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  1. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    171
    Holabr, here is the correct answer. Yes a proper cover is very useful. That is a form-fitting vinyl cover that your local dealer can order. The cover should leave the bottom inch of coil uncovered for air circulation. Aside from keeping out various debris, the cover provides an essential function: ice damage protection. For you southern boys, here is how this works: Snow falls and drifts into coil fins. Temperature increases during the day. Snow melts and wicks between fins. With dense fins, water will NOT simply drain down, especially if fins are dirty. Temperature drops at night. Water freezes. And what happens to water as it freezes? It INCREASES in volume. Put a full bottle of water in the freezer. It will break. Now you want to guess what might happen to the condenser fins?
    All of this assumes the condenser is elevated, so the bottom of the coil doesn't sit buried in snow for 3 months.

    For the fall, a screen will work, but you need something a little more secure than ordinary magnets. If you have access to some really strong, rare-earth magnets, you're in business. Yes the screen will restrict airflow just like a dirty coil will, so you will lose some efficiency. You might want to use a screen with larger "holes" than window screen.

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    manitowoc wisconsin
    Posts
    4,932
    Originally posted by dx
    Holabr, here is the correct answer. Yes a proper cover is very useful. That is a form-fitting vinyl cover that your local dealer can order. The cover should leave the bottom inch of coil uncovered for air circulation. Aside from keeping out various debris, the cover provides an essential function: ice damage protection. For you southern boys, here is how this works: Snow falls and drifts into coil fins. Temperature increases during the day. Snow melts and wicks between fins. With dense fins, water will NOT simply drain down, especially if fins are dirty. Temperature drops at night. Water freezes. And what happens to water as it freezes? It INCREASES in volume. Put a full bottle of water in the freezer. It will break. Now you want to guess what might happen to the condenser fins?
    All of this assumes the condenser is elevated, so the bottom of the coil doesn't sit buried in snow for 3 months.

    For the fall, a screen will work, but you need something a little more secure than ordinary magnets. If you have access to some really strong, rare-earth magnets, you're in business. Yes the screen will restrict airflow just like a dirty coil will, so you will lose some efficiency. You might want to use a screen with larger "holes" than window screen.
    give me a break........I have lived in the snow belt & worked on this stuff for twenty years.I have yet to see an uncovered ac unit damaged from ice other than driving hail or falling icecicles.A vynal cover is a waste of money & time it will not stop large icecicles or last more than a few years in a cold winter environment.Apiece of plywood with a brick on it or a bungee strap to hold it down is a much better cover.......If it gets damaged by hail that is what insurance is for!
    Take your time & do it right!

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    171
    Markwolf, my vinyl cover is 10 years old and looks just like it did new. Cost $40. But hey, plywood and bricks and bungees sound much more elegant. Do you have junk cars sitting on cinder blocks and old refrigerators on the front lawn to complete that upscale look?

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    26
    Dx why bother what it looks like in the middle of winter? you just want to protect the fan blades.

  5. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    1
    http://www.koolkap.com I have used these they work great. It will stop your leaf problem and will keep from rusting your unit out.

  6. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    171
    jp, read my first post again. The point of the cover is to protect the sides (fins) as well as the top. The fins are parallel to promote good airflow for best efficiency. That's why the parallel-fin type coils are better than the ancient finger-type coil fins. If you get icing in the fins, it will distort the fins and you lose efficiency. Yes, I have seen many units with distorted fins from icing.
    Markwolf hasn't seen units damaged. Well, of course he hasn't. How many HOs are going to look for bent fins and call him if the unit is still operating? And no, jp, the fan blades are about the only thing that doesn't need protection. What's going to happen to the blades if left unprotected?
    So if you want to use plywood and build a box around the condenser, be my guest. My customers don't want their backyard to look like Fred Stanford's, winter, summer or otherwise.

    Rum, the koolkap is worse than plywood. In addition to not protecting the sides, it restricts airflow. Notice how the koolkap stands vertical in use. First, put your hand about a foot above the fan of a good unit and move your hand around. Notice how the airflow doesn't go straight up. It disperses out to the sides. This is due to the aerodynamic shape of the fan duct (throat) and helps maximize airflow. Now put your hand with the palm vertical where the koolkap would be. If you feel airflow hitting your hand, the koolkap will restrict airflow.


  7. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    26
    dx your telling me 6 inches of snow sitting on fan blades in the winter time isnt going to hurt them?

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14
    We live in Toronto, Ontario --lot's of snow. Complete Carrier Infinity System installed last year. Came with a great cover for the a/c. I've never seen an a/c unit up here not covered during the winter, so I'm surprised there's so much discussion about the do's and don'ts of covers?

  9. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    171
    jp, yes, I'm telling you 6" of snow won't bother your fan blades. Why do you think it would? What is the issue?

  10. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    manitowoc wisconsin
    Posts
    4,932
    I cannot count how many twenty year old or more units I have taken out of service that looked no different than twenty year old units that were covered.Even the units that were covered a few years back when we had a hard hail storm still looked like someone pounded the coils over with a ballpien hammer.Take what you want from this but I will never cover mine,it just is not needed.condensers are made to be outdoors.
    Take your time & do it right!

  11. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    1,478
    The only benefit I have seen related to covering the a/c unit in the winter is another 40 guaranteed service calls in the spring. You know, reset high pressure switch, question customer, explain that one of their kids may have turned it on briefly in april to circulate some air. AND DON"T GET ME STARTED ON COOL CAPS!


  12. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    1,478
    Sales Promotion (actual) Free outdoor unit cover included with any high efficiency heat pump installation.

  13. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    118
    http://putfile.com/pic.php?pic=7/21107384183.jpg&s=x1

    The new Tranes have a built in hood (picture taken during install of course)

    [Edited by rc_crfan on 07-31-2005 at 08:44 AM]

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