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Covering Your Outdoor HVAC and When to Do It

An AC unit with a cover over it

When it comes to regular HVAC maintenance, there are certain times of the year that are more ideal than others for taking care of your units. For an air conditioner, it’s spring, whereas fall is the best time to care for your heating unit. But with fall now in full swing, you may be wondering if covering your unit is ideal. 

So Should you even cover your HVAC unit at all? It actually depends. Residential air conditioning service company Shackelford Heating & Cooling weighs in here to explain what you need to know: 

It’s Only Helpful If You Get the Right Cover

  • A cover can actually be helpful, but only if it’s the right one. Since the top of the unit is the part that’s the most critical to protect, that’s the part that should be covered. You can use something as simple as a sheet of plywood over the top, but if you want something more appropriate you can get a cover that protects the top but doesn’t come down more than six  inches on the sides. This will keep the bulk of the debris at bay yet still keep the sides open to allow moisture to escape. 
  • There are also covers that are made entirely of mesh. They do the same job, just in a different way. They also have the added advantage of not providing a cozy shelter from the cold, which is what attracts small rodents such as rats and mice.

The Ideal Time to Cover Your Outdoor HVAC Unit

There’s a reason why heating and air conditioning contractors recommend covering your system at the beginning of the fall season, and it’s not just in anticipation of the coming winter. Your unit is built to withstand winter rain and snow, but it’s not built to keep out leaves, seeds, nuts and other small debris. When leaves or seeds get into your air conditioner, they create a place where moisture collects, which can then lead to corrosion. They can even block any moisture drainage system your unit has built in.

However, you only need to cover the top of your HVAC unit if necessary. This is because a completely covered unit can trap moisture inside, causing rust and corrosion. In fact, it may not even be necessary at all, since most modern HVAC units are made to withstand harsh weather conditions like ice and snow. So long as it’s regularly maintained and cared for, it’s fine to keep it uncovered during the fall and winter.

If you need a professional to deal with your furnace issues, consider hiring our residential heating service at Shackelford Heating & Cooling. Call us today at (608) 530-0667, or you can reach us online to schedule your maintenance service. Talk to us today!


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