Now that the seasons have pretty much turned even in the southern states, it’s high time to consider the state of your furnace (or other heating devices you may have), and how to prepare your air conditioner for the winter.
If you live in the south, you may not have the need to winter-proof your AC, but if last winter in Texas taught us anything, it is that you can never be too prepared. That’s why we reached out to HVAC professionals at Action Air Conditioning, Heating & Solar. They were more than happy to tell us more about the proper way to winterize the air conditioner.
Why Is It Important?
The first question we asked them was whether it was actually that important. The answer was pretty simple – it depends on the weather. If you want to take a gamble, go right ahead. However, if you want to be safe, winterizing your air conditioner really doesn’t take that long and doesn’t cost you anything.
On the other hand, if adverse weather does damage your AC, you may be facing costly repairs that might have easily been avoided. Think of it as your car insurance – you really hope you won’t need it, but you feel a lot safer having it.
Start by Turning the AC Off
If you’re ready to start the process, the first thing you need to do is switch the whole thing off. Generally, if you won’t be using a device (not just your AC) for extended periods of time, it might be prudent to disconnect them from the grid. When it comes to ACs specifically, chances are that they don’t have a traditional plug, but rather a circuit breaker directly in your circuit board.
If your electrical panel is properly labeled, you should have no issues determining which breaker turns the AC off. If, on the other hand, you are not sure, perhaps you should consult an electrician – they can help with this, as well as labeling your circuit board for future reference.
Clean the AC Thoroughly
Now that the device is off, you can start prepping it by cleaning the outdoor unit. The ideal conditions for the outdoor AC unit is to have at least one foot of space from anything else (including your house), as well as nothing covering it (even trees high above). This is because dirt and debris can pile up on the wire mesh covering of the device, restricting the airflow.
However, not everyone can adhere to all of these rules, which is why cleaning the outdoor AC unit really should be a part of your routine – get any leaves, twigs or just plain dirt from it to ensure it can operate at maximum capacity when it is operational.
On the other hand, when it is not running, dirt and especially any kind of moisture or pools of water need to be eliminated.
Get a Dedicated AC Cover
The final step in your winterization process should be covering the unit to further protect it from unwanted elements. Keep in mind that the cover needs to be waterproof and sturdy. Most experts recommend vinyl covers, like the ones made for swimming pools.
These covers have cords which you can (and should tighten) to ensure that no water seeps through. More importantly, though, it will keep small animals like raccoons from hiding inside, as they can cause some damage to your wiring and fins of the AC.
As you can see, winterizing your air conditioner is really not overly complicated, but can benefit you a lot. So take the time – a few hours, while the weather is still fair and winterize your AC.