Should an air conditioner be covered in winter?

Looking at reasons why an air conditioner should or should not be covered in winter, how to cover it, and why a cover is not recommended.


Air conditioners (AC) are usually used when the weather is warm and there is a need for a cooling system to keep a home or a space bearable in the hotter summer months. Typically, when winter comes, you will not use your air conditioner much.

For households with outdoor air conditioning units, there is a concern for what the outside unit can endure, especially in the bitter colder climates that experience snowfall. People will need to know if an air conditioner needs to be covered in the winter months.

Covering air conditioners in winter

When you own something as big and important as an air conditioner, you will probably be extra cautious about how well-kept your AC unit is and how it needs to be maintained when it is not in use.

Taking care of your air conditioner, even in the months when it is not in use, is important for ensuring it does not get damaged.

Some people will be concerned with how they can take care of their outside air conditioning units in the harsher and colder weather and whether they should cover them in winter.

Should an air conditioner be covered in winter?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. As much as one might be tempted to protect their air conditioner from harsh weather conditions where snow can fall and the outside unit can freeze from ice build-up, covering your air conditioning unit is not necessary.

This is due to some units being built to endure even the snow and ice build-up.

In fact, in some cases, covering the unit can actually cause more damage to the unit than good, however, an outdoor air conditioner can be covered using the correct cover and for reasons besides  weather conditions.

Covers can protect outdoor units from leaves and debris falling into it, which can cause damage. Covering your unit can also be useful for keeping the coils clean.

When is it absolutely necessary to cover your AC unit?

It is recommended that if you have many trees near the outside AC unit, it will be best to invest in a  cover to prevent leaves, small fruits, twigs, and fall debris from falling into the unit during fall and winter months.

While covering the unit in winter is not urgent, if you do notice that icicles are forming on it, then a sturdy top cover can be used if you cannot remove the icicles yourself, to prevent any damage.

How to cover your unit the right way

When opting to cover your unit if it is absolutely necessary, you will need to bear in mind that you cannot simply use anything to cover it, but you need to cover it correctly to prevent and ensure no further damage is caused.

You can buy an air conditioner cover from Amazon to fit your unit at the top. Only the top of the unit needs to be covered to prevent the build-up of mould inside. The Modern Wave cover retails for $24.99 on Amazon.

Why an AC should not be covered

Fully covering an air conditioner, especially with the wrong type of cover, will certainly lead to more issues than fixing the problem you are trying to avoid.

Covers actually trap more moisture on the inside of the unit and where moisture is contained, mould will grow and thrive.

Moisture gathers in the unit and is a combination of humidity, condensation, and other natural elements, and thus mould will soon develop, which can lead to the forming of rust.

Covers will attract more critters looking to nest in a warm environment, which can, in turn, attract small animals.

Final thoughts

As much as any air conditioner owner will want to protect their air conditioning units, there are cases where there will not be a need for your AC unit to be covered, depending on different weather conditions.

When it comes to winter, when most households are not using their air conditioners, it can be tempting to cover your outside unit, but this is not always necessary. A proper cover is only needed in certain cases.

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