Should You Cover Your Outdoor Unit on Your HVAC System for Winter?

Snowy yard with the outdoor unit covered with snow

Cover Your Outdoor Unit?

Many property owners are unsure if there are any precautions that they need to take with their heating and cooling systems to make sure they stay in good condition during colder months.

For our customer base here in the Savannah area, the answer is likely no. You probably don’t have to cover up your heater or AC before wintertime.

However, if you’re reading this and are not located in Savannah Ga or the Pooler area, there are two exceptions where you may want to consider it…

Snow covered outdoor unit

Ice & Snow covering an outdoor HVAC unit

  1. If the location where you live experiences snow and cold weather. During storms, icicles can fall off the roof and into the condenser unit. This can result in breaking fan blades and causing you to need heating repairs or air conditioner repairs. Service Emperor HVAC & Refrigeration received many calls because of this during the major freeze a few years back. In these cases, put plywood over your unit to cover it, as long as it is not a heatpump unit. The plywood will cause the system to malfunction due to a lack of airflow. If we are going to have freezing rain for one night, then you can put the plywood over your heatpump. This must be temporary and you will need to switch your thermostat over to emergency heat.
  2. If you have a straight cool system with electric heat or a gas furnace, you may want to cover it up to prevent leaves from falling into it or snow freezing and expanding and causing a leak.

One thing that we would caution you on, is building a structure over your outdoor unit. This will typically do more harm than good because it will force the hot air from the top of the unit back down into the coils and then the result is several nuisance issues.

Summary

So, if you own a property in or around Savannah, chances are you don’t have to cover your outdoor unit. The exceptions are unusually cold whether or depending on what kind of heater you have. If for any reason, something happens to your unit during the winter, you can always call the team at IceBound for professional heating or air conditioner service.