Fall is here and most of America has turned off their AC till spring/summer rolls around. I have been asked by readers whether it is a good idea to cover the outside AC condenser through the winter. Well, maybe and no. What?!?! There are two schools of thought out there which I will now attempt to cover.
Number one is the common misperception/wives tale that it will keep cold air from entering the house thus keep your heating bills down. Well, I hate to break it to you but this is just a bunch of hooey (that is a very technical home inspectors term)! Your AC unit outside does not move air either into nor out of your home. You may think this since you feel hot air blowing out the top of your unit in the summer when it is on. This air is just outside air blowing over the coils in the unit to dump heat transferred from inside your house to the outside. Wow, this starts to get technical and I can feel your eyes glazing over as I write this. I am doomed to find things interesting that would put to sleep the average client (or any NORMAL person). The long and short is, if you are covering your AC condenser for this reason you have wasted your money.
Now, the number two reason people cover their AC units. People try to protect them from the elements while they are not in use. I applaud your diligence and at the same time wonder if you need a hobby or something better to worry about. AC condensers are made with the intent of surviving the elements and I have seen 30-year-old units that were not much worse for the wear. As a matter of fact, I would think that if you covered the unit it would trap in moisture from the surrounding ground and lead to more corrosion over time. I would not, however, try to talk anyone out of covering for this reason though. If it will help someone sleep better at night, by all means purchase a high-tech goretex cover for your AC but keep in mind that it is not truly necessary.
For matters regarding issues we SHOULD worry about with the AC condenser, keep checking back and we will get to that in the spring. Also, if you have any other questions regarding home maintenance just drop me a reply on one of my posts and I will do my best to answer it. Hopefully it will get my butt on my computer entering blog posts more often. I know you are all eagerly anticipating my next words of “wisdom”. 😉
Thanks for reading,
Travis “That Home Inspector Guy” Moyer