With the cold weather creeping into the Chicago land area, the last thing on your mind is the air conditioner. Unfortunately, the long hot days of summer are long gone, but if you use a window or wall air conditioner, you could have a problem on your hands. Unless the unit can be removed easily and stored for the winter, you need to create or purchase an air conditioning cover for your unit. If you fail to do so, you could be throwing your hard earned money out the window.
The Importance of an A/C Cover
Window and wall air conditioning units pull air from the outside, cool it, and blow it into the room it is attached to. But, when the unit is not running, there is still a ventilation passageway created by the wall air conditioner. Gusts of wind and cold air during the winter will flow through the vents on your air conditioner. As you run the heating in your home, this cold air will diminish the ability of the furnace to reach the temperature that you have set on the thermostat.
This addition of cold air will force the furnace to run for longer periods of time. The immediate consequence is higher energy bills and wasted energy. The long term consequence is damage to the furnace or boiler from unnecessary over use. These are very extreme consequences that no homeowner has to suffer from if they simply cover and seal the air conditioning unit.
Covering the Air Conditioner
For starters, if the air conditioner can be easily removed from the wall or window, you should place the unit in storage for the winter. However, in many cases this is not possible. What these people need to do is place a cover on both the inside and the outside of the air conditioner. Let’s begin with the inside of the home. The indoor cover should fit snugly onto your air conditioner, and you may have to purchase a cover that is custom fitted to the specific size of your air conditioner. It should be made out of insulation material, and you may want to even consider one that has a reflective surface to radiate the heat in the home back into the main areas instead of through the vents on the air conditioner.
Also, you may want to consider checking the seals around the air conditioning unit. If you can feel cold air seeping in around the air conditioner, you should add caulk or some other sealant material to prevent air leakage. The indoor cover is easier to install and will be the barrier that keeps the majority of the cold air out of your home.
The outdoor cover is an added layer of protection that will keep the wind from ever entering the air conditioner in the first place. If the outdoor portion of the air conditioner can be accessed easily, you should consider adding this cover. Outdoor covers are made out of water proof, wind resistant material and should have an air tight seal to the exterior of the home. This will prevent moisture build-up inside the cover, and keep out the icy winter air. However, there is always a good chance that a strong enough winter storm will tear this cover right off, so you must make sure that the home’s interior is well insulated.
When sealed properly, you will see immediate savings on your next energy bill when compared to years when the units were not covered. But this improvement is not just about saving money, it is also about increasing the comfort in your home. Drafts make your homes comfort unpredictable, and that is something that no home in Chicago should have to deal with.