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 strong piece of equipment. It’s created to withstand inclement weather, including extreme temperatures and relentless precipitation.

Sometimes covers do more harm than good, because they can trap water. Too much wetness inside your system can cause internal pieces to rust or turn moldy.

While using an air conditioner cover is an individual choice, there are two periods that are ideal for using a cover for a long period of time—fall and summer.  

That’s because yard waste during those seasons—grass clippings, twigs and leaves—can accumulate and obstruct your system’s airflow. Reduced airflow means your air conditioning unit works more and may use more energy to cool your house.

Wanting other ways to make your air conditioner run efficiently? Annual AC maintenance from Street Heating and Cooling heating and cooling professionals can help. We’ll clean and lubricate your unit, and examine essential parts. This often allows us to spot trouble 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 few ideas on selecting the ideal cover. 

Avoid Full Covers

To keep air circulating, a protective air conditioner cover should only surround the top of your system and several inches on the side.

Complete AC covers can trap condensation inside your system, potentially eating away at metal parts. It could also make your system an inviting place for vermin, 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 impede air, which could cause moisture to build up inside your system. The best type of material is one that lets in air, 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 twigs 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 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 blizzard is on the way. Snow and ice that build up inside your AC 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 system if a bad storm is coming in Rapid City. Hail can seriously damage your system’s coils, 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 and Cooling provides aid. Give us a call at 605-206-3915 or schedule an appointment online.