As the sudden chill of autumn begins to flow through the air, you know winter is not far away. Now’s the time to take a few moments to prep your air conditioner for the off-season. Shutting down your AC as summer drifts away guards it against severe winter weather that could shorten its life. A few simple steps are all you’ll need to prime your air conditioner for maximum efficiency come spring.
As the seasons change, your outdoor air conditioning system becomes a landing spot for fallen leaves and pine cones. This is a handy time to wear your work gloves, remove this debris and gently hose down the outdoor condensing unit. Be sure the outside temperature is adequately above freezing before using the garden hose to clean out the unit. Then, take out any stubborn leaves or twigs that remain stuck in the nooks and crannies and complete a final sweep around the unit. This helps protect against winter winds from whisking debris back into or underneath your air conditioning system.
If you missed hiring an HVAC specialist to conduct seasonal air conditioning maintenance last spring, it’s still not too late! Arrange to have a professional technician conduct an AC tune-up before it is too cold out. This tune-up and inspection includes determining the refrigerant level and testing for leaks, examining and tightening electrical connections, lubricating moving parts and testing the system safety controls, among other tasks. Regular air conditioner maintenance enhances efficiency, extends your unit’s life span and looks for and fixes any minor issues before they grow into expensive problems.
When you’re confident you have used your AC for the last time during the summer, look for the condensing unit’s outdoor power switch. Lift up the protective covering, flip the switch off and secure the lid once more. This simple procedure prevents you from accidentally running the air conditioner during the winter months. Running the AC when the condensing unit is covered with ice may trigger irreparable damage.
Turning off yourair conditioner after the cooling season calls for more than just flicking off a switch. It’s also important to examine the outdoor unit’s condition. Check for cracks, dents, rust or other visible issues. Make sure that all seals and insulation are secure and everything looks in order. If you spot a problem, call a certified specialist to service the air conditioner before the issue becomes an even bigger problem. This prompt measure helps you steer clear of unpleasant surprises when you turn on your air conditioning after its long winter hibernation.
While some homeowners drape their outdoor air conditioning units with a tarp or a commercially available AC cover, this strategy often creates more problems than it solves. Moisture can condense on the unit through the plastic, preventing evaporation and promoting rust or mold proliferation. Mice might even view your covered AC unit as a lovely spot to build a winter den, and also gnaw through essential wiring and create an unwelcome repair bill in the spring.
While a tarp probably isn’t ideal, protecting your AC from falling icicles is still critical to preventing internal damage. The best compromise is to shield the top of the air conditioner with some plywood weighed down with a heavy block or large rock to make sure the wind doesn’t knock it over. Leaving the AC unit’s sides exposed to the winter elements should not cause any problems.
Once your air conditioning system is correctly winterized, you can’t simply stop thinking about your cooling system until you need it next spring. To ensure it stays in good shape, look at your AC about every week or so. Adjust the plywood if necessary and remove any leaves or pine needles caught in the condensing unit. Regular winter care helps avoid any nasty surprises come spring.
Preparing your air conditioning unit for icy and snowy weather may not be the most glamorous task, but the benefits are significant. Not only does it reduce the chances of costly repairs and delays when you want air conditioning next spring, but it also boosts your unit’s efficiency and length of service.
For dependable, skilled assistance with the air conditioning tasks outlined above, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Our team provides top-notch service to help our customers reduce HVAC challenges all year-round. With Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing by your side, you’ll enjoy the satisfaction of understanding your home comfort is in professional hands. To schedule an AC repair or maintenance visit, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing today by calling 866-397-3787. Keep in mind, taking care of your air conditioning unit today helps create a cooler, more comfortable tomorrow!
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