As the sharp chill of autumn begins to flow through the air, you know winter is not far away. Now’s the time to set aside a few moments to prepare your air conditioner for the off-season. Shutting down your AC as summer drifts away shields it against extreme winter weather that could shorten its life expectancy. A few basic steps are all it takes to prime your air conditioner for peak efficiency come spring.
As the seasons change, your outdoor air conditioner becomes a landing spot for fallen leaves and pine cones. This is a handy time to don your work gloves, clear away this debris and gently hose down the outdoor condensing unit. Make sure the outside temperature is comfortably above freezing before putting water into the unit. Then, get rid of any tenacious leaves or twigs that remain jammed in the nooks and crannies and complete a final sweep around the unit. This helps stop winter winds from sending debris back into or underneath your AC unit.
If you skipped scheduling regular air conditioning maintenance last spring, it’s still not too late! Arrange to have a certified technician conduct an AC tune-up before it becomes too chilly. This tune-up and inspection includes measuring the refrigerant level and testing for leaks, examining and tightening electrical connections, lubricating moving parts and testing the system safety controls, among other tasks. Scheduled air conditioner maintenance increases efficiency, extends your unit’s life span and looks for and fixes any minor issues before they morph into expensive problems.
When you’re confident you have used your cooling system for the last time this season, find the condensing unit’s outdoor power switch. Lift up the protective lid, flip the switch off and make sure to push the lid down again. This simple move protects you from accidentally running the air conditioner during the winter months. Accidentally turning on the air conditioner when the condensing unit is covered with ice could trigger irreparable damage.
Powering down yourAC after the cooling season involves more than just flicking off a switch. It’s also important to scrutinize the outdoor unit’s condition. Check for cracks, dents, rust or other external issues. Take an extra moment to check that all seals and insulation are secure and everything looks in order. If you identify a problem, call a qualified technician to service the air conditioner before the issue escalates. This prompt measure helps you steer clear of unpleasant surprises when you turn on your AC after its long winter hibernation.
While some homeowners cover their outdoor air conditioning units with a tarp or a commercially available AC cover, this strategy often brings about more problems than it solves. Moisture can condense on the unit through the plastic, preventing evaporation and encouraging rust or mold development. Rats might even view your covered AC unit as a cozy winter den, and also gnaw through critical wiring and leave you with an unwelcome repair bill in the spring.
While a tarp probably isn’t ideal, shielding your AC from falling icicles is still critical to preventing internal damage. The best compromise is to protect the top of the air conditioner with some plywood weighed down with bricks or large rock to make certain the wind doesn’t blow it away. Leaving the air conditioning unit’s sides open to the winter elements should not cause any problems.
Once your outdoor AC unit is properly winterized, you can’t simply ignore your AC until you need it next spring. To make certain it stays in good shape, look at your AC about once a week. Adjust the plywood if needed and remove any leaves or pine needles stuck in the condensing unit. Routine winter care helps avoid any nasty scenarios come spring.
Preparing your AC for winter weather may not be the most glamorous task, but the benefits are immense. Not only does it help you avoid expensive repairs and delays when you are looking to enjoy the air conditioning next spring, but it also encourages your unit’s efficiency and longevity.
For trustworthy, expert assistance with the air conditioning tasks outlined above, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Our team provides superb service to help our customers prevent HVAC trouble all year-round. With Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing by your side, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind of realizing your home comfort is in skilled 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 AC today helps create a cooler, more comfortable tomorrow!
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