Covering Your Air Conditioner Condenser Unit

Add a simple plywood cover for winter protection.

Next Project
Time

An hour or less

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

Free

Introduction

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

Materials Required

  • Bricks
  • Plywood

Protect the A/C Compressor

Though the condenser unit is built for outdoor elements, it can still be damaged by falling icicles and other debris. You don’t need to invest in a waterproof cover. In fact, many manufacturers recommend against it, because it creates a warm space for critters and causes condensation, which can lead to early corrosion.

You shouldn’t wrap your entire air conditioner for the winter.  But you should consider setting a piece of plywood on top of the unit to protect the fan from damage caused by falling icicles. Here are 15 things every homeowner should do before winter.

And see our maintenance guide to learn how to clean your air conditioners in the spring.

Project step-by-step (2)

Step 1

Cover Your Air Conditioner Condenser with Plywood

  • Plywood weighted down with bricks does a good job of protecting your air conditioner condenser in winter.
  • If you want to protect the metal and keep it looking good, give your condenser a coat of car wax before the snow flies.

Covering AC with plywood

Step 2

Don't wrap it!

  • Wrapping your condenser can cause rust.
  • Even when wrapped tightly, your condenser isn't airtight. That means moisture gets trapped under your tarp and condenses on the inside of the unit.
  • Covering an A/C condenser also encourages rodents to move the family into new digs where they're protected from the elements.
    • Pro tip: 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.

Covering AC with a tarp