Once the summer ends in Omaha and cooler fall weather kicks in, most homeowners stop using their air conditioners. At this point, some may wonder whether they need to cover their AC until they use it again in late spring.
Modern outdoor components of an HVAC system are designed to stand up to temperature fluctuations. In many cases, covering the outdoor units is optional. However, if you opt to protect it, you want to ensure that you do it at the right time and in the right way.
Does Snow Hurt Your Air Conditioner?
Outdoor AC units are built to stay outdoors during the warm Omaha summers and cold winters. However, excessive ice and snow buildup inside the outdoor unit should be avoided.
Your AC unit can handle moderate snow coverage without any problem. The danger exists when a large amount of snow is allowed to build up over time. A lot of snow around the coil and other internal parts of your outdoor unit puts them at risk of corrosion.
During the winter, temperatures fluctuate, causing the snow and ice inside your AC unit to melt and refreeze. This can cause the ice to expand and contract, putting pressure on internal components.
If the outdoor components of your HVAC system are not protected from excessive snowfall and ice, you could discover that you have an issue with your AC system when you need to turn it on in the spring. If your area experiences heavy snowfall, you might opt to cover your outdoor AC unit during the winter.
If you do not choose to cover your air conditioning unit, you can keep it safe from snow and ice by removing excess snow accumulation. When there is snowfall, brush the snow off the top of the unit. Keep a clear radius of at least 1 foot around your AC. Never use hot or boiling water to defrost the ice on your AC unit, as the drastic temperature swing could crack the components.
Regular annual maintenance is vital in preparing your HVAC system for the winter. A tune-up during the spring, before turning your AC unit on, is the best way to guarantee that it will work as you need it to when you want it to.
Use the Right Type of Cover
Some homeowners cover their outdoor AC unit with a plastic bag because plastic protects against moisture. Truthfully, there is no way to completely prevent water from entering the outdoor unit. If you cover it with a tarp, the moisture in your unit cannot escape, leading to mold and rust in your AC. If enough rust builds up, your AC won’t work correctly and will need maintenance and repair.
A plastic cover makes your air conditioner the perfect home for nesting animals, like mice and other small rodents. Instead, opt to cover the outdoor components of your HVAC system with a durable yet breathable material. This will allow any moisture that has built up inside the AC unit to evaporate.
Circumstances Where Covering Your Air Conditioner Is a Good Idea
If you have a lot of trees near the AC unit, you should cover the AC unit to avoid berries, leaves, and twigs from entering it. This will make it easier for your HVAC professional to clean and maintain it during their annual maintenance service.
Also, if icicles are forming above your AC unit, cover it with a sturdy top or piece of wood. This will prevent icicles from damaging your AC when they fall.
You don’t need to cover all five sides of your AC. You just want to cover the top of the unit. Although a full-size AC cover looks attractive, it can damage your unit because it prevents moisture from escaping.
Work With the Best HVAC Company in the Omaha Area
With more than 10 years of experience and an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, we at Xtreme Heating & Cooling LLC understand how essential HVAC service is in our area. Our HVAC technicians are proud to offer a service you can count on.
Our services include HVAC repair, maintenance, and installation. We offer indoor air quality and geothermal systems. We work on new construction and on remodels in residential and commercial settings. Contact Xtreme Heating & Cooling LLC today, and see our commitment to helping you keep your indoor environment ideally suited to your comfort needs.