When the cold weather season begins, you need to begin thinking about winterizing the outside component of your air conditioners. The winter weather can be very damaging to the condenser, so much so that you may want to consider covering it. However, you have to be careful when doing so. You could damage the unit without the proper precautions. Here are some things to keep in mind before you cover your outdoor unit for winter:
Why Would You Need to Cover the Condenser?
Since your air conditioner is one of the most expensive components of a home, you need to be proactive when caring for it. During the winter, dried foliage and leaves can get trapped inside the unit and cause damage to the components inside. An accumulation of snow can cause major structural damage, especially if it snows consistently in your area. Heavy layers of snow can weigh down the fan blade and coil fins, preventing them from working properly. Regular ice storms can also cause damage, as it can dent the coil fins and panels.
How Should You Cover the Condenser?
There is a correct procedure to take when you cover your outdoor condenser unit. You need to use a breathable material, such as a mesh tarp, around the unit. You could also top it with a piece of weighted plywood. If you want a more permanent situation, you can build an awning or shelter over the unit.
What you should not do is wrap any type of plastic or non-breathable material around the condenser unit, including any commercially manufactured plastic covers meant for air conditioners. This is because plastic material does not let the air flow through to the condenser unit. Although you want to protect the system from the elements, it still needs air to flow through it no matter what time of year it is. If you prevent proper air flow, you can cause significant damage to the condenser unit.
Additionally, when you wrap a plastic cover around an outdoor condenser unit, you can also prevent proper evaporation and trap condensation inside. The condensation can not only cause mold and mildew growth, but it can also freeze inside the condenser coils. A plastic covering is also a prime place for insects and rodents to make a home, which can chew through the lines and cause a lot of damage.
Before you cover your outdoor unit, be sure to contact your HVAC technician to find out what the best covering options are for you.
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