outside air conditioner


Outside air conditioner units are supposed to be tough to withstand extreme weather conditions. However, just like humans, animals, and plants, they will benefit from some protection during harsh winter weather.

Winterizing your outside air conditioning unit will minimize the pressure the unit has to go through. It will not cost much, but preparing your air conditioner for winter will give you plenty of savings over time.

Why Cover Outside Air Conditioner Unit in Winter?

cover ac unit in winter

During the hot days of summer, your outside air conditioner unit or the HVAC unit keeps you comfortable. It is but natural that you protect it against the elements at the first sign that winter is coming. Winterizing the unit gives it a layer of protection that can extend its life as well as prevent damage such as the buildup of rust.

Just because you do not need your air conditioning system in winter does not mean that you have to forget about it. It will be inactive for several months so it is important to protect your cooling system’s outdoor components.

This means taking care of the system’s condenser coils and compressor. If you leave them exposed to winter weather, you’ll have a malfunctioning air conditioning unit during summer.

  • Pets, Insects, and Wild Animals may be looking for a place to take shelter during winter can find their way into the cabinet of the outdoor unit and to the condenser coils and compressor.
  • Heavy Snow and Rain Water can cause bad damage to the coils and freezing. Rainwater can be iced in winters that expands and damages the fins.
  • Inches of accumulating snow can encase the unit. It’s ok to have a light layer of frost on the outside of the unit but don’t let it become encased in a thick layer of snow or ice. The fan blades and the coil fins can be damaged.
  • Dried Leaves & grass can be stuck in the sensitive fins of your outdoor air conditioner’s condenser coil. If this happens then it won`t be able to release the heat to cool your home.



Do remember that you must not fully cover your outdoor unit or you’ll be asking for trouble. You are protecting your outdoor unit to protect its top and remove the possibility of pests, snow, leaves, dust & rainwater.

Things You Can do to Protect Your Air Conditioner Unit Placed Outside for The Cooler Months

why cover your air conditioner

1. Turn the exterior power off

Your central air conditioning unit has an exterior circuit. It controls the power that runs within the unit. Look for the box installed at the side of your house close to the unit.

Find the red-colored circuit handle and pull it out. Reinsert it in the slot upside down and close the box.

This can prevent electrocution when there’s work to be done on the outside air conditioning unit. Likewise, it can prevent damage to the unit if the air conditioner is turned on during winter.

An accidental turning on of the A/C will cause the unit to use water to provide cool air. The condenser within the A/C can be damaged if the said water is exposed to near-freezing temperatures.

2. See to it that the outside of the air conditioner unit is clean

It is not safe to leave anything around the unit that may cause damage to your outside A/C unit through the winter months. If there are plants around it, make sure that you trim overhanging branches or those that grow too close to the unit.

Remove grass and leaves that can be blown into the unit. Get rid of bugs and dirt that have accumulated on the condensing coils and fan blades with a high-pressure water hose. Ensure that you allow the unit to dry completely.

The unit may have developed rust that needs to be removed or there might be cracks that must be sealed. Pipes can be covered with foam for added protection. All the exposed pipes should have foam pipe covers that cover the length of the pipes completely.

They provide insulation, protecting them when the temperature is freezing. Ensure that the foam will not be moved out of place by securing them with duct tapes

3. Put a Waterproof Cover on The A/C Unit

The unit itself is built to withstand different climatic conditions, but a waterproof cover can be additional protection. It can improve its resistance against harsh winter conditions and at best, extend the life of your unit. An outside air conditioner unit cover is available commercially.

If you do not have a ready-made vinyl or plastic cover, a piece of plywood will also do. It will protect the A/C from falling ice, keep debris and leaves away, and at the same time, allow the unit to breathe.

Covering your air conditioner's top also ensures that the risk of corrosion due to trapped moisture and the growth of mold are prevented.

4. Continue Monitoring The A/C Unit Throughout Winter

To see to it that you’ll have a perfectly working air conditioning unit after winter, continue to check it during winter. Remove ice, water, and snow that pile up on top of the unit, so its steel frame is not strained by the weight.

Check underneath to remove dead grass, twigs, leaves, and other debris that may have been blown under the unit.

Schedule outside air conditioner unit maintenance before winter. It is better to do it early than be caught unawares. The professional and licensed air conditioning technicians at Fischer are ready to serve you. Call 206-202-9499 or 425-406-3050 to make an appointment.