When preparing for winter, we should not forget about our air conditioning units especially if it’s a split system. This consists of an interior (the cooler and fan) and exterior unit (the compressor and condenser). The exterior unit is vulnerable to weather changes and should, therefore, get regular checks.
Today’s split system ACs usually have a reverse cycle function. This means the refrigerant can also warm the air that flows into a room, increasing the interior temperature. According to the technicians at Conduct Air Conditioning, the lack of ductwork minimises energy loss, meaning a room gets warm/cool air fast. With split AC’s, you can also adjust the air temperature in each room: a flexibility made possible by its two-unit setup. Unfortunately, there are also cons.
Problems: Rodents, Rust, Frozen Wiring
Compressors have small vents where air passes through. In winter, when residents change the AC setting to heating, the compressor becomes a very attractive heat source for critters and small animals. Insects can jam electrical wirings, but rodents can make an even bigger damage with their sharp teeth and burrowing habit.
Covering the unit may seem like the logical solution, but it can only make the AC more inviting to rodents (the cover will provide shelter in addition to the heat). Besides, covering the entire unit will generate humidity within its confines. Factor in temperatures below zero and you might find your compressor coils rusted and frozen, to boot.
Solution: Where Do You Live?
The best solution would be finding the middle ground, and this depends largely on where you live. If you live in Florida where snowfall makes the news, you don’t need to cover your AC. If you live in Wisconsin and Michigan where snowfall is heavy, lay a piece of plywood on top of your AC. This will block falling snow without giving critters shelter.
Reverse cycle split AC’s are life savers, but they can also be problem magnets in winter. Just keep a close eye on them and consider the surrounding conditions when evaluating the need for AC covers.