Should I Cover My Outdoor Unit in the Winter?

Covering an outdoor unit during the winter isn’t necessary, but it can be done. You need to decide what’s best for your system by looking at the advantages and disadvantages of covering the outside components. One thing to remember is that most manufacturers don’t recommend covering the outdoor unit.

Pros to Covering Your Outdoor Unit

Covering an outdoor unit does have some advantages, and there are some inexpensive covers you can invest in. If you choose to cover your unit, here are some benefits:

  • A cover protects your air conditioner coils, so they stay a little cleaner, allowing them to run efficiently the next time you use the air conditioner.
  • Protection from heavy debris, such as branches or sticks, is possible with an outdoor unit cover.
  • Covering your outdoor unit helps prevent water resting on your coils, causing them to freeze when the temperature drops.

Cons to Covering Your Outdoor Unit

Covering your outdoor unit isn’t necessary because they are manufactured to withstand any type of weather. After reviewing the pros of covering your unit, here are the drawbacks if you choose to cover the outdoor unit:

  • There is an increased chance water, and excess moisture won’t be able to drain out of the unit, leading to mold issues.
  • Trapped moisture will also affect the electrical wiring, wiring connections, and circuit boards in your outdoor unit.
  • Rain actually helps clear out debris from your outdoor unit that collects throughout the year.
  • During the winter, small animals seek warm places for shelter against the colder elements. A covered unit is exactly the type of place pests will hide. They will leave excrement, feces, and debris inside the cover, causing damage to the components in your outdoor unit.
  • One of the biggest reasons to not cover your outdoor unit is because most air conditioning manufacturers don’t recommend it.

If you have a heat pump, you should never cover the outdoor unit for fear of a fire hazard.

The Decision Is Yours

Whether you cover your outdoor unit or not, the decision is completely up to you. You will have to weigh the pros and cons for what you think is best for your system. However, if you have a heat pump, you should never cover the outdoor unit since it is used year-round. Covering the outdoor components of a heat pump is a fire hazard and may result in massive damage.