As the crisp chill of autumn begins permeating the air, you know winter isn’t far behind. Now’s the time to spare a few moments to prepare your air conditioner for the off-season. Shutting down your AC as summer wanes safeguards it against harsh winter weather that could shorten its life span. A few simple steps are all it takes to prime your air conditioner for maximum efficiency come spring.
As the seasons change, your outdoor AC unit becomes a landing spot for fallen leaves and pine cones. This is the ideal time to don your work gloves, clear away this debris and gently hose down the outdoor condensing unit. Ensure the outside temperature is comfortably above freezing before dousing the unit. Then, remove any stubborn leaves or twigs that remain nestled in the nooks and crannies and perform a final sweep around the unit. This helps prevent winter winds from whisking debris back into or underneath your AC unit.
If you missed scheduling 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 gets too cold out. This tune-up and inspection includes measuring the refrigerant level and testing for leaks, checking and tightening electrical connections, lubricating moving parts and testing the system safety controls, among other tasks. Routine air conditioner maintenance enhances efficiency, extends your unit’s life span and catches minor issues before they morph into expensive problems.
When you’re confident you have used your air conditioner for the last time this season, locate the condensing unit’s exterior power switch. Open the protective lid, flip the switch off and secure the lid once more. This straightforward action prevents you from accidentally activating the air conditioner during the winter months. An unintended switch to cooling mode when the condensing unit is covered with ice could cause irreversible damage.
Shutting down yourair conditioner after the cooling season requires more than just flicking off a switch. It’s also important to scrutinize the outdoor unit’s condition. Look out for cracks, dents, rust or other external issues. Double-check that all seals and insulation are secure and everything appears in order. If you spot a problem, call a professional to service the air conditioner before the issue escalates. This preemptive action helps you avoid unpleasant surprises when you power on your AC after its long winter hibernation.
While some homeowners drape their outdoor air conditioning units with a tarp or a commercially available AC cover, this tactic often creates more problems than it solves. Moisture can condense on the unit through the plastic, preventing evaporation and promoting rust or mold growth. Rodents might even view your covered AC unit as a cozy winter den, and also gnaw through crucial wiring and provide you with an unwelcome repair bill in the spring.
Despite all this, 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 plywood weighed down with a brick or large rock to ensure the wind doesn’t knock it over. Leaving the AC unit’s sides exposed to the winter elements should not cause any harm.
Once your air conditioner is properly winterized, you can’t simply forget about it until you need it next spring. To ensure it stays in good shape, glance at your AC about once a week. Adjust the plywood if required and remove any leaves or pine needles embedded in the condensing unit. Regular winter care helps prevent any nasty surprises come spring.
Preparing your air conditioner for winter weather may not be the most glamorous task, but the benefits are significant. Not only does it prevent costly repairs and delays when you want air conditioning next spring, but it also promotes your unit’s efficiency and longevity.
For reliable, expert assistance with the air conditioning tasks outlined above, turn to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Our team provides top-notch service to help our customers avoid HVAC trouble all year-round. With Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing by your side, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind of knowing your home comfort is in highly capable hands. To schedule an AC repair or maintenance visit, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing today by calling 866-397-3787. Remember, taking care of your air conditioner today helps create a cooler, more comfortable tomorrow!
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