By now you've turned on your furnace and your AC won't come back on until the spring/summer when the temperatures warm up again. If you use multiple window units to cool your home, you've removed those from your windows and are doing everything you can to keep the heat inside the house. At my house, we have an outdoor AC unit, also known as a "condenser unit."


First're welcome for the free plug Goodman. Second, my wife and I purchased our first house a little under 2 years ago. During our second summer, the previous AC Unit quit on us and we had to buy a brand-new one. Not the worst problem I've ever had but it would be up there for one of the more expensive ones.

Now that we have this brand-new AC Unit, how do I protect it during the winter? Should I cover it or only cover a portion of it? Should I just leave it alone all winter? If you have an outdoor AC unit and have ever wondered the same thing, I've done some research for us.

Should You Cover Your AC Unit This Winter?

It kind of depends on who you ask but the general rule of thought is no. You do not need to cover your AC in the winter. According to My Quality Comfort,

Covering your air conditioner, especially with a full-length cover, leads to issues of mold, rust, and other problems. Your unit is made to withstand the snow and a cover is not needed for protection.

If anything, My Quality Comfort says it is best to only cover the unit in the fall to prevent leaves and sticks from falling into the unit.

You do not need to worry about snow, cold, or wind possibly damaging your AC Unit. You can let it sit outside fully naked this winter. One of the issues if you fully cover the unit with a tarp and bungee chords is you can make a nice warm home for critters you'd rather not have in your unit. Mice and/or any other small creature can make a nice home for themselves to get out of the wind and snow. Fully covering your unit can also lead to rust and corrosion.

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There Are Exceptions

While you don't need to cover your unit in the winter, there is one pretty big exception for some people. If your AC unit is located in an area where big ice chunks from your roof or gutters can fall on it, you might want to cover the top portion to help protect the fan from becoming off-balance. If you're in a situation where ice buildup can fall on your AC unit, focus mostly on the top and allow the rest of the unit to breathe.

What can you do to protect your AC unit during the winter months here in Iowa? You can do absolutely nothing and you'll be just fine. 

Any Hour Services has put together a fantastic video that answers the question of covering your unit or not and what you should do if you are dead set on using a cover.

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