When to Cover Your AC in California?

Discover when it's appropriate to cover your AC in California. Sandium provides expert advice on using air conditioner cover outdoor units.

Updated on Oct 23, 2023
5 min read
When to Cover Your AC in California?

Many Northern Californian residents wonder whether they should cover their air conditioners or not during winters to keep it in good shape for the coming spring and summer. There are very rare occasions when you would actually need to cover your air conditioner. This short guide will explain everything you need to know about covering your air conditioning unit.

When to Cover an AC Unit?

The need to cover your air conditioner or not depends on where it is located. Most modern air conditioning units are built to work fine in the elements, such as rain. However, if the air conditioner is located in an area that gets a lot of falling leaves or debris, it may be a good idea to cover it.

Seeds, leaves, nuts and sticks can easily fall inside the unit and severely wreck the components inside. Air conditioning units are built to withstand a lot. However, they are not designed to handle small particles that may interfere with inner wiring and working. Seeds and leaves have another disadvantage. They can create pockets within the air conditioner that may collect moisture. This could lead to blocking of the system’s natural built-in drainage and cause corrosion.

You should never cover the top of the air conditioning unit if you do intend to cover it. Majority of store-bought covers will already meet necessary specifications. However, you should take care if you are using a handmade cover. The cover should never come down more than 6 inches on each side.

Air conditioner covers that encompass the unit may result in moisture getting trapped on the inside that may lead to rust and corrosion. The bottom line is that your air conditioner only requires minimal coverage during the winter season. You should schedule a service with an experienced technician when the season changes if you are really worried.

When Should You Not Cover the Air Conditioner?

Chances are that your air conditioner doesn’t need covering unless it is located in an area where small leaves and branches can get stuck in it. Most people wrongly assume that precipitation of any kind is reason to cover their units. It is important to understand that modern air conditioning units are capable of surviving rain and snow. You may damage the system’s natural moisture draining ability by shielding it from the elements.

You should also understand that dirt doesn’t interfere with an air conditioner’s performance. However, this is unless the unit is installed on the ground in which case it may suck in more dirt than usual. You should purchase an indoor air conditioner if you are concerned about the amount of dirt present in the air.

Most people in California cover their air conditioning units to keep the animals out. This can be small birds, rats, squirrels, and others. However, you may just be accomplishing the opposite of what you are hoping to achieve by covering the unit. Animals prefer dark spots where they can get shelter from the elements.

You should not cover your air conditioner if it not located near foliage. If it is safe from leaves and seeds, chances are that the air conditioner is fine. However, make sure you get your unit serviced once a year – certainly every other year.

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