At Affordable Service, we sometimes get seasonal questions from our customers wanting to know how to properly care for and maintain their heating and cooling units. As you might imagine, in states that get harsher, colder weather, it would be necessary to cover an outdoor air conditioner to protect it from ice and snow. However, Affordable Service wants you to know that in New Mexico, such action is not necessary. Covering your outdoor AC unit for the winter may seem like a good idea, but it’s not. It can be harmful.

Covering your AC unit creates an inviting home for deer mice and other common rodents. Once inside your air conditioner, mice, rats and squirrels don’t just peacefully build nests. They chew on wires and cause expensive electrical damage. They gnaw through insulated ducts, diminishing the efficiency of your air conditioner. Their presence can also affect the indoor air quality of your home and expose your household to hazardous germs.

Covering your air conditioner can also trap moisture. If water accumulates and then freezes on your condenser coils, this could potentially be detrimental. Blocking proper air flow can also leave your air conditioner susceptible to mold growth.

Air conditioners work by extracting the hot air in your home and directing outward. If you were to cover your air conditioner and then turn it on, there would be nowhere for the heat to go, potentially causing damage to the unit.

Air conditioning units are durably built to withstand cold weather. They were designed to be outside, so there’s really no need to worry about them. What is important is making sure your air conditioner is clean when you want to get it started again in the spring. Call Affordable Service if you suspect mold growth or rodent colonization in your air conditioner.