As winter rolls around, you have a checklist of things you need to do to get your home ready for cooler temperatures. While working your way down the list, don’t forget to check off one important item: your air conditioning unit. When you finally give in and turn on the heat, it’s time to decommission and get an air conditioner cover for winter. Read on to learn why.
Benefits of Covering Your AC Unit
Unless you live in an area where the temperature remains constant and the skies dry, your air conditioner is going to take a beating. During the summer, your AC unit will be exposed to varying temperatures and rain. In the fall, more significant temperature fluctuations come into play along with the occasional hailstorm. By the time winter rolls around, you won’t be using your AC unit much – if at all – so you’re going to want to cover it to keep it protected until spring.
Here are some of the benefits of covering your air conditioner:
- Prevents leaves and other natural debris from getting into the unit as the seasons change.
- Protects against heavy rain or snow that can cause the unit to rust.
- Shields against excessive weight on the coils from snow or ice that can lead to damage.
- Prevents cold air from sneaking into the house during winter.
- May keep the coils a little cleaner so the unit runs more efficiently when you use it again.
Once you’ve covered your AC unit, avoid the urge to use it! Using an air conditioner when it is covered can cause damage, so either wait until you know for sure you won’t be using the unit anymore or choose a cover that is easy to remove if you change your mind.
How to Cover Wall Air Conditioner for Winter
If you have a window AC or wall unit, it may be simplest to remove the unit and close the window. Covering the unit helps keep out the cold, but unless the unit fills the entire window there may be gaps on the side where heat can escape, and cold air can enter the home. For permanently installed units, however, this might not be an option.
Here’s the best way to cover an air conditioner for winter:
- Measure the exterior portion of your AC unit and purchase an air conditioner cover that matches the dimensions.
- Insulate around the unit using solid foam insulation or spray foam, filling gaps between the body of the unit and the window frame.
- Carefully remove the cover from the outside of the unit to expose the interior components.
- Use a thick garbage bag to cover the coils, tucking it around the interior components and using duct tape to hold the bag in place then reinstall the cover.
- Install the exterior cover according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Air conditioner covers aren’t prohibitively expensive, but if you’re concerned about costs there are a few DIY options. For outdoor units, simply covering the top with plywood and weighing it down with bricks can work. For indoor units, you’ll want to buy a cover for the exterior portion of the unit, but you can use an inexpensive window sealing kit or some kind of insulated material to cover the face of the unit.
Best Air Conditioner Cover for Winter
Now that you know how to cover your wall air conditioner for winter, all you need is a quality AC cover. When shopping for AC covers, consider the quality and thickness of the material as well as factors like insulation, water resistance, and ease of installation.
Here are our top two picks for the best air conditioner cover for winter:
COSFLY Air Conditioner Cover for Outside Units – Designed to fit units up to 38x38x40 inches, this outdoor AC cover is made from premium 600D polyester oxford. With a water-resistant top and waterproof undercoating, this cover protects your AC unit from wind and water all winter long. Plus, installation is a snap with the heavy-duty click-close buckle and side slit design.
FORSPARK Indoor Air Conditioner Cover – Available in four sizes and two colors, this indoor AC unit cover keeps cold air out and warm air in. With its durable 210D polyester/cotton materials, this cover conserves energy and the adjustable drawstrings make it easy to install and adjust.
Covering your air conditioner for winter can not only keep your home warm and draft-free, but it protects your AC unit to extend its longevity. Invest in a quality AC cover for winter and follow the tips above to install the AC cover properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I cover my air conditioner?
Yes. Whether you have an outdoor unit or a window/wall air conditioner, you can cover it. You can find covers for outdoor and indoor AC units online or create your own.
When should I cover my air conditioner?
Once the heat of summer dies down, it’s time to start thinking about covering your AC unit. You might leave it uncovered during early fall for those lingering warm days, but once the leaves start to change you should cover it to keep out leaves and twigs. When winter really sets in and you know you won’t be using the unit anymore, consider removing it and storing it inside.
Should I do a DIY air conditioner cover for winter?
For outdoor units, all you really need to do is cover the top and a piece of plywood works perfectly well. For indoor units, however, you may not want to go fully DIY. It’s important to cover and protect the exterior part of the unit and a premade cover is generally best. Indoors, however, you’ll want to seal up the face to prevent heat from your home getting into the unit and colliding with cold outdoor air. You can use an inexpensive window sealing kit or make a DIY cover from some kind of insulated material.