3 Tips for Keeping Your Unit Protected from Snow and Ice

3 Tips for Keeping Your Unit Protected from Snow and IceDoes the outdoor half of your central air conditioner need winter weather protection during the off-season? While your furnace is busy keeping the house comfortable, your air conditioner hibernates. Hunkering down outside, the A/C condenser unit is exposed to the elements all winter long. Because a central air conditioner is among the largest investments in a typical residence, many homeowners rightfully wonder whether it requires special winter weather protection.

First Things, First

Central air conditioners are designed and engineered for long service life including seasonal exposure to typical weather conditions. Cold isn’t going to hurt your A/C, nor will moderate snowfall of a normal winter. However, more extreme weather involving unusually heavy snow and ice accumulation could pose specific risks under certain circumstances.

Here are three things you can do for added protection to your A/C this winter—just in case.

1. Cover it.

To keep out blowing snow, as well as snow melt that may refreeze inside the condenser coil, don’t wrap the unit in a paint tarp or other DIY alternative. Central A/C covers are available at local home centers. Custom sized to fit the make and model, these covers incorporate vent openings in the fabric to allow moisture to escape the confines of a covered unit. Moisture accumulation inside a covered air conditioner can accelerate corrosion and deteriorate rubber components.

2. Sweep off heavy snow buildup.

Snow weighs a lot. If we get an unusually deep snowfall, the accumulated weight on top of the air conditioner could deform the housing or the fan grille. Bundle up and get out there with a push broom to clear it off.

3. Protect it from falling icicles.

If your outdoor A/C is directly beneath the eaves and gutters, heavy icicles forming above and weighing several pounds may damage the unit when they fall. A piece of plywood cut to size and placed atop the unit, then weighted down with bricks, offers protection from aerial ice assaults.

Keeping your HVAC system fully functional in all seasons since 1922, the experts at Paitson Bros. have more advice about winter weather protection for your air conditioner.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859.

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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