Winterizing Your Vacaville HVAC System: Why You Need an Air Conditioner Cover

air conditioner cover“Winterizing” is something people do with their cars and their wardrobe, but not often with their air conditioning. It may be less fun than shopping for a winter coat or new boots, but preparing your AC for winter is very important–and simple enough that it could be fun, too! It’s an unfortunate fact that winter weather will bring issues if not prepared for, and we at Bell Bros want to make that preparation as easy as possible.

The place we need to focus is the external AC unit–the part of your air conditioning that sits outside your house. This part is most at risk for weather damage, which makes sense, seeing as it’s outside all year round. In fact, when it comes to winterizing and HVAC system, the external unit is the only part that you need to worry about. That’s good, because it makes winterizing a simple and quick process.

Moisture and Debris

You may not realize it, but one of the biggest hazards to your external HVAC unit in the fall and winter isn’t moisture–it’s debris. Dust and dirt come to mind, of course, but twigs and leaves that fall from trees or bushes are also bad for the unit. That’s a problem that occurs more during fall than any other time of year, and perhaps accounts for the season’s name!

We’re not sure about that, but we are sure that falling debris can destroy an HVAC system over the course of a few years. Debris mixes with water and particulate matter to produce what we very technically call “sludge.” And sludge is no joke. That’s because the exterior AC unit is designed to drain off water. Add some sludge, and the stuff will clog up the drain holes in the unit. Pretty soon it won’t drain at all! Then water builds up and fries the electrical components, rusts out others, and in no time at all your unit could be in need of serious repairs or even replacement.

Bad Solutions

The obvious solution to this problem is to prevent debris (and, to a lesser extent, moisture) from entering the system. That makes perfect sense, but taking things into your own hands doesn’t. We’ve seen a lot of do-it-yourself fixes, from plywood covers to a tarp thrown over the unit in the winter.  These solutions may work temporarily, but they don’t perform nearly as well over time as actual covers. Plywood will limit air flow to the system–causing it to work harder than needed and burn-out sooner. That goes double for plastic tarps. There’s a reason you don’t put your head inside a plastic grocery bag and try to breathe, and it’s the same reason you don’t want a heavy plastic impermeable cover over the external unit.

If you have something like that on your unit right now, remove it immediately. It’s likely hurting more than it’s helping, and you don’t want to be stuck with the repair bill. There is a much better way to achieve the goal of weatherproofing.

Good Solutions

The easiest, best solution to winterizing woes is to get a air conditioner cover installed. You want a real cover, not a do-it-yourself job. If you don’t have a cover yet, you need one soon (especially this time of year). Many companies produce HVAC covers that are designed with the system in mind, taking into account ventilation and air flow. Many of these covers are relatively cheap and easy to install, especially if you have a professional do the job. A professional will also clean the AC unit out if necessary, removing any existing sludge and moisture buildup–not a bad deal! Cover installation is a quick process, and very economical taking into account the potential AC repair you’re avoiding.

We at Bell Brothers install Kool Kap covers; we’ve found they perform the best over the years. Unlike other AC covers, Kool Kaps never need to be removed–they’re weather and UV-resistant (which means they won’t fade and crack in the sun like most plastics). They don’t require storage, either. Another benefit to the Kool Kap cover is that it’s an all-season protection that prevents even moisture from becoming a problem. True, most external AC units are designed with rain and water in mind–but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea to be proactive against the elements. When it comes to winterizing an AC system, a Kool Kap cover is really a one-stop fix that will set you up for winter–for the rest of your HVAC system’s life. So if you’re looking to winterize your HVAC system, Bell Brothers has you covered.