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Covering Your Air Conditioner Condenser Unit

Add a simple plywood cover for winter protection.

FH08NOV_COVAIR_01-2Family Handyman
Cover your air conditioner condenser with plywood for the winter. If you wrap it with plastic, it'll rust.

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Skip the store-bought cover or wrapping it in a tarp. Watch this video to find out why, and what’s the best way to protect your condenser unit during winter.


Cover your air conditioner condenser with plywood

Outside Air Conditioner Cover: Plywood cover

Plywood weighted down with bricks does a good job of protecting your air conditioner condenser in winter.

Don’t wrap it!

Wrapping your condenser can cause rust.

Many homeowners are tempted to wrap their air conditioner condensers (the outside unit) to protect them over the winter. But wrapping an A/C condenser is never a good idea. Steel rusts, and wet steel rusts even more. Even when wrapped tightly, your condenser isn’t airtight. So moisture gets trapped under your tarp and condenses on the inside of the unit. The moisture on your neighbor’s condenser is free to evaporate.

Covering an A/C condenser also encourages rodents to move the family into new digs where they’re protected from the elements. Once they’re settled in, they’ll gnaw on the compressor wiring and insulation. Come spring, you’ll have a stinky cleanup, a rusty A/C condenser and a hefty bill for rewiring.

If you want to protect the unit from falling icicles, just place a piece of plywood over the fan guard and weight it down with bricks. If you want to protect the metal and keep it looking good, give your condenser a coat of car wax before the snow flies.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Bricks
  • Plywood