Mice often find their way into air conditioning units, as the large and warm spaces within these units provide them with a sense of comfort and safety. However, once these unwanted guests take up residence, they can cause significant damage to your A/C system and even gain direct access to your home. Thus, you want to protect AC from rats in the first place.

Generally, a proactive is to maintain a pest-free air conditioner and home through regular annual maintenance conducted by a technician. But that is no guarantee that rats won’t visit your AC at some point.


How to protect AC from rats

How to protect AC from rats

Below are expert tips you can implement to protect AC from rats:

1. Inspect your AC monthly

During the monthly inspection of your air conditioning (A/C) system, look out for potential signs of rat infestation, including:

  • Chewed wires
  • Foul odors (typically musky odors often described as musty, pungent, or ammonia-like)
  • Squeaking noises
  • Presence of rat droppings, urine, and dander
  • Decreased or inefficient cooling performance

If you suspect the presence of rats in your AC, seek assistance from a local professional. They can safely remove the rat from your property and address any damage they may have caused to your A/C system.

2. Ensure that your AC area stays clean

To protect AC from rats and potential infestations, invest resources to maintain a pest-free environment around your air conditioner. Follow these steps:

  • Regularly trim grass, weeds, and branches to minimize hiding places for pests.
  • Remove any sources of moisture or standing water near your A/C unit, as they can attract pests.
  • Ensure that your unit is elevated above ground level and positioned at least two feet away from any vegetation. This prevents pests from using nearby plants as hiding spots or becoming trapped in the A/C.

With these preventive measures, you can create an environment that is less conducive to rat activity and help safeguard your AC from potential infestations.


3. Seal potential rat entry points

Gaps, cracks, and openings in your AC system serve as an invitation for unwelcome pests. I recommend engaging the services of a professional to clean and seal your ducts because a rat can get through a 20 mm hole.

Additionally, consider installing mesh screens on your vents to properly block unwanted rat access throughout the year while maintaining proper airflow when using your air conditioner.

4. Shut off the condenser breaker

Rats often seek out warm areas for nesting, so you can deter them by eliminating the heat source inside your unit. Turn off the condenser breaker during the winter months. When you cut off the power, it gets rid of the warmth that would attract rats, reducing the likelihood of them taking up residence in your AC.

5. Build a protective barrier around the AC unit

Rats are attracted to vegetation, so if your unit is surrounded by bushes or trees, it becomes more enticing for them to investigate. As such, you have to ensure a significant clearance around the unit so that no vegetation is near your unit. You could also use a pet repellant as a deterrent against rats. Apply the repellent on and around the unit to create a barrier that discourages rats from approaching.


Proper maintenance on your outdoor AC unit is often the best way to protect AC from rats since it helps with early detection and removal. If rats have already infested and caused damage to certain AC components, have technicians handle the necessary repairs before it is turned on.

Ultimately, adhere to these suggestions and regularly maintain your air conditioner to reduce the presence of rats.

Read also: chewed wires by rats in attic

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