Protecting Your Air Conditioner
Many of us rely on window air conditioners to cool our homes in the summertime, especially those of us who live in apartment buildings and condominiums. Window units are convenient for many reasons, and great for cooling small spaces, garages, and three season rooms. They are also easy to install, and work well as additional cooling measures for areas that may not feel comfortable with forced air alone.
As the temperatures start to drop, if you have a window air conditioning unit, you may be asking yourself, “Can I leave my AC in the window during winter?” The short answer is yes, but to properly care for your unit, a little protection is in order.
How to Cover Your AC Unit in the Winter
It is important to cover your window air conditioning unit, or remove it from the window, when winter rolls around. This is because while AC units are built to withstand the elements, they should be protected against things like snow and ice when they are not in use. This helps preserve a unit’s lifespan, and ensures it will be in perfect working order come summertime.
Covering your AC unit is easy as long as you follow a few simple steps.
- Do NOT use plastic or a plastic covering to protect your window unit. Plastic does not allow moisture to evaporate, and can therefore lead to rust, mold, mildew, and water damage.
- DO use a cover made of breathable material to cover your air conditioner in the winter. This will protect it from the weather without trapping moisture inside.
- If possible, cover the unit with an awning that hangs above. If this is not feasible, still use a weighted board to keep snow and ice from gathering on top of the unit.
- Taking into account the necessary clearance for proper airflow when the unit is in use, utilize shrubbery or other kinds of partitions to shield the sides of the unit from wind and snow.
- Finally, consider designing your own AC shelter. There are a number of inventive ways to create a custom design that protects your unit from all angles, while still complimenting your taste and property.
Covering your air conditioning unit during the winter helps protect it from various weather related hazards, including:
- Snow and Snow Accumulation
- Icicles/Falling Ice
- Water from Melted Snow/Trees/Gutters/Rain (in the winter, water that gets in the unit can later freeze and damage the internal components)
What if My AC Unit Gets Damaged?
If your window unit is damaged during the winter, or it simply stops working due to age, you might be wondering, “Is it cheaper to replace my AC in winter?” The answer is, not necessarily. In most cases, the best time to invest in a new air conditioner is just before you are going to use it. This eliminates the need to find space to store the unit, or the arduous task of trying to install it in the middle of winter.
Some Don’t Like It Hot
If you prefer colder temps to overwhelming summer heat, you may be asking, “Can I run my AC in the winter?” The truth is, there is a small chance you can run your AC unit during the winter without issue, just in case it gets a bit balmy out in the middle of February- However, it is not recommended. This is because, depending on your model, running your air conditioner when it’s cold out could damage the unit and leave you without AC when temperatures rise again.
AC Installation and Other Cooling Services
If you are tired of covering your window unit every winter, fighting the chill from the open window, or taking it out and storing it to protect it from the elements, it may be time to consider investing in a central air conditioning system, or a ductless split system. Not only are these models more energy efficient, they can also save you a lot of hassle and time in the long run.
If you are interested in an upgrade, our team of experienced HVAC contractors at Ponderosa Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical is here to help. You can count on us when you need professional AC services from a trusted HVAC company in Bend or the surrounding Central Oregon areas.
From AC installations and repairs, to choosing the best replacement for the heating or cooling system in your home, our trained technicians are available to offer you expert assistance and superior customer service.
Call us today at (541) 549-1605 to schedule a service appointment!