Your home's air conditioner sits outside on a concrete pad, appearing to be unprotected from the outdoor elements. While it's a good idea to cover your grill and lawn furniture to protect them from bad weather, your air conditioner was actually built to withstand harsh winters. You won't need to cover your air conditioner during the months you use it to cool your home, but there are several things to consider when deciding whether to cover it during the months it goes unused.
The outdoor elements will, to some degree, contribute to wear and tear on your air conditioner. It may be a good idea to cover the unit during fall, when you no longer need to cool your home. A cover will help keep leaves, seeds, and nuts from getting into the unit and creating a place for moisture to collect and cause corrosion, and from blocking any moisture drainage your system would normally be able to handle.
Be careful, when choosing a cover, to not pick one that encloses the entire unit. Moisture can get trapped if there's not enough air flow, and the moisture can freeze the air conditioner's condenser coils and cause damage down the road. Trapped moisture can also lead to mold. A full cover won't keep rodents out; in fact, it may lure them in for protection from winter weather.
If you do choose to cover your air conditioner when it's not being used, choose one that only covers the top of the unit, and that comes down each side no more than 6-8 inches. The cover should be waterproof, and should not allow water to settle on it and seep into the unit. It should be porous enough to allow air to flow in and out of it, and should come with a good warranty.
For more information about choosing a cover for your air conditioner, please contact:
Golden Seal Service Experts
1730 Wallace Avenue, Unit B
St. Charles, IL 60174