not water resistant, which means they’ll crack easily if exposed too long without proper maintenance.
Honestly, there are several different types of covers available for your air conditioner. First, there is a simple, lightweight cloth that you can toss over your outdoor air conditioner unit and secure with a bungee cord or two. This kind of cover is ideal for keeping dust out of the AC system. However, it doesn’t offer much in the way of protection from wind or rain.
The second type is similar to the first, but it’s made from a heavier material and has a zip-up enclosure at the top so that you can secure it as tightly as possible around your AC unit. This kind of cover will repel most rain but not all wind.
The third type is more like a tent than a cover. It completely encloses your AC system and offers maximum protection from both wind and rain.
These are great for ensuring that your unit stays dry and fully operational during winter months when harsher colder weather is common in many areas of the country!
There are a few different kinds of covers available for your air conditioner in the winter, and visiting your trusted HVAC company is best!
They can help you decide what is right for your unit, home, and the weather you will be exposed to.
The Different Types of AC Units
If you have a window-mounted AC, you may be able to use a cover that will fit over the open window and protect it from the cold winter months. These covers come in different sizes and can be found at most hardware stores and HVAC companies.
If you have an outdoor unit, or if your air conditioner is installed in a way that makes it impossible to fit a window-mounted cover over it, there are still ways to protect it from Mother Nature. One option is to purchase an indoor/outdoor cover with UV protection. This type of cover will also keep out the rain.
Another option is to buy an insulated cover specifically designed for heat pumps or refrigerant lines. These are made from heavy-duty material that won’t rip or tear easily.
Basic Upkeep for Your Outside Air Conditioner Without Covering It
For residents who moved to the area from cold-weather states, this is probably a lovely reprieve from your past routine. In Vegas, you have the choice of covering your AC unit or not. It is best to discuss the options with your HVAC technician to decide what is best for your AC unit. However, the fact that you don’t have to cover your air conditioner doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for other types of air conditioning maintenance.
Keep Up on Inspections
An air conditioner is a significant investment, so you really should have it looked at, at least once per year. We recommend setting your appointment for the spring so that you know your unit is in working order for the summer heat. Adding it to the calendar at the same time each year may help you stay on track. You can avoid larger maintenance issues by catching small ones early in a maintenance check-up. You can also budget ahead for a larger expense of replacement when you have up-to-date knowledge about the health of your current air unit.
Tidy the Area Around Your Unit
Just because you choose not to have to cover your outdoor air conditioner, it does not mean that you shouldn’t be wary of problems caused by the outdoors in general. In the fall, make sure that you keep the unit and its surrounding area clear of leaves and other debris that could interfere with the efficiency of your condenser coil or unit.
Change the Filters
It would be best if you also changed the filters with frequency. There are different opinions on how regularly you should change your filters. It also depends on the unit you own and the type of air filters you use. Your HVAC professional can give you some excellent pointers on setting a schedule for these easy, DIY maintenance tasks. Rule of thumb would be to check your air filters every one to three months.
More Questions? Ask Us!
The Cooling Company can help you with all your HVAC unit cover needs! Whether you need a new cover or want to protect your old one, we’re here to ensure you get the best product for your situation at the best price possible.
We work with all makes and models of air conditioning units, so no matter what type of unit you have in your home or office, we’ll be able to help you find exactly what you need this winter.
Don’t forget! If you’re experiencing difficulties with your air conditioning unit or furnace or just want to have a great company on hand for regular maintenance, The Cooling Company offers excellent service! Feel free to call today with questions.