Do I Need to Cover My Air Conditioner?

October 18, 2019

With cold weather on the horizon in San Jose, you may be wondering when you should cover your outdoor air conditioner. Of if you have to cover it at all.

Your AC unit is a tough piece of equipment. It’s created to take on bad weather, including extreme temperatures and torrential precipitation.

Sometimes covers create more issues, because they can trap water. Extra wetness inside your unit can cause internal parts to rust or turn moldy.

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

That’s because yard debris during those seasons—grass clippings, twigs and leaves—can build up and obstruct your system’s airflow. Reduced airflow means your air conditioning unit works more and may use more electricity to cool your residence.

Wanting other ways to make your air conditioner run efficiently? Annual AC maintenance from American HVAC Inc heating and cooling experts can help. We’ll clean and lubricate your unit, and take a close look at essential pieces. This often allows us to spot issues before they begin.

Schedule service now

How to Choose an Air Conditioner Cover

If you come to the conclusion you want to cover your air conditioner, here are a couple ideas on selecting the right cover. 

Avoid Full Covers

To keep air circulating, a protective air conditioner cover should only encompass the top of your equipment and a few inches on the side.

Total AC covers can trap moisture inside your equipment, potentially eating away at metal pieces. It could also make your system a welcoming area for rodents, which could sever wires.

Related: What New Homeowners Need to Know About Their Air Conditioner

Don’t Use Plastic or Vinyl Covers

Plastic or vinyl covers stop air, which could cause moisture to build up inside your unit. The best type of cloth is one that allows airflow, like canvas or mesh.

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

When to Use an Air Conditioner Cover

If you choose 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 freely 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 block leaves, nuts and other waste from dropping into your system.

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 a snowstorm is coming. Snow and ice that collect inside your AC can melt and refreeze, harming condenser coils and decreasing efficiency.

Although it’s not always possible to predict a hailstorm, you can temporarily cover your AC if a severe storm is imminent in San Jose. Hail can severely damage your system’s exterior, 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, American HVAC Inc provides assistance. Give us a call at 408-215-1018 or schedule an appointment online.