Air Conditioner Covers

As autumn comes and the leaves fall, we receive many inquiries about protective covers for air conditioners. A/C covers are intended to prevent leaves and snow from accumulating in the cabinet. Are these covers necessary? What are the pros & cons? Should every homeowner use them?

First of all, air conditioners are designed for the outdoors. Some a/c designs collect leaves more than others, but snow and ice will not harm an a/c. The main downside is that some covers retain moisture and can cause the entire cabinet to rust. We have also seen major damage occur when an a/c is accidentally started before the cover has been removed.

Most homeowners do not use a/c covers and their units fail due to old age or lack of maintenance long before rust or leaves would cause any problems. If you must cover your a/c, my advice is to do so only during the fall and only when the air conditioner is located under trees. Use only a breathable cover. Never cover a heat pump. All manufacturers recommend annual maintenance, which returns the unit to its peak efficiency and includes removal of leaves and other debris. This eliminates the need for a cover.

Also note that Trane XL air conditioners and heat pumps are designed with WeatherGuard tops to keep out the leaves and composite basepans and powder coat finishes to resist corrosion.

David Watkins