The coldest days this year are probably behind you if you’re a resident of Allen, Texas – but the rain is on the way. While air conditioning units are designed to withstand the elements of nature, sometimes taking extra precautions can prolong the life of a unit.
CNBC reports this year’s El Nino climate phenomenon is likely to leave some of its strongest marks on North America this winter and early spring.
Most A/C units are exposed to the elements on a daily basis. They are designed to endure various temperatures and harsh conditions. Most units are made so water, snow, humidity and moisture can’t reach internal parts of the unit that would be damaged if wet.
Some home owners however choose to cover their A/C unit during harsh weather conditions. There are pros and cons to covering an outside unit. It can keep a unit looking new by protecting its paint and keep debris from getting into the vents. Covering a unit may also soften the noise of rain at night or protect it from hail storms.
A con of covering a unit includes the risk that animals such as rodents or snakes take refuge in the cover, increasing the chances they will crawl into the unit itself and cause damage.
If you do decide to cover your outdoor unit due to heavy rainfall or other harsh weather, here are a few tips to think about:
- If you don’t have an A/C cover, consider covering the top of the unit with plywood during heavy rain or snow. Place a heavy rock or brick on top to secure it
- If you do choose to buy a cover, contact your A/C manufacturer for a specially-designed one that allows the unit to breathe
- Never cover a unit with a plastic tarp. It creates condensation and can rust the unit and eventually corrode the inside of the system. Plastic also encourages the growth of mold and mildew
- During severe weather such as a hurricane or tornado, turn the unit off and secure it with straps
- After severe weather, make sure to inspect the unit before turning it back on