With fall winding down in San Antonio, it’s a great time to take a look around your house to find tasks that you can do to prepare your house for winter. For many people, covering their outdoor HVAC unit is a time-honored step in those winter preparations. However, is covering your outdoor HVAC unit something that you should actually do? Does this task help protect your equipment, or does it do more harm than good? Hear what the professionals from Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating have to say about the pros and cons of putting a cover on your outdoor HVAC unit.
Understand Your Equipment
Before you consider a cover for your HVAC system’s outdoor unit, it’s important to understand what type of outdoor unit you have. If you have a typical split HVAC system, then your outdoor unit only operates during the summer months. During this time, the compressor works to pressurize refrigerant so that it can expel heat from your home into the atmosphere.
However, it may be that your home has a heat pump. If that’s true for you, then your outdoor unit works during both the summer and winter months. In the winter, the compressor works in reverse. Rather than expelling heat into the air, the outdoor unit extracts heat from the air and sends it into your home via the refrigerant. If you have a heat pump, you definitely do not want to cover your outdoor unit during the winter, as that will cause it to overheat.
Consider the Cover
When deciding whether or not to cover your unit, the pros at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating want you to consider the various types of covers. Some types of covers are made from heavy-duty weatherproof material. Although these types of covers tend to last the longest, they’re not really that great for your outdoor HVAC unit. One big reason they’re not the best is that these types of covers don’t promote good air circulation in your outdoor unit.
Although a cover like this may be able to keep out moisture from above, they tend not to cover the very bottom of your unit. Therefore, when the rain begins to splash as it hits the ground, it will likely find its way onto and into your unit. Then, because the sun can’t easily reach your unit, the water won’t have a way to evaporate, resulting in rust and mildew growth.
Your Outdoor HVAC Unit Is More Durable Than You Think
No matter which type of outdoor HVAC unit you have, the good news is that it is more durable than you think. The designers of these units from Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating fully realize that they will sit outside for many years through many different types of weather. That’s why each unit is torture-tested to make sure it can provide reliable operation even under extreme conditions.
Therefore, you don’t need to think twice about leaving your unit uncovered during the winter because it can certainly handle the abuse. On top of that, your unit already spends all summer outside uncovered as it is. If it can handle the heavy rain that San Antonio sees from time to time, it can handle whatever Mother Nature throws at it during the winter, as well.
Your Natural Surroundings Are Important
A potential caveat to not covering your outdoor HVAC unit is dependent on your natural surroundings. Take a look around your home. Are there a lot of trees that lose their leaves in the fall? If so, a cover could make sense for the limited period of time when the bulk of leaves are falling.
To be sure, an outdoor HVAC unit from Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating can still operate with leaves in it. However, they will need to be cleaned out at some point, which can be a time-consuming task. To save yourself the trouble, it may make sense to cover your unit for a few weeks in the fall until most of the trees around your home are bare. After that, though, we recommend removing the cover so that your outdoor unit can properly breathe throughout the winter.
A Home for Animals
Beyond a lack of airflow, another potential problem with covering your HVAC unit throughout the winter is that it could provide a place for animals to make a nest. After all, a covered outdoor HVAC unit is quiet, warm, free from predators and provides a great place to store food.
Unfortunately, the longer animals stick around, the more likely it is that they will start to chew on the electrical cords that are present in your outdoor HVAC unit. Then, when you go to turn on your air conditioner in the spring, you will find that it doesn’t work properly, if at all. If you leave the cover off, though, animals may visit, but they are unlikely to stay for long.
Steps You Should Take
Although a cover may not be in your best interest, there are other steps that you can take to prepare your outdoor HVAC unit for the upcoming San Antonio winter. One thing you can do is to cut the power to the unit via the breaker box. This step will help protect against surges and ensure that the unit doesn’t accidentally kick on during exceptionally cold weather. Of course, you’ll want to find a way to remind yourself that you’ve taken this step so that you don’t experience problems in the spring.
Another step you can take is to have your system inspected by Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating. One important part of an HVAC inspection is to check the refrigerant line that runs between the different units that make up your system. This check could reveal small holes that allow refrigerant to leak through them and into the air. If this problem is left untreated all winter long, you could have low refrigerant levels by the time spring rolls around. However, if you take care of this problem before the winter, you will be able to enjoy optimal efficiency and comfort when you need your air conditioner again.
Still Want a Cover?
If you still want to cover your unit after reading this article, allow the pros at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating to make a suggestion on which type of cover to get. Rather than buying one that is weatherproof, we suggest buying one that is breathable. In other words, the cover should have small holes in it so that air can flow through the cover and into your outdoor HVAC unit. This will ensure that no rust forms during the winter while still keeping debris out of your unit.
We Love Your Questions
At Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating, we believe in empowering our customers with information. Rather than trying to keep you in the dark about a topic, we want you to know everything you can so that you can make an informed decision. Therefore, whether we’re maintaining your furnace, repairing your air conditioner, cleaning your ducts, installing a ductless system or performing one of our many other heating and cooling services in San Antonio, TX, you can count on us to do so with integrity and transparency. This approach to home comfort is one reason we can maintain our Better Business Bureau accreditation. For more HVAC maintenance tips, contact us at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating today. We look forward to serving all of your home climate comfort needs.