Your air conditioning works to help keep your home cool, but that doesn’t mean cold temperatures can not harm it. Because your outdoor air conditioning unit has to brave the elements, it’s important that you help protect it from the harsh winter ahead.
Once that last hot day passes and you stop relying on your air conditioner, still keep it in mind as the seasons change. First off, during the fall, leaves and other debris can get caught inside your unit, affecting the fins of the air conditioner’s condenser coil. A blockage like that will make it difficult for your unit to release heat when it comes time again to cool your home.
Then, as the season changes to winter, you need to help protect the unit from snow and ice. When inches of snowfall, they will build up on and around the unit. A smaller layer of snow won’t be too bad, but a heavy layer could encase the unit which might damage the coil fins.
Because your unit is still located fairly close to the house, ice could fall from the roof or the gutters and land on the air conditioner. The height may not seem that high, but ice can strike your air conditioner with enough force that will damage the outside of the unit, with a chance that it could affect the sensitive coil fins inside.
When there are sunny days in the winter, the snow can slightly melt, but refreeze again later. Dripping water can fall into your unit, and then later on freeze within. Water expands when it becomes ice, and that expansion can also cause damage.
A couple of the best methods of covering your air conditioner during the winter involve finding a way that will not trap moisture inside. You can cover the unit with a breathable material, or even lay some plywood over top of it to help shield the AC from snow and ice.
You can even get crafty and install a wood awning or build a shelter around the air conditioner. The shelter will also be useful in the summer to provide shade from the blistering sun. Either way, you still want enough clearance around the air conditioner for proper airflow.
What you should never do is wrap your air conditioner in plastic. While plastic can cover the unit to protect it from leaves and snow, it is not breathable. The plastic will trap moisture or condensation from escaping, which could lead to rusting or mold development.
You’ll be happy that you protected your air conditioner when that first heat wave of the year comes around. For more information or ideas on how you can protect your air conditioning unit this winter, call the professionals at Sharon’s Heating and Air Conditioning today at (734) 425-1415. Our staff is ready to answer all questions you may have.