shutterstock_67931302The cooling season is winding down, and we’re looking ahead towards another Washington DC winter.  A customer recently asked one of our technicians if she should use an air conditioning winter cover.  AC covers are sold in local home stores and many folks wonder if they are a good investment.  Let’s examine your outdoor unit to answer this question.

The AC outdoor unit is designed to sit outside year-round, including during the winter months.  By code, they are installed several inches above ground level on a slab or mounted to your home.  Manufacturers know that the unit will be outside year-round and design with that in mind.

What you can and should do for your outdoor unit during the winter is keep it free of debris.  Rake out leaves that pile up around it this fall.  If a tree branch falls on it, check for damage and call Climate if you see any.  Shoveling a small area around the unit when deep snow occurs can also help protect your unit.

Some of you are thinking, “well, I’ll just cover it anyway, it can’t hurt.”  It actually CAN hurt your unit to cover it in the winter.  The cover can trap moisture inside the unit causing it to freeze and cause damage.  It can also provide a cozy shelter for animals that may decide to winter in your unit, bringing sticks and debris into your unit when building their nest.

So, in this case, the best thing you can do for your air conditioning condenser unit is nothing.  And if you have any questions about caring for your systems, call Climate Heating and Cooling, your service provider in the DMV.