The outdoor component of an air conditioner is designed to withstand the elements. There are occasions, however, when you may want to protect it with some sort of covering.
When (and How) to Think About HVAC Covers
This outdoor unit of an A/C, which includes the compressor and condenser, is at risk for different reasons during the summer and winter.
Although the kind of big hail storms that are of concern to people in other regions are rare here, it’s certainly possible that hail could damage an A/C on Long Island. Most likely your compressor is encased in sturdy metal housing that will protect the evaporator coils and the fan, but just in case a serious hail storm ever threatens, you might want to see about a sturdy canvas or even a wooden covering that can be tied down or mounted with screws to prevent it from blowing away.
This kind of protection might also be helpful during a hurricane, where high winds could blow debris on top of the unit. You should remove the covering after the storm passes, as leaving it encased or covered up risks providing a habitat for rodents, or promoting mold growth. Rodents in the HVAC can be an expensive disaster as they may chew wiring or other parts of the system.
While you can use a sturdy tarp or if you’re handy, build a wooden cover, commercially manufactured vinyl and canvas covers are available.
In winter, you may find you need to protect the unit from falling ice, particularly if it is located right under your roof line. The best solution is probably just to place a piece of plywood on top of the unit and to anchor it down in some way. In general, though, most HVAC specialists agree that a winter covering is unnecessary. That said, if a blizzard approaches, it might be wise to cover up the unit to keep snow from freezing, melting and refreezing inside the compressor. The cover should be removed after the storm.
To discuss HVAC covers further, contact Cool Power of Hauppauge, serving our customers since 1976.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC covers and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 631-292-0629.
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