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Do I Need to Cover My Air Conditioner?

With cold weather approaching in Rapid City, 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 strong piece of equipment. It’s engineered to withstand severe weather, including intense temperatures and relentless precipitation.

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

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

That’s because yard waste 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 home.

Wanting other ways to make your air conditioner run efficiently? Regular AC maintenance from Street Heating & Sheet Metal Inc heating and cooling technicians can help. We’ll clean and lubricate your equipment, and inspect essential parts. This often allows us to pinpoint trouble before they begin.

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How to Choose an Air Conditioner Cover

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

Avoid Full Covers

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

Complete AC covers can trap water inside your system, potentially eating away at metal parts. It could also make your system an inviting place for animals, 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 condensation to build up inside your unit. The best type of fabric 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 decide to use an air conditioner cover, here are the best times to put it on.

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 stop leaves, nuts and other debris from getting 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 heavy snow is on the way. Snow and ice that collect inside your AC can melt and refreeze, harming condenser coils and reducing efficiency.

Although it’s not always possible to expect a hailstorm, you can temporarily cover your air conditioner if a strong storm is coming in Rapid City. Hail can critically damage your system’s fins, altering 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, Street Heating & Sheet Metal Inc provides assistance. Give us a call at 605-342-5107 or schedule an appointment online.

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