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To cover or not

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  • To cover or not

    Hello Guys,
    My father in law and I want to get the best practice answer from the pros! He always covers his outside central air unit each winter. I always leave mine uncovered. Neither of us have had any problems. We want to know from the pros which is the best practice for the unit, and maybe if you have time why.
    Thanks for your input,

  • #2
    Re: To cover or not

    No expert here, but when we first got ours we tried to cover it in the winter, but the wind keep sucking the cover off the unit and blowing it away so we stopped typing, yes it was tied down, (we can get days of 60+ winds here), many days 40 mph is not unusual.

    I know that does not answer your question, but that is my answer,
    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
    attributed to Samuel Johnson
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    • #3
      Re: To cover or not

      The premise of the cover is to keep the heat inside and not get sucked outside, or
      keep cold air from entering.

      In Arizona many folks have evaporative coolers. This is added to the duct-work and in the summer provides
      less expensive cooling.

      In the winter time it's like having a huge hole/opening in your duct-work providing an area
      that allows heat to escape or cold air to enter.

      Most folks have what's called "a cookie sheet" or a piece of sheet metal they slide between the cooler
      and the duct-work to close the opening. This is not a perfect seal so folks add a cover to the exterior evaporative unit.

      Newer installations use louvers and provide a tighter seal but old habits die hard.

      Also, many homes here have whirlybird style roof vents and again they cover them to reduce cold
      air entering the attic.

      Remember here in Phoenix our winter temperatures average in the forties at night with some dips into the
      thirties and then we warm up to the fifties to low seventies

      Covering a ground mounted air conditioner compressor unit seems unnecessary.
      You only have freon lines and control cables entering the house and those should not effect internal

      A roof mounted heat pump obviously can't be covered as it's used to also produce heat.

      The only advantage I can see is to protect the unit from snow, ice and excessive moisture damage.

      The newer homes are built with 2x6 walls, exterior is chicken wire 1/2" foam and 3/8 stucco
      Most attics are around r-30 or r-36 insulation.
      The higher end homes have dual pane windows.

      My home is 1966 vintage [before building inspectors]
      Last year we installed Pella dual pane windows to replace the single pane aluminum windows.
      The difference in interior temperatures heat or air conditioning is simply stunning!
      Also energy bills have reflected this!

      By the way, we just celebrated a of our toilets just turned 45 years old and it's the
      best one in the house!

      Cactus Man
      Last edited by cactusman; 12-09-2011, 11:05 AM.


      • #4
        I cover to keep cleaner.

        I cover mother's swamp cooler because the house came with one.
        It keeps the unit cleaner, but I still must clean it every spring.
        I also stuff a garbage bag full of crumpled newspaper very snugly into the large duct to seal it.
        It insulates and keeps cold air from getting to the ceiling deflector which is also closed with a flat metal sheet slid in to block the duct.

        Our central air conditioner heat exchanger I leave uncovered because of no cover.
        I just remove the top and clean everything before summer turn on.
        I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
        It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
        "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment


        • #5
          Re: I cover to keep cleaner.

          It should be cleaned in the spring regardless, so I don't see any real benefit. One caveat, if you have a metal roof, lay a sheet of plywood over the unit, I've come across more than one that had serious damage from sheets of ice sliding off onto them.
          Originally posted by NHMaster3015
          No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.


          • #6
            Re: I cover to keep cleaner.

            most people have a outside condenser and unless there is a lot of snow is going to cover it for the winter i would say you dont need to they are made to sit outside
            now for a window unit i would cover it

            if you have a heat pump Do Not Cover It it needs to stay uncovered

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            new work pictures 12/09


            • #7
              Re: I cover to keep cleaner.

              remember if you cover a condensor unit sitting on the ground the best way is a pc of wood and a brick. Need to let air go thought the unit or the mice will move in. They do more harm than snow rain ect. jeff


              • #8
                Re: To cover or not

                A big thank you to everyone who responded. I appreciate the information and actually got some ideas I had not thought about. I think I will just continue to leave mine uncovered and clean each spring as I have done in the past. Thanks again to all and by the way I hope you all have a great Christmas too!