It’s hard to imagine winter with the kind of summer we’ve had, but you know it’s on the way. Before you get too far into the crisp, fall air, you need to take a few steps to winterize your AC unit. A little work now will help to ensure that your AC is still in great condition once the spring thaw arrives.
1. Choose the Right Time
You know how it goes. You spend a week or two occasionally running the air conditioning before you turn it off for good. If you shut down your AC too early, you may end up with a stray 85-degree day that makes you feel miserable. If you wait too long, you run the risk of damage. A good general rule for winterizing is to wait until you haven’t used the AC for several days, but well in advance of the first hard freeze.
2. Clear Debris
Your AC unit is designed to last through a heavy winter, but it has little protection against the fall leaves. Dirt and leaves get stuck in the fins and make it harder for the machine to function in spring. Leaves plus melting snow or ice creates muck that may rust components if it’s left around too long. Instead, brush off the debris periodically throughout the fall. Turn off the power and give it a good spray-down with the hose once before you roll up the hoses for winter.
3. Protect as Needed
In most cases, you can leave your AC unit on its own during the winter with little worry. If you must add some protection for your own peace of mind, be sure to keep it simple. People who live in areas with lots of accumulating snow or ice can benefit from putting a piece of plywood on top of the unit, with a brick to help keep it in place.
The machine needs airflow to prevent rust. If you want to use a cover, make sure it’s specifically made for an AC unit, not just a piece of plastic or tarp. After a major snowstorm, gently brush snow off the equipment. Never use a sharp tool to gouge ice away from the unit, as this could cause serious damage.
4. Shut Off Power
Once you’ve completed these tasks, you’re ready to shut it down. Find the circuit dedicated to the air conditioner and shut it off. Lack of power prevents the machine from turning on accidentally during the winter. This is important because the AC unit generates condensation that flows through a pipeline that’s partially exposed. If you run it during the winter, that pipe could freeze and break, requiring expensive repairs.
It can often feels like you have a huge list of things to do before the coming winter. Fortunately, getting your AC ready is a snap, with help from Master Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. To keep your home’s HVAC running great in any season, contact us today.
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