Getting Your Air Conditioning Unit Ready For Winter

As autumn is approaching, it is important that you start getting your home ready for winter. As you start thinking about preparing your furnace for the cold months ahead, make sure that you don't neglect your air conditioning unit. There are several steps you can take to make sure you preserve your unit well so that it functions properly when you turn it on next year for the first time.

  • Before you do anything to your unit, make sure that you turn off the power. There is usually a circuit switch just for outdoor air conditioning units located somewhere nearby. Typically it will have a lid that covers the circuit made from plastic or metal to protect it from the weather, but that also makes it easier to spot. Make sure the switch is flipped off, and then proceed.
  • Clean the unit by removing any twigs, leaves, or other plants that have grown around it. Next, wash it with a hose or rag to get rid of all the small things on it, like bird poop, dead bugs, dust, etc. that have gathered during the summer.  Make sure that you are somewhat gentle to avoid damaging any fins in the unit and know that water is usually all you need to get it clean.
  • Check the air filter. Change the filter to make sure that you have clean air during the last bit of use. Even if you put a brand new filter in before shutting it down for the winter, realize that you may still need a new one when you turn it on again. Not only do you benefit from clean air with a filter, but the unit runs much more efficiently with a clean, unobstructed path for air to flow.
  • While you may see many air conditioning units covered during the winter months, it is very important to know that most professional service companies discourage using one. Outdoor air conditioning units are made to withstand all kinds of weather, including snow and wind. If you place a cover on the unit, you may be inviting birds and other critters to seek refuge from the weather in there and make homes that cause damage to the unit. If you just can't stand to see your unit uncovered all winter long, make sure that you get a tight fitting cover and wrap ropes or bungee cords tightly around it to prevent larger animals from finding their way under. Wrapping it tight may also help prevent the cover from flying away in a storm.

For more help preparing your unit for the winter, contact an HVAC company, like Shideler Electric, Heating & Cooling.