With cold weather coming in Richmond, you may be questioning when you should cover your outdoor air conditioner. Of if you should even cover it at all.

Your AC unit is a tough piece of equipment. It’s engineered to resist severe weather, including extreme temperatures and relentless precipitation.

Sometimes covers cause more problems because they can trap moisture. Additional wetness inside your unit can cause internal parts to rust or turn moldy.

While putting on an air conditioner cover is an individual choice, there are two seasons that are ideal for using a cover for an extended period of time—fall and summer.

That’s because yard debris during those seasons—grass clippings, twigs and leaves—can accumulate and block your system’s airflow. Reduced airflow means your air conditioning unit works more and may use more energy to cool your home.

Looking for other ways to make your air conditioner run efficiently? Routine AC maintenance from Refrigeration Systems Ltd. heating and cooling professionals can help. We’ll clean and lubricate your system, and inspect critical components. This often allows us to pinpoint trouble before they begin.

Find the Right Air Conditioner Cover

If you come to the conclusion you want to cover your air conditioner, here are a few suggestions on selecting the best cover.

Avoid Full Covers

To keep air flowing, a protective air conditioner cover should only enclose the top of your equipment and a couple of inches on the side.

Complete AC covers can trap water inside your equipment, potentially eating away at metal parts. It could also make your air conditioner a welcoming area for vermin, which could chew wires.

Related: What New Homeowners Need to Know About Their Air Conditioner

Don’t Use Plastic or Vinyl Covers

Plastic or vinyl covers impede air, which could cause moisture to build up inside your system. The best type of material is one that lets in air, like canvas or mesh.

Related: How AC Repair & Maintenance Can Actually Save You Money

When to Use an Air Conditioner Cover

If you want to use an air conditioner cover, here are the best times to use it.

Cover Your Air Conditioner During Summer

A lightweight mesh cover during the summer allows your air conditioner to run smoothly while keeping grass clippings and branches out.

Related: How Do I Know if My Air Conditioner is Running Properly?

Cover Your Air Conditioner During Fall

A breathable canvas cover will block leaves, nuts and other waste from getting into your system.

Related: Tips for Cleaning Your System

Cover Your Air Conditioner Before Severe Weather

You can temporarily cover your air conditioner in the winter when you know heavy snow is approaching. Snow and ice that collect inside your system can melt and refreeze, damaging condenser coils and reducing efficiency.

Although it’s not always possible to predict a hailstorm, you can temporarily cover your air conditioner if a bad storm is imminent in Richmond. Hail can seriously damage your system’s exterior, affecting efficiency.

Related: How Severe Weather Can Lead to AC Repair

We Can Help Your AC System Run Efficiently

Whether you have questions about heating and cooling or need air conditioning service, Refrigeration Systems Ltd. gives aid. Give us a call at 778-693-2532 or schedule an appointment online.