Do You Require a Cover for Your Outdoor Condensing Unit?

Here at Distinct Heating & Cooling, we get quite a few questions about cooling systems this time of year. One of the more common ones is whether you require a cover for your outdoor condensing unit. Before putting a cover over your outdoor unit, it is important to consider the following:

1. Covers can do more harm than good. Your A/C unit is designed to deal with dry, semi-arid climates, like we get here in Calgary. When we do receive precipitation, it is normally short-lived and the sun and wind dries the snow or rain fairly quickly. Putting a cover over the unit prevents the sun and wind from drying moisture that can accumulate underneath. Some liners tend to absorb moisture and retain it, where it is close to the unit and results in rust since the moisture is kept in contact with the unit longer than it would be if it were exposed to the sun and wind.

2. The paint used on the unit was design for outdoor conditions and can remain exposed to the elements year round. Newer units are coated in high quality, automotive-grade paints, which are resistant to weathering and corrosion.

3. Your A/C unit could be damaged if it is ran with the cover still over the outdoor condensing unit. While this might seem obvious, on that first warm day in spring, or on the off chance we get an extremely warm fall or winter day, you might forget the unit is covered and switch on the A/C system. Running the A/C system with a cover still on deprives the unit of its ability to cool properly and can result in overheating, damage, and complete system failure.

If is for the above reasons, Distinct Heating & Cooling does not recommend winter covers. However, there is one situation where we would consider covering the outdoor condensing unit: When it lies directly under or beside a large tree or bush that will drop leaves and debris throughout the fall and winter. In this case, the cover keeps the leaves and debris from getting inside the unit where it can cause damage to the internal mechanism.

Before you rush to put a cover on your condensing unit this fall, remember:

  • Covers can do more damage than good.
  • The paints used on units are designed for the outdoors and elements.
  • You could forget to remove the cover, turn it on, and damage the unit.

If you have further questions about your air conditioning system, heating system, or any other questions regarding your home comfort needs, please call us at (403) 477-3810. We would be happy to spend some talking with you and answering your questions.