Table of Contents
- When Should You Use An Air Conditioner Cover For Your Outdoor Unit
- Using Air Conditioner Covers For Window Units
- What to Look for When Buying
- What About Window Units?
- Quick Comparison Chart of the Best Air Conditioner Covers – Outside Units
- Reviews of the 5 Best External Unit Air Conditioner Covers
- Quick Comparison Chart of the Best Air Conditioner Covers – Window Units
- Reviews of the 3 Best Window Unit Air Conditioner Outside Covers
- Reviews of the 3 Best Window Unit Air Conditioner Indoor Covers
Air conditioners, be it a window unit or centrally-installed unit, are subject to wear and tear when exposed to extreme weather conditions and temperatures. Window units are also prone to permit cold air to enter the house, leading to higher utility bills.
In winter, it is difficult to remove and store your window unit air conditioner in the attic. You might also worry about protecting your outdoor unit from the elements. To avoid such maintenance issues and ensure that your air conditioner stays intact for the summer, we have gathered information, reviews, pros and cons about using an air conditioner cover.
This article would be most useful to those who see value in using a cover for the air conditioner during times when it is not in use. Though your air conditioning unit is built to bear and deal with the winter conditions, we are attempting to share the most appropriate circumstances when you need to choose an air conditioning cover.
When Should You Use An Air Conditioner Cover For Your Outdoor Unit
As we mentioned earlier, your outdoor air conditioner unit is already designed to withstand the extreme conditions of winter, but you may want to consider using a cover during the maintenance season. This saves your air conditioner from extreme weather.
When we say extreme weather, we are not just talking about snowy winters, but something more. If you are residing in those cold northern states of the US or Canada, then you may consider using a cover. If your region is prone to hail storm, blizzards, or any other unpredictable winter calamity, then you would prefer using an air conditioner cover.
But there’s also risks when you choose to cover your outdoor unit:
Rodent and pest infestation
Growth of Mold and Mildew
Seepage of moisture causing the air conditioner to rust
Dirt settled over time could be sucked in while in use.
We don’t recommend using a cover all winter long - that brings risk, and your unit doesn’t need the protection. Save it and install it when those rough patches are coming.
Using Air Conditioner Covers For Window Units
For those using a window air conditioner in the northern states of USA, for instance someone in Chicago would have to consider the option of using an air conditioner cover. It’s always better to remove the unit, but this might not always be possible.
The simple frame that is a part of the external unit cannot be simply fitted and left outdoors. It not only rusts, but has the threat of losing its functionality. Most often, a quilted insulated cover for the external unit is recommended.
Some other material you should consider to keep the heat from escaping through the air conditioner are styrofoam, silicon caulking and rolls of insulation.
Besides protecting the unit itself, you want to protect your wallet. During cold winters heat escapes through the accordion extension panels on the A/C and the chassis and cold air infiltrates your home.
What to Look for When Buying
Air conditioner covers help in preserving your air conditioner for the next hot season,so you want to purchase a cover that ensures durability and safety. Here are some factors that we have listed down for you, that would help in making a smart purchase decision.
Since it is recommended to use a cover to save your air conditioner from extreme cold winter disasters, ensure that it is waterproof. It should not allow water to settle and seep into the A/C. This helps in keeping away moisture, mold and mildew.
Easy to install
Look for installation instructions while purchasing a cover. Review them before you make a purchase decision.
Aerated and Porous
While you need to look for an intact cover, it should also be well-aerated and have enough porous material to allow air to flow in and out. This helps in keeping away any stench that can occur.
The warranty of the cover speaks for this. Yes, your cover needs to come with a warranty period stating that it is durable for a minimal period. A good warranty would last for a minimum of 2 years.
This is most important for window units. Based on the region you live in, you would sometimes need insulated cover to keep away the cold. Check if covers come with this feature.
What About Window Units?
In case of air conditioners with a window unit, we recommend that the external unit be removed. There is every possibility of the cold air seeping through panels into the house. This would just make your winters more cold.
If you can’t remove it, you need to be sure it’s insulated and protected.
The part of the unit facing the inside of your house needs to be sealed thoroughly on all sides. Otherwise, it’s like leaving the window open. Seal the gaps where the unit and extension panels meet the interior frame and window sash with weather stripping; also seal around and behind the inside grill if needed.
If you just had a rainy season prior to sealing the window unit, ensure that you allow the rainwater to drain out first - you don’t want water or moisture sealed inside.
Be sure to use a well-quilted and insulated air conditioner cover on the unit.
You might also want to use a cover on the larger, outdoor part of the unit. An external air conditioner cover needs to cover all five faces of the external unit. It should keep water, moisture and humidity away.
Quick Comparison Chart of the Best Air Conditioner Covers – Outside Units
Reviews of the 5 Best External Unit Air Conditioner Covers
Checking around for the best AC covers is time-consuming and confusing. We made that job easy for you, by listing some of the most bought and appreciated covers in the market.
Unlike a fabric-stitched cover, the AC Defender is a sturdy mesh cover that is well aerated, waterproof, weather resistant and keeps dirt from entering the panel grille of the external unit. The cover helps you keep away moisture and prevent from any corrosion.
It comes with bungee cords that can extend around the sides of the unit, but you may want to double-check this aspect based on your unit’s size.
This is great if you’re concerned about keeping dry leaves from entering the unit. It is greater for larger leaves, although smaller ones might still find their way inside. This product is long-lasting and backed up by a 6-year warranty.
CoverMates offers this cover made of thick 12–gauge commercial vinyl and a mesh vent for breathability. They also come with velcro slits on the back for a custom fit around hoses.
This cover has built-in vents with flaps to keep things like rain, dirt, and leaves from getting inside. These vents also help with air circulation, preventing moisture from building up and causing rust or mildew.
Though this product generally works well, it’s good to be aware that it does not cover the bottom of the unit where the tube is situated.
The manufacturer offers this in 14 different sizes and you should be careful while ordering to check the size of your unit. You should choose a cover that is at least 2 inches bigger than your unit size. For instance, if your unit measures 23”x23”, you’ll want the 25”x25” cover.
This Classic Accessories product is made from “Gardelle One”, a durable woven polyester fabric with an added UV-stabilized coating. The water-resistant backing keeps your air conditioner dry. Elastic hem cords and a buckle help you attach it for a snug fit.
The reinforced padded handles make removal easy. Air vents keep weather out while providing maximum ventilation and minimum condensation. It is available both in cylindrical and cuboidal shapes.
It has a 4-year replacement warranty, and a “limited lifetime” guarantee - which of course has its limits, even on the lifetime.
Buckling the straps in place can get tricky at times. Also, the velcro placement may not suit all A/C models.
If you are purchasing an A/C cover because you want to protect your unit from hail storms and wind, then this is the one! This is made of 400D Oxford Polyester waterproof fabric. It’s water resistant and tear resistant. It’s also coated with a UV protective material. It should protect your air conditioning unit from dust, dirt, rain, wind, sun, snow, birds, tree leaves, mold buildup.
The adjustable Velcro side opening fits air conditioners with pipes and hoses. It comes with a drawstring cord with a cord lock that tightens the cover around air conditioner for a snug, secure fit. It does a good job of keeping your air conditioner protected during wind and storms.
The material gets high praise for its quality and the protection it affords.
AmazonBasics presents another cover made of polyester fabric that is water resistant. It’s tough enough to withstand windy days. Some good features you can look forward to are its click-close straps and tough interlocking seams that add strength and durability to the cover. It will keep your AC unit intact during severe weather..
Quick Comparison Chart of the Best Air Conditioner Covers – Window Units
Reviews of the 3 Best Window Unit Air Conditioner Outside Covers
Window air conditioners work and are designed differently when compared to central air conditioners. Here’s some of the best window unit air conditioner covers.
This BNYD cover is made of heavy-duty reinforced polyethylene that comes with an elastic strap to secure it. It covers vents and access points between uses to stop drafts, conserve energy, and keeps your unit free of dust, moisture, and insects during the off-season. It's durable and mildew and crack resistant. This is a better option for rainy regions like Washington DC rather than the far northern areas with more bitter winters. If you are in an area that’s consistently windy, this might not be the best choice.
A/C Safe makes this easy-to-install cover which is designed to stop cold air drafs through air conditioners during cold months.
While removal of your unit is still a better option, this cover does help minimize the negative effects of leaving it in. It is made of heavy-duty automotive-grade vinyl with a 100% fleece liner. It is easily washable and highly resistant to sunlight, mold, mildew, moisture and temperature extremes. It stands up to sub-zero temperatures, rain, ice, snow wind and sunlight.
Like many other covers it does not cover the bottom.
This cover from Duck is easy to stow and carry because it is made of heavy duty plastic.
This isn’t really what you need for harsh northern winters. But if you’re in a zone where it doe cool off during winter and you want protection from drafts, rain and debris, it’s a great product.
It can help seal out rain, dirt, leaves, moisture and debris. Securing straps and fasteners are included to keep cover secure throughout the season.
Reviews of the 3 Best Window Unit Air Conditioner Indoor Covers
You may also want protection for the inside of your window unit. This provides further insulation, and of course if you’re not on the ground floor, you might not be able to cover the outside. Here are some options to help keep the money from flying out the winter.
This Encraft cover helps prevent drafts through most window-mounted or through-wall room air conditioners. These covers are washable and are made of poly/cotton fabric. It has a windblock insulating liner, and a roll of removable tape to secure and seal the windblock liner. It’s also appreciated for its aesthetic appeal, not just its effectiveness.
This double-insulated cover by Laminet helps you keep the heat inside and not allow it to escape through the A/C unit. It is washable and has a windblock foam liner. Keep in mind that this and other indoor covers always come with a challenge of not fitting perfect. We recommend choosing a size that is slightly larger than your unit to be on the safe side.
This Twin DraftGuard blocks hot or cold drafts and makes your home more energy efficient. It is well-quilted and is easy to wash. It’s easy to secure onto the unit by using the adjustable drawstrings provided by the manufacturer.
The drawstrings don’t have a huge range though, so it’s important to try to size your unit as best you can.
The needs for external air conditioning units and window units vary. Again, we recommend removing window units when possible. Also, only use covers for external units when necessary. Be sure to invest in a cover that serves a purpose beyond looking good, too. Covers can help prolong the life of your unit and keep your utility bills down when used appropriately.