Winter is in full swing, which means your AC unit isn't on your mind. Air conditioners sit idle during the winter months in regions that experience cold weather.

Many homeowners think that by adding a cover to their outdoor compressor they are protecting their AC system against damage during the winter. The fact of the matter is that covering your AC unit during the winter might actually cause more harm than good.

1. Prevent Moisture Damage

One of the primary reasons homeowners cover their residential AC compressors is to shield them from the snow. The belief is that moisture from the snow can get into the compressor and cause vital components to rust.

A cover actually has the potential to trap moisture created by humidity underneath the cover. This humidity-related moisture can actually accelerate damage to your compressor. Leaving the compressor uncovered will allow air to circulate through the unit to help prevent potential moisture buildup caused by trapped humidity.

2. Eliminate Rodent Problems

Another reason you want to keep your AC compressor uncovered during the winter is to eliminate any rodent activity that might plague your AC system. A covered compressor can act as a safe haven for all types of pests. Rodents will see the cover as protection against the winter weather, and they will take up residence inside your compressor.

Mice and rats can gnaw through tubes and wires inside the condenser, leaving you with a hefty repair bill in the spring. By leaving your compressor uncovered, you are not creating a place of shelter within your compressor unit.

3. Rely on Durable Construction

Covering your AC compressor when winter weather hits isn't necessary because your unit is capable of withstanding most anything Mother Nature can throw at it. Manufacturers know that residential compressors will be installed outdoors.

The materials that are used to construct compressors are durable enough to withstand exposure to the elements without sustaining any serious damage. No cover is necessary to protect your AC compressor since your compressor unit is built with exposure to the outdoors in mind.

The debate over whether or not covering an AC compressor unit during the winter months is a necessity can be confusing. You don't need to rush out and buy a cover for your compressor this winter. You may find that your unit stays in better condition and works more efficiently when left uncovered in winter weather.