Do I Need to Cover My Air Conditioner?

October 18, 2019

With cold weather coming in Rapid City, you may be wondering when you should cover your outdoor air conditioner. Of if you should even cover it at all.

Your AC unit is a tough piece of equipment. It’s designed to resist severe weather, including extreme temperatures and heavy precipitation.

Sometimes covers do more harm than good, because they can trap condensation. Extra wetness inside your system can cause internal pieces to rust or get moldy.

While putting on an air conditioner cover is your own choice, there are two seasons that are great for using a cover for a long period of time—fall and summer.  

That’s because yard debris during those seasons—grass clippings, twigs and leaves—can accumulate and block your system’s airflow. Diminished airflow means your air conditioning unit works harder and may use more electricity to cool your home.

Looking for other ways to make your air conditioner run efficiently? Regular AC maintenance from Precision Mechanical heating and cooling experts can help. We’ll clean and lubricate your system, and take a close look at essential components. This often allows us to identify trouble before they begin.

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How to Choose an Air Conditioner Cover

If you determine you want to cover your air conditioner, here are several suggestions on picking the ideal cover. 

Avoid Full Covers

To keep air moving, a protective air conditioner cover should only surround the top of your unit and a couple of inches on the side.

Total AC covers can trap water inside your system, potentially eating away at metal pieces. It could also make your system a welcoming area for animals, which could chew 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 water to build up inside your air conditioner. The best type of material is one that’s breathable, like canvas or mesh.

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

When to Use an Air Conditioner Cover

If you want 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 sticks 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 waste from falling into your unit.

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 approaching. Snow and ice that build up inside your air conditioner can melt and refreeze, damaging condenser coils and lowering efficiency.

Although it’s not always possible to anticipate a hailstorm, you can temporarily cover your air conditioner if a severe storm is imminent in Rapid City. Hail can critically damage your system’s coils, affecting 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, Precision Mechanical gives help. Give us a call at 605-206-2564 or schedule an appointment online.