How Do I Cover My Wall Air Conditioner For Winter?

Wall air conditioners are a permanent fixture in the house. However, they need to be covered not only to avoid damage to the unit itself but also to improve insulation inside the house. These covers are meant to protect the unit and to make sure your AC will still be usable when the warm season kicks in. So, how do you cover your wall air conditioner for the winter? We have researched answers for you.

Here are ways to cover your wall AC unit:

  • Caulk the sides of your unit or cover it with foam
  • Cover the AC using a breathable but fitted fabric
  • Place tarps on the outside part of the AC unit

Although most modern air conditioners are designed to withstand harsh weather patterns, it is still best to apply preventive measures so you can be assured that your unit will still be working when winter passes. However, there are other ways to ensure that the covers themselves won't damage the unit. Keep reading below to learn more about how to cover your AC wall unit properly.

A window air conditioner in a barred cage with snow on a brick urban building in New York City, How Do I Cover My Wall Air Conditioner For Winter?

How Do I Cover My Wall Air Conditioner For Winter?

A old window unit air conditioner still being used by people whom don't have central air.

Exposed air conditioners can make your home vulnerable to drafts, making your home less comfortable and insulated. If your air conditioner can't be removed, the next best thing to do is to cover them. 

Here are ways to do this.

Caulk the sides of your unit or cover it with foam

Regardless of how fitted the window AC is on your AC slot, there may still be a tiny gap where warm air can be released. Redoing the caulking on the corners of the AC unit will already do a lot in terms of insulation.

To ensure maximum insulation and heating efficiency, you can also consider covering the sides with foam strips. Make sure that the dimensions are accurate so that all spaces will be effectively covered. Cut the foam to size using a putty knife, and push it down into the gaps between the unit and the AC slot. 

Cover the AC using a breathable but fitted fabric

There are many fabrics available in the market specifically designed for AC wall units. These fabrics fit snugly to the outer or inner portion of your wall unit, effectively insulating it and protecting it from harmful outdoor elements such as icicles, twigs, leaves, and branches.

If you can't purchase special fabrics, you can try fashioning them along with a plastic sheet and sticking them to the unit using hot glue or double-sided tape.  

Check out this AC cover on Amazon.

Place tarps on the outside part of the AC unit

Using tarps and plastic sheets are also possible, but you need to secure them with duct tape or bungee cords. Use smaller pieces of tarp to cover the unreachable sides of the unit. 

Advantages of covering your wall AC

Residential air conditioning unit wrapped with protective cover in blizzard

Covering your wall AC will not only protect your unit from icicles; it can also protect the unit from other harmful elements. However, it's important to remember that you shouldn't purchase airtight covers that will restrict airflow.

This is so that you can prevent other animals from seeking shelter in your AC cover, which they can do if they want a viable place to stay during the winter. 

Getting a breathable fabric or a tarp is recommended since you don't want your unit to collect moisture that can damage your compressor and motor permanently. 

Here are other advantages of correctly covering your AC unit. 

Read more: Toshiba Vs. GE Air Conditioner: Which To Choose

Protection from leaves and twigs

Covering your AC will prevent leaves and twigs from getting into your unit and possibly obstructing the operation of the air conditioner.

If small twigs and leaves manage to get into the outdoor unit, your AC may malfunction and eventually get permanently damaged. Aside from leaves and twigs, small rocks, grass, and dirt can also damage your AC unit.

These elements will be especially present in areas that experience occasional blizzards and strong winds, so it's important to invest in a good cover to effectively protect your wall unit during extreme weather patterns. 

Check out this AC cover on Amazon.

Better Insulation from the Inside

Effective covering will protect not only your wall unit but your indoor climate as well. If there are no gaps anywhere and if the outdoor unit is sealed, your home's warmth won't disperse outside and ruin your insulation.

Better insulation will translate to increased energy efficiency, which will reflect on your utility bills. You'll worry less about heating costs, especially if every crack has been sealed and the corners of your unit are covered.

Longer lifespan for the wall unit

If your unit is protected from harmful elements during the winter, your wall unit will retain its functionality.

When the warm season comes, it will work as you want it to, and it will keep on benefiting you for many more years. 

Can you use air conditioners during the winter for heating?

Air conditioner covered with snow hanging on the wall of the house

Some air conditioners, such as mini splits, can be used to heat a room during the winter. Modern air conditioners also have a reverse function so that they can give you both warmth and coolness depending on your needs.

However, ordinary air conditioners, which are usually the model of wall units, can only cool a room. They are specifically designed to transfer heat from the inside to the outside.

Fortunately, there are available window AC units that also have a heat pump. Heat pumps can effectively reverse the airflow and give you that much-needed warm air during the winter to keep you comfortable. A heat pump is supposed to transfer heat from the outside of your home and pump it indoors.

They are a lot cheaper than split-type HVAC systems, and they are more efficient than space heaters which can only heat up a small part of a house. 

Are heat pumps energy efficient?

Heat pumps are one of the most energy-efficient and affordable heating solutions around.  However, they are better used for specific rooms only—not for the entire house. 

Make sure to check the energy-efficiency rating of your unit first before purchasing.

Read more: How To Reset My Air Conditioner [ Reviewing 8 AC Brands]

Should you cover your air conditioner during winter?

There have always been two sides to this debate. On one hand, you want to make sure that your unit is safe from the unpredictability of cold weather, but at the same time, you're not entirely sure whether covering the AC would do more harm than good. 

According to some, covering your unit during the winter will only cause the motor to rust, especially when there's moisture buildup.

There's also a risk of mold accumulation, which is common when a unit doesn't have enough airflow, so bacteria can easily find a suitable environment to multiply.

Should you remove your air conditioner during the winter?

If you don't want to cover your unit during the winter but also don't want it to become vulnerable to the weather's unpredictability, you can remove the unit.

However, removing the unit can be dangerous, especially if you do it alone. You can end up knocking the unit over and damaging the internal workings of the machine.

You can remove the window unit as long as you have adequate help to avoid accidents. After that, you'll need to figure out how to properly store the unit all throughout winter. 

How To Store Window AC in the Winter

removing outdoor unit of air conditioner

Depending on the temperature of your area, it may be wiser to remove your window AC during the winter, especially if the temperature drops too low. 

Leaving your AC hanging outside can cause damage, especially if you don't employ preventive measures to protect it from harsh elements.

Here is how you can store your window AC during the winter:

  •  Remove the power source to avoid any accident.
  • Place newspapers or cardboard sheets on the floor in case some water or debris falls out.
  • With the help of a friend, slowly remove the AC from its slot.
  • Check the unit for damage.
  • If it's all clear, return the AC to its original box.
  • Place the unit in an upright position to avoid damaging the compressor. 

Final Thoughts

Protecting your AC unit will ensure that it will remain functional so you can use it to remain comfortable when the warm season comes. Make sure to regularly inspect it when it's stored or covered to ensure that nothing is obstructing it.

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