The Ultimate Guide to Covering Your AC Unit in the Winter


As winter approaches, homeowners gear up to protect their homes from the cold.

Yet, oftentimes, one crucial component is forgotten — the air conditioning unit. 

Covering your AC unit during the winter months is essential to safeguarding the device from harsh weather conditions, debris, and potential damage. In this guide, we walk you through the importance of covering your air conditioner in the wintertime. 

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about covering your air conditioner, including when to cover it, how to choose the right cover, and tips for winterizing an AC unit. 

Why You Should Cover Your Air Conditioner in the Winter

The winter months bring harsh weather and conditions that can be rough on your home.

Covering your AC unit shields it from the snow, ice, leaves, and debris that can accumulate and potentially damage sensitive components during winter. A cover also helps prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to corrosion or mold growth within the unit. 

By investing a little time and effort in covering your AC, you can prolong its lifespan and ensure it operates efficiently when warmer weather returns.

When To Cover Your AC Unit

Timing is crucial when it comes to covering your air conditioner. 

Ideally, it is best to cover it before the winter season starts, typically when temperatures consistently drop below 60°F (15°C). However, avoid covering it too early in the fall to prevent trapping moisture inside, which could lead to corrosion issues.

Choosing an Air Conditioner Cover For Winter

Selecting the right cover is vital to protect your AC effectively. 

Look for covers specifically designed for air conditioners and made from durable, weather-resistant materials like vinyl or heavy-duty fabric. Consider the size and shape of your unit to find a cover that fits snugly without leaving gaps. If you are unsure of the best type of cover for your AC unit, it may be beneficial to contact your local HVAC service provider for recommendations. 

Breathable covers are often best for preventing condensation from forming inside the unit. Covers with ventilation flaps or mesh panels allow airflow, preventing moisture buildup over time.

How To Cover Your AC for Winter in 5 Steps

Covering your AC unit for winter is a simple yet crucial process to protect it from harsh weather conditions. By preparing your unit properly before the chill of winter rolls in, you can ensure your unit is protected until the weather warms again. 

Here are five steps to follow when covering your AC unit for winter:

  1. Clean Your AC Unit: Before covering your AC, start by cleaning the unit thoroughly. Remove debris, leaves, and any buildup that may have accumulated on or around the unit. 
  2. Choose a Cover: If you haven’t already, now is the time to select your cover. Ideally, you should choose a cover specifically designed for air conditioners and made from durable, weather-resistant materials. Contacting your local HVAC professional can be a great step to take if you are unsure what type of cover to use or where to purchase a cover. 
  3. Secure the Cover on Your AC: Gently place the cover over the unit, ensuring it fits snugly but isn’t too tight. Make sure the cover adequately shields the entire unit, including the top and sides, leaving no gaps for debris or moisture to enter. Secure the cover in place using the provided straps or bungee cords, ensuring it stays put even during strong winds.
  4. Ensure Ventilation: Ensure the cover allows for proper ventilation to prevent moisture buildup inside the unit. Covers with ventilation flaps or mesh panels are ideal as they promote airflow while still protecting the AC from the elements. 
  5. Check Up On Your Unit: Once securely covered, periodically check the unit throughout the winter to ensure the cover remains in place and there’s no buildup of debris or moisture inside. This simple process ensures your AC is safe and ready for warmer weather to return.

How To Winterize AC Unit

Winterizing your AC unit involves more than just covering it —it’s about ensuring it remains protected and well-maintained during the colder months. 

To begin winterizing your AC, turn off the power to the unit from the circuit breaker and remove any window AC unit entirely. If you have a central AC system, consider covering the exposed pipes or wrapping them with insulation to prevent freezing. 

For central air conditioning systems, consider covering the outdoor condenser unit with a protective cover to shield it from snow, ice, and debris. Before covering, ensure the unit is clean and free from any accumulated dirt or leaves. Additionally, inspect the area around the unit, clearing any vegetation or debris that might impede airflow or cause damage.

It’s essential to protect exposed pipes connected to the outdoor unit from freezing. Wrap these pipes with insulation sleeves or heating tape to prevent freezing and potentially bursting in colder temperatures.

Overall, winterizing your AC unit involves preparing it for dormancy by safeguarding it from cold, moisture, and potential damage. By doing so, you can ensure your AC unit is in optimal condition when you’re ready to use it again in the spring and summer.

Removing a Window AC For Winter

If you have a window-mounted air conditioner, it’s advisable to remove it for winter. 

Start by disconnecting the power and then carefully remove the unit from the window. Clean the unit and store it indoors or in a dry, protected area until you need it again.

Final Thoughts

Covering your AC unit in the winter is a simple yet crucial step in maintaining its longevity and efficiency. By choosing the right cover, following proper winterizing steps, and knowing when to cover and remove your AC, you can ensure it remains in optimal condition for the next cooling season.

Protecting your air conditioner from the harsh winter elements is a small task that yields significant benefits in the long run. Incorporating these practices into your seasonal home maintenance routine will help safeguard your AC unit and save you from costly repairs or replacements in the future. Take the time to care for your AC, and it will reward you with cool comfort come summertime.

Looking for an HVAc Professional in Brentwood, TN?

We are the right choice for all your HVAC needs! Here at Rapid Response, we understand that no two customers are the same and that is why our team of trained professionals will go above and beyond to meet the customized cooling needs of every customer. By choosing us you will receive fair rates, quality work and outstanding service.