How To Easily Winterize Your Air Conditioner

After months of sweltering summer temperatures, it's always a relief when the first cool days of autumn arrive and it's time to break out the sweaters and hot cocoa. But before you do, don't forget about the machine that kept you cool throughout the hot months. Winterizing your air conditioning unit is an important part of preparing for the cold months ahead and also ensuring that when the hot months arrive next year, your AC is going to fire right up. Luckily, it's pretty easy to do.  

Clean the Unit and Its Surroundings

As long as the cool air is pumping through the vents inside the house during the summer, we usually don't pay too much attention to what's happening outside. But before you switch the unit off for the winter, step outside. Remove any large debris that has gathered around the unit or weeds that have grown around it. Sometimes pollen and organic matter can gather on the coils. You can remove it easily. First, turn off the power to the unit, usually located in the small electrical box attached to the house. Second, you can buy brushes specifically made for removing debris from air conditioner coils or just use a stiff-bristled hand brush to scrape off the built up dust. Another option is coil-cleaning foam, sold in an aerosol can. Simply spray it on the coils, let it foam up, and then spray it all down with the garden hose.  

Don't Use a Cover

A common misconception with air conditioning unit is that they should be completely covered to protect them from harsh winter conditions. In actuality, modern AC units are built to withstand rain and snow. If you put a cover around the whole unit, you might only succeed in trapping moisture inside where mold can grow or creating a nice warm home for rodents or other animals. One thing you can do is put a piece of heavy plywood on top of the unit to keep leaves, icicles, or other debris from falling through the top. That will ensure that the sides are exposed and ventilated so no moisture is trapped inside.  

Change the Filter

The final step happens inside the house. Once you've cleaned up around the unit, make sure to change out the filter on the inside HVAC unit located in your utility room. If you don't have a new filter on hand, jot down the size. Most home improvement stores carry a variety of furnace filters, starting with the cheapest, most basic filters all the way up to the higher-priced hypoallergenic filters (which are great if you have pets or allergy sufferers in your house). Most experts recommend replacing the filters every three months. If you get into the habit of doing it whenever you winterize your AC or when you prep it for summer, you'll be off to a great start.

If you have any questions about how to winterize your air conditioner, contact a professional like those from Air Around The Clock for assistance.