The outdoor portion of your HVAC system can be very durable and resistant to outside weather conditions, but it might still be a good idea to have an HVAC cover, especially during the winter. While you can't have the cover on over the HVAC system during the summer when you're running it, you should cover it when it is not in use.
Protect the Unit From Dirt and Debris
One of the advantages of having a cover is that it will protect your HVAC unit from falling debris, sticks, leaves and rocks. These items can cause damage to your HVAC system and can also block airflow, which can cause the HVAC system to overheat.
Additionally, the HVAC system can have a buildup of dirt. This can lead to the HVAC system wearing out more quickly. However, if you cover the outdoor unit, this is less likely to happen.
Don't Allow Snow to Accumulate
You don't want snow and ice to accumulate on your HVAC system. This can lead to water damage as the snow accumulates. Water and snow can thaw and freeze against the coils.
Purchase the Right Cover
While covers are a great idea, you'll want to make sure that you purchase the right HVAC cover. You'll want to use a cover that is made with breathable materials and venting. You will not want moisture to become trapped inside the cover because this can lead to the HVAC system corroding.
When there isn't a lot of airflow, pests are more likely to build nests inside the cover. They can cause damage to your HVAC outdoor unit by chewing on wires and excreting substances that can corrode the unit. Turn to an HVAC dealer to find a good cover for your system.
Don't Run the HVAC Unit While Covered
Make sure to have a breaker switch that turns your HVAC system off so that you do not accidentally turn it on when you have the cover on. You can easily break an HVAC unit if it's covered since the unit needs to be able to release heat. Also, make sure to clean around the HVAC unit and clean the cover. Otherwise, dirt and debris might still find its way onto the unit.
If you're not sure about the right cover for your HVAC system, consider consulting with a dealer while you are shopping for a new HVAC unit. They might have a cover they could recommend that would be ideal for your HVAC system.