Every year when temperatures begin to drop the need to conduct some routine seasonal chores kicks in for homeowners. Your Fall HVAC maintenance shouldn’t focus on only making sure your heating system is primed to go through. It is equally important to winterize your ac unit.
Make sure your AC unit is ready for its long winter hibernation to help ensure a long operating life for your system, and maximize the likelihood it turns on in the spring without issue.
Do You Have to Winterize Your AC Unit?
Yes, you should. Winterizing your AC Unit is a fairly simple and painless process that will yield numerous long-term benefits.
First and foremost, it’ll help to alleviate wear and tear on your system from the elements.
You can’t stop time, and every system will age, but what you do to take care of it will be one of the biggest factors in your AC unit’s long-term health. Letting water, ice, snow, and other moisture run freely or sit stagnant within your condenser system for months can cause rust, deterioration, and ultimately failure.
Winterizing your AC unit gives you a chance to ensure everything appears in working order long before the start of the next spring.
This is a good time to make sure that no plants or critters have tried to move into your ac unit. You don’t want plants growing into the system all winter or outdoor rodents like mice or voles making it into a home.
Discovering the problem after a whole winter season is going to make it a much bigger potential headache than taking care of it now.
How to Winterize Your AC Unit
Winterizing your unit is a relatively simple step-by-step process. The most you will likely need in terms of gear to properly winterize your ac unit is:
- A cleaning rag
- An AC unit cover (or tarp and bungee cord)
- Foam Pipe Insulation
- Duct Tape
With your equipment in tow, you’re ready to get your AC unit ready for winter.
1. Turn Off Your AC Unit
You’ll want to make sure your AC is off for the season. There’s the switch on your thermostat, but many condenser units also have a manual switch you can trigger as a secondary precaution.
2. Clean Your AC Condenser
Outdoor units can be magnets for dirt, leaves, and other debris. Give your AC a good wipe down and clear out any built-up grime.
This is where you should notice any potential plants or animals looking to make your AC a home, and deal with them accordingly.
3. Cover Your AC
Once cleaned and dry, you’re ready to cover your AC. If you have a genuine AC cover that either came with your unit or you purchased from a hardware store just make sure it fully covers your unit and is secure.
If you’re using a tarp and bungee cord, make sure your tarp is appropriately sized and there are no obvious gaps that let water in.
4. For Attic AC Units
If your ducting and indoor unit are located in an attic space, it is especially important to close all supply and return registers to prevent heated air from migrating into the unconditioned space above.
You will also want to add an anti-freeze solution to your condensate drain trap to prevent pipes from freezing and cracking.
When is the Best Time to Winterize Your AC?
Because everyone’s local environment and ideal comfort levels are different, instead of recommending a specific month or date, we recommend a two-week window of time-based on whenever the last time you run your AC is.
RSC Heating and Air Conditioning is based in Lancaster, PA. In our area, most homeowners will be done turning on their central air units by the end of October. Plan to winterize your ac unit within two to four weeks of the last time you run it for the season.
Once it’s done, you’ll have to remove the cover before you can turn the AC on again.
After reading through this you’d prefer a professional to come and service your AC for winter and your furnace, don’t hesitate to schedule a winter maintenance HVAC call with RSC Heating and Air Conditioning.