One of the most common questions following a new air conditioner installation is “Should I get an air conditioner cover?”. Most people assume that a piece of equipment such as an air conditioner that lives outside year round is susceptible to the elements, but the fact of the matter is that they are built especially for it. In fact, putting an air conditioner cover on your outdoor unit can create conditions inside it that will lead to greater wear along with other undesirable results.
The problems with an air conditioner cover
By covering it you can create a moist environment inside your air conditioner that can cause the components inside to degrade more quickly, and also can void aspects of your warranty. The outdoor condensing unit is designed to breathe every season of the year. It can also create a desirable home for critters like mice, who like to like to build nests in there during the seasons that the air conditioner isn’t in use. The nests themselves can affect operation and once settled in there the pests can chew wires or even short out contactors inside the unit. These situations are much more uncommon when air conditioners are left uncovered. You may also be tempted to cover it to keep out debris like lawn clippings, leaves, seeds, dandelion fluff, etc. from building up on the coils during the fall or spring, but again, it’s not recommended. A better solution would be to have your condensing unit’s interior and coil cleaned annually by an experienced technician.
How to protect your air conditioner
The one thing that you do want to protect is the top of your air conditioner. The reason for that is that the fan is positioned on the top and most air conditioners are installed under the peak of your roof, where ice tends to build up. Falling ice can throw your fan off balance affecting efficiency and leading to undue wear on the fan. It can also make your air conditioner operate much louder than it should. One simple way to avoid this while still allowing the condenser to breathe during the winter is to cover the top with a piece of plywood and a brick, if necessary. This will take the force of any falling ice, protecting the fan and your warranty.