Many homeowners make the mistake of assuming their air conditioner condenser unit, cabinet that sits outside your home, should be covered during the winter to protect it from the elements. They’ll wrap the unit tightly in a heavy piece of plastic, then secure it with duct tape or twine. The reasoning seems logical, but in fact is contrary to what most professional HVAC experts tell us.
The problem is moisture and condensation. After the air conditioner condenser is cleaned to remove debris and garden clippings collected after a season of hard work, homeowners take the extra step of wrapping it. Underneath that plastic wrap, however, moisture from condensation will get trapped between the coils and around exposed screws, electrical wiring and connections. As rust forms, those key elements are more likely to fail.
Knowledgeable HVAC technicians propose an easier, more effective way to protect your condenser. Just cut a piece of heavy plywood so that it covers the top of the condensing unit. A marine-grade plywood is advisable because of its water resistance. After the wood has been set in place, set a few heavy bricks across the top to prevent animals from camping out inside the unit and to keep out ice, snow and other winter debris. The airflow through the condenser will prevent moisture from accumulating and damaging the internal parts of your condenser.
Some people prefer covering their condenser to protect it from the elements and airborne dust and dirt. They’ll sue a custom-fitted cover made of plastic or a heavy-duty vinyl outdoor material. Instead of a tightly wrapped cover, these cover options come complete with strategically placed vents that allow airflow and prevent moisture from forming in the coils.
There’s another option that’s preferred by many experts – simply leave the unit exposed without covering it at all.
For more information on covering your air conditioner condenser, please contact Northeast Ohio’s most reliable HVAC contractor, Stack Heating & Cooling. We have been serving the Greater Cleveland area since 1976.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about condensers and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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