As the summer temperatures climb, your A/C unit becomes your new best friend.
As winter sets in though, it’s time to power down your unit, and kiss goodbye to the air-con until the summer months.
Before you just turn off your A/C and leave it for the winter, though, there are a few things you should be doing to maintain it in the meantime.
Not sure what to do with your A/C unit in the winter? Read on to find out more.
Table of Contents
Can A/C Units Handle Extreme Weather?
One of the most important questions you’ll want to answer is: can A/C units handle extreme weather? The short answer is yes, but not all units are created equal.
If you’re looking at an older model or if you have a smaller system, then the chances are that it won’t be able to take much of a beating without breaking down.
However, newer models tend to be built better than their predecessors, so they will usually last longer.
If you can’t find a date anywhere on your unit or its manual, check out the manufacturer’s website for more information.
You should also check the manufacturer’s warranty if yours seems to be on its way out.
If it’s still covered, you’ll be able to get it repaired or replaced at the expense of the manufacturer.
Look for copy that reads a little something like… “This product is warranted against defects in material and workmanship for 1 year from the date of purchase”, but we digress.
If your unit has a compressor motor, then it needs to be protected from freezing. Most compressors use liquid refrigerant.
When the temperature gets too low, the pressure inside the compressor drops, causing the liquid to freeze into solid ice.
Once the ice forms, the compressor can no longer function properly, and it might even break.
To protect your unit from freezing, make sure that it’s covered up during the winter.
Even if you live somewhere where the average temperature is below zero degrees Fahrenheit, you still need to cover your unit.
If you don’t, then you could end up with a broken compressor.
Most modern units come equipped with a thermostat. This is basically a sensor that monitors the temperature inside the home and turns the unit on and off accordingly.
If you’ve got a thermostat, then you shouldn’t worry about covering your unit. However, if you don’t have one, then you’ll need to turn the unit on and off each day manually.
Ensure that you know how to do this before the first frost hits. If you forget, you could spend money on energy bills while your unit sits idle.
Different Types Of A/C Units
There are also several different types of A/C units. If you have one of the following, you’ll need to consider whether or not you can cover it.
Here are some of the most common types of A/C units:
Condensing A/C Units – These units rely on a fan to blow outside air through coils.
They work by passing cool air through coils, causing condensation to form on the coils.
Water vapor evaporates back into the air. Condensing units are typically used in areas where there isn’t enough humidity.
Heat Pump A/C Units – Heat pumps are similar to condensing units, except that they actually heat the air instead of just cooling it.
Instead of using a fan, these units use a pump to circulate warm air throughout the house.
They can provide heating and cooling, depending on what type of unit you buy.
Split-System A/C Units – Split systems combine a heater and a cooler.
This allows them to operate more efficiently because they only run half as long as separate units would. They are often found in larger homes.
Variable Speed A/C Units – Variable speed units are designed to cycle between high and low speeds automatically.
They are great for keeping the temperature constant while saving energy.
Programmable A/C Units – Programmable units allow you to set the temperature and time that the unit will run at any given moment.
Many people like to program their units to start running around midnight to be ready to go when they get up in the morning.
Pros And Cons To Covering Your A/C Unit
Here are some of the biggest pros and cons of covering your A/C unit in the winter.
Pro: It keeps your unit safe from freezing. If you leave your unit uncovered, you could risk having a damaged compressor.
Con: It costs money. Some people think that covering their unit is a waste of money. After all, who wants to pay extra money for something that’s already free?
But, if you don’t cover your unit, then you could end up paying higher utility bills every month.
Pro: It saves energy. By covering your unit, you prevent wasting electricity.
Many people want to save energy during the cold months. So, covering your unit might be a good way to help.
Con: You may have to shovel snow. If you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow, you may have to shovel your driveway or walkway before putting your unit away.
This could take a few hours, especially if you live in an area with heavy winds.
Pros: It can help prevent debris, such as dust, seeds, and leaves from clogging up your system.
This debris could potentially create little moisture pockets within your A/C unit that can lead to mold and corrosion.
Con: It could cause mold growth. A cover could well trap moisture within your A/C unit.
Mold spores love moist environments, so leaving your unit exposed to moisture can cause mold to grow inside your home.
When this happens, you could end up spending thousands of dollars to remove the mold.
Take Your Location In To Account
A/C covers can be expensive investments. So before you splash the cash, take your location into account.
If you live in a dry climate, then you won’t need to worry about keeping your unit covered.
But if you live in a place where snow falls regularly, you’ll need some protection.
If you’re going to spend $200+ on a cover, then you’d better be confident that it will keep your unit safe throughout the season.
Don’t Forget About Your Air Filter
Your filter is another vital part of your A/C unit. Without a good filter, your air conditioner won’t be able to remove dirt and dust particles as well as it should.
So, you’ll need to change your filter every month. Don’t wait until the filter starts getting dirty. Instead, schedule a time to replace it.
And remember, you’ll need to clean out any debris that accumulates in the drain pan (see also ‘Is A Drain Pan Required Under A Water Heater?‘) before you install a new filter.
Keep An Eye On Your System
As we mentioned earlier, there are two parts to your A/C unit: the condenser coil and the evaporator coil. These are both located outside your house.
They are connected by a tube called the return line. If you notice anything unusual happening to either component, then you need to call a professional immediately.
For example, if you see water leaking from the tubes, you need to contact a heating contractor.
If you see rust forming on the coils, then you need to replace them. Otherwise, you could damage your entire system.
You may also want to consider installing an automatic defrost timer. This feature automatically shuts down your unit for a few minutes every hour or so.
During these times, moisture builds up on the coils, and they start to thaw out. The process helps prevent ice buildup on the coils.
It also keeps your unit running at full capacity all summer long.
On a side note, if you’re looking to save money on your energy bills, then you need to think about upgrading your home’s insulation.
Insulation keeps heat trapped inside your home instead of allowing it to escape through windows and doors.
By insulating your walls, ceilings, floors, and attic, you can reduce your energy consumption dramatically. You can get started today by calling a local insulation company.
Should You Remove Smaller A/C Units In The Winter?
If you only need to use your air-con for a few months a year, chances are, you’ll have a smaller (or window) A/C system rather than a big one.
While larger systems offer more convenience, they also cost more.
So, if you plan to use your air conditioning less frequently, then you might not need to invest in a large unit.
However, as winter sets in, we recommend removing these small units and packing them away for the colder months.
Not only will this preserve the life of your unit, but it will also prevent any cold drafts in the home.
If you have a wall-mounted air-con unit, you’ll know that these can be a lot more difficult to remove.
So instead of removing the unit from the wall, it’s probably best to invest in an a/c unit cover.
Why You Should Cover Your A/C In The Winter?
The main reason why you should cover your A/C unit in the winter is that it protects the unit from extreme temperatures and the weight of snowfall.
As we mentioned earlier, the outdoor temperature can reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer (depending on your location).
But when the weather turns cooler, the temperature drops drastically, putting pressure on your A/C unit.
In certain winter circumstances, if you don’t protect your unit, then you run the risk of damaging it.
Another reason why you should cover it is that it prevents dust and debris from entering your unit.
When the weather gets cold, dirt and grime tend to build up on the exterior of your unit. This can cause problems with the unit’s performance.
And if you don’t clean it regularly, you could spend thousands of dollars fixing it.
Certain well-designed, well-ventilated A/C covers will also do a good job of keeping moisture away from your A/C unit, thereby preventing mold and rusting; however, a lot of them will only increase the chances of standing moisture, so be sure to pick yours carefully!
How Do I Install An Air Conditioning Unit Cover?
Installing an air conditioner cover isn’t too hard. All you need to do is follow these steps:
1. First, measure the area where you want to install your unit cover. Make sure that you leave enough room around the perimeter of the unit.
Also, take into consideration how much space you need between the unit and other objects such as furniture or appliances.
2. Next, find some sturdy material that you can use to cover your unit. We suggest using fabric, plastic, or vinyl.
However, you can also use wood, metal, or even cardboard. Just make sure that whatever you choose has a good grip so that it doesn’t slide off easily.
3. Once you’ve found the right material, cut out two pieces that are roughly the same size as your unit, then attach them together by sewing or gluing them together.
4. Finally, place your new cover over your unit, make sure that it fits snugly and covers everything except the fan blades.
5. Now that you’ve installed your unit cover, you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of keeping your unit safe from the elements!
Where To Buy An A/C Unit Cover
You can buy an air conditioning unit cover at most hardware stores. They sell them under different names depending on what type of cover you need.
For example, they may call them “air conditioner covers” or “a/c unit covers.” So, just look through their inventory and see what you can find.
If you’re looking for something more specific, then check online. Many websites offer custom-made units.
These companies will be able to provide you with exactly what you want.
The Best A/C Unit Covers
Need a little inspiration? Here are some of the best A/C Unit Covers that WON’T break the bank.
This one comes from Perfitel. It features a sleek design and is made from durable materials such as polyester and nylon.
It’s available in several colors, including white, black, blue, green, red, and yellow. The dimensions of this cover are 19 inches wide x 18 inches long x 2 inches thick.
It also includes a built-in handle which makes it easy to carry around. It weighs only 1 lb. and can fit any standard window opening.
This one is designed specifically for outdoor units. It’s made from UV-resistant PVC and is extremely weatherproof.
This cover is available in three sizes: small (19 inches wide), medium (24 inches wide), and large (30 inches wide).
It’s lightweight and folds up flat when not in use. It’s also very easy to put on and remove.
This one is perfect for those who live in areas where there’s a lot of rain. It’s waterproof and won’t get damaged if you accidentally spill water on it.
It’s also very affordable. It’s available in five sizes: small (16 inches wide), medium (20 inches wide), large (25 inches wide), extra-large (28 inches wide), and extra-extra-large (32 inches wide).
The dimensions of this cover are 16 inches wide x 20 inches long x 3 inches deep.
These covers are ideal for covering central air conditioners.
They come in four sizes: small (18 inches wide), medium (22 inches wide), large (26 inches wide), and extra-large (30 inches wide) and weigh less than 10 pounds each.
They’re made from heavy-duty vinyl and include a built-in handle. They’re also very easy to install and take off.
Can You DIY An A/C Cover?
If you really want to save yourself some cash, it’s possible to DIY an A/C cover. However, it requires a bit of skill and knowledge.
If you don’t have either, then you should probably hire someone else to do it for you.
Keep reading if you’re still committed to the task and want to learn how to DIY an A/C cover.
Step 1 – Measure your window frame.
You’ll need to measure the width of your window frame. Then, add 4 inches to that measurement.
That’s because you’ll need to leave room for the door so that it doesn’t block the airflow.
Step 2 – Cut out the pieces of fabric.
You’ll first cut two pieces of fabric. One piece will be used to make the top part of the unit cover, while the other will be used to make its bottom part.
To create the top part, fold the fabric in half lengthwise and sew along the edges.
Then, open the fabric up again and stitch along the sides.
Repeat these steps with the second piece of fabric.
Step 3 – Attach the handles.
Attach the handles by folding them over twice and stitching them into place.
Step 4 – Add Velcro strips.
Next, attach the Velcro strips to the back of the unit cover. These Velcro strips will allow you to attach the unit cover to the window frame easily.
Step 5 – Put it all together.
Now that everything is done, it’s time to assemble the unit cover. First, slide the Velcro strips onto the window frame.
Then, lay the unit cover on top of the Velcro strips. Finally, align the seams of both parts of the unit cover. Once they’re aligned, staple or glue them together.
That’s it! The unit cover is now complete.
Pest Problems And A/C Unit Covers
A/C units can become infested with pests such as ants, spiders, roaches, and flies.
To prevent these pests from getting inside the unit, you should consider buying an A/C unit cover.
This way, you can protect your A/C unit from being invaded by unwanted guests.
Sometimes, however, it’s not enough to install a cover. You may also need to pair it with some natural pest deterrents.
We’re not saying you need to lay deadly traps around, but using strong smelling things like citrus or cayenne pepper can help to keep squatters at bay.
There are many different types of A/C unit covers available. Some are designed to fit only certain models of A/C units.
Others are universal, which means that they work with any brand of AC unit (see also our guide on dealing with a frozen AC unit). Still, others are specifically designed to address particular problems.
For example, one type of A/C unit cover is designed to help repel ants. Another type helps to reduce condensation buildup on windows.
And yet another type protects against dust buildup.
There are several things to consider when choosing an A/C unit cover. Here are just a few of those factors:
Size: Do you prefer a smaller or larger size? It depends on what kind of pest problem you’re trying to solve.
For example, if you’re dealing with ants, a small-sized unit cover might be sufficient. But if you’re dealing with large insects like cockroaches, you may need something bigger.
Material: What material does the unit cover use? Wood, plastic, vinyl, etc.? Each has its own pros and cons.
Cost: How much money are you willing to spend on this project? There are plenty of options out there, but not all of them are created equal.
Your A/C Unit is an important feature in your home.
When winter rolls around and the cold weather sets in, you’ll still need to take good care of it to ensure it runs smoothly in the summer and for many years to come.
A/C Unit Covers are an excellent way to do this. A/C unit covers also have a great range of benefits, including protecting your A/C unit during the winter months.
They can also make your house look better than ever before.
So, if you want to keep your A/C unit looking new, then you definitely need to get yourself some A/C unit covers!
If you’re struggling to know where to start, take a look at our list of some of the best covers above for inspiration!