Covering your air conditioner? Don’t sweat it

by Tom Olecki, Owner, Broadview Heating

A common question asked this time of year is, “Should I cover my air conditioner for the winter?” Well the answer is yes, if it is covered properly.

Many times, I see air conditioners covered in such a way that it actually does more harm than good. You should never wrap up your air conditioner in such a way that it can not breathe. Using clear plastic or the inexpensive tarps we see at local DIY stores would be an example of a cover that cannot breathe.

Remember, the cabinet of your air conditioner is made of some sort of painted steel. Steel will rust and paint will peel if it is not given the chance to dry. Inside the system there are electrical switches, wires and other components, such as motors and bearings. Here again, ventilation is a must after a rain or snowstorm so moisture can evaporate naturally and quickly. Otherwise these electrical parts will corrode or pit, leading to a potential service call next summer.

So should you cover your air conditioner this winter? Yes, but do it right. Sometimes just a simple piece of plywood on top of the air conditioner will keep out sticks and leaves and help shed water. But the best way to protect your system for winter is with a custom made cover that is made for your exact model air conditioner. These covers have flaps near the top to keep out water but also allow natural ventilation. The custom covers are designed slightly short of the bottom of the unit and will fit loosely to provide ventilation and allow air to naturally circulate.

Custom covers protect the finish of your air conditioner from UV rays, and are somewhat padded to protect from small hail or small icicles should they fall. And of course they will keep leaves, debris and sticks from falling down and behind difficult-to-remove panels and louvers. Custom covers install easily with hook and loop straps and should last the life of your unit. Prices are reasonable and range from $90 to $120, which is a small price to pay when protecting that big investment next to your house.

Questions are always welcome. For free help with your heating/cooling system, ask the experts at or call 440-526-7310.

Tom Olecki, Owner, Broadview Heating

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Questions are always welcome. For free help with your heating/cooling system, ask the experts at or call 440-526-7310.

Opinions and claims expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of ScripType Publishing.