During the offseason when your air conditioner is not in use, many homeowners are tempted to wrap their condenser units – the part of the air conditioner that is located outside – in a tarp. Similarly, there are some individuals in Florida who are dealing with condenser theft and although that may seem strange, it can be prevented. Here are some ways to protect your condenser from both the elements and thieves.
Never Wrap a Condenser
Before going into the best ways to keep this part of your cooling system protected from the elements, it is important to understand that an outdoor condenser should never be wrapped in any kind of tarp or protective sheeting. Steel is very susceptible to rust, and this is even truer when it is wet. No matter how tightly you wrap it or how watertight you believe it is, moisture can still enter through even the tiniest gaps. You might be surprised when you remove that tarp only to find that your relatively new unit is now covered in a layer of rust. This not only decreases its longevity, but it also causes the unit to work harder, decreasing its efficiency.
Beware of Thieves
Condenser units are comprised of many different materials, and some of these are quite valuable to thieves. Some folks steal them in order to resell them; others simply scrap them out and sell the pieces. No matter the reason, purchasing a new unit can be expensive. In fact, even if your homeowner’s insurance covers such theft, such a claim will surely cause your premiums to increase. There is a simple way that you can protect your condenser and deter robbers, and this involves purchasing a locked cage that fits over the unit itself. These are best installed at the time that the concrete slab upon which it rests is being poured, though there are many models that can be easily retrofitted.
Use Plywood Instead
If you want to protect your condenser from debris during the times when it is not in use, then the best way to do this is with a piece of plywood that has been cut to fit over the entire top of the unit. There is no need to cover the portion where the fins are located; these can be cleaned prior to cooling season with a specialized comb that is available in just about any hardware or home store. To do it, simply take your piece of plywood and fit it over the top of the unit. Then, use bricks, cinder blocks or some other heavy object on each of the four corners to hold it down securely. In fact, if you want to keep the unit looking like new, you can even add a coat of car wax – just be sure to avoid the fins as this can decrease efficiency.
Protecting your condenser doesn’t have to be a difficult or a time-consuming job although learning how to do it can certainly save you time and money. Weather and thieves alike aren’t going to go anywhere any time soon, but you can take matters into your own hands and protect your property by following these tips.