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Should I Cover My Outdoor AC Unit During the Winter?

Serving Families Throughout Dallas
snow starting to fall on ac unit

As winter approaches, many homeowners in Texas wonder if they should cover their outdoor AC units. With the unpredictable temperature changes and occasional snow in parts of Texas, it's understandable to want to protect your investment. However, covering your outdoor AC unit during the winter is unnecessary and can cause more harm than good.

Reasons Why Covering Your Outdoor AC Unit is Not Necessary

There are a few reasons why covering your outdoor AC unit during the winter is not necessary in Texas:

  • Mild Winters: In most parts of Texas, winter temperatures rarely drop well below freezing for extended periods ("extended" being the key word here). This means that your outdoor AC unit is not at risk of damage from extreme cold.

  • Designed to Withstand Weather: Outdoor AC units are built to withstand various weather conditions, including snow and frost. They have been designed to be durable and able to function in nearly all types of weather.

  • Condensation Build-Up: Covering your outdoor AC unit during the winter can trap moisture inside, leading to condensation build-up. This can cause rust and corrosion, which can damage the unit's components.

Potential Harm of Covering Your Outdoor AC Unit

Not only is covering your outdoor AC unit during the winter unnecessary, but it can also cause harm to your unit. Here are a few potential hazards:

  • Restricted Airflow: Covering your outdoor AC unit can restrict the airflow and ventilation, which can lead to moisture build-up and mold growth.

  • Pest Infestation: A covered AC unit can attract pests looking for a warm place to nest during the winter. This can cause damage to your unit and create potential health hazards.

If you own an air-source heat pump, covering the outdoor unit at any time of year can be disastrous. Heat pumps need airflow to function correctly, whether cooling or heating a home, and covering it can cause the unit to overheat and malfunction.

Is There a Time When I Should Cover My AC Unit?

You may want to cover your AC unit with a secured, weatherproof tarp to protect it during particularly fierce storms, where there is likely to be debris flying around. However, make sure to remove the cover as soon as the storm has passed to avoid any potential harm.

How Can I Protect My Outdoor AC Unit During Winter?

Instead of covering your outdoor AC unit during the winter, here are some simple steps you can take to protect it:

  • Regular Maintenance: Schedule regular maintenance for your HVAC system, including your outdoor AC unit. This will ensure that it is in good working condition and can withstand the winter weather.

  • Clean Surrounding Area: Keep the area around your outdoor AC unit clean and free of debris. This will prevent any blockages or obstructions to airflow.

  • Monitor for Icing: Check your outdoor AC unit regularly for any signs of ice buildup (layers upon layers of ice). If you notice ice forming, you can gently remove it by pouring warm water over the unit. Never scrape ice off your unit.


Covering your outdoor AC unit during the winter in Texas is not necessary and can even cause more harm than good. Instead, focus on regular maintenance and keeping the area around your unit clean to protect it from any potential damage. Trust in the durability and design of your outdoor AC unit to withstand the winter weather in Texas. If you have any concerns or notice any issues with your unit, you can always consult with a professional HVAC technician from Rescue Air and Plumbing for advice and assistance. Stay warm this winter and keep your AC unit uncovered!