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How To Protect Your Outside Air Conditioning Unit For Winter

Outside air conditioning units are supposed to be tough to withstand extreme weather conditions. However, just like humans, animals and plants, they will benefit from some protection during harsh winter weather. Winterizing your outside air conditioning unit will minimize the pressure the unit has to go through. It will not cost much, but preparing your air conditioner for winter will give you plenty of savings over time.

Things You Can do to Prepare Your Outside AC Unit For the Cooler Months

outside air conditioning unit

Turn the exterior power off

Your central air conditioning unit has an exterior circuit. It controls the power that runs within the unit. Look for the box installed at the side of your house close to the unit. Find the red-colored circuit handle and pull it out. Reinsert it in the slot upside down and close the box.

This can prevent electrocution when there’s work to be done on the outside air conditioning unit. Likewise, it can prevent damage to the unit if the air conditioner is turned on during winter. An accidental turning on of the A/C will cause the unit to use water to provide cool air. The condenser within the A/C can be damaged if the said water is exposed to near-freezing temperature.

See to it that the outside of the air conditioning unit is clean

It is not safe to leave anything around the unit that may cause damage to your outside A/C unit through the winter months. If there are plants around it, make sure that you trim overhanging branches or those that grow too close to the unit. Remove grass and leaves that can be blown into the unit. Get rid of bugs and dirt that have accumulated on the condensing coils and fan blades with a high-pressure water hose. Ensure that you allow the unit to dry completely.

Get a professional to check the outside air conditioning unit for damage or cracks. Contact a professional A/C technician from Fischer to inspect your outside air conditioning unit. It is best to have this done a few months before winter, so any needed repairs or part replacement can be done immediately. The unit may have developed rust that needs to be removed or there might be cracks that must be sealed. Pipes can be covered with foam for added protection. All the exposed pipes should have foam pipe covers that cover the length of the pipes completely. They provide insulation, protecting them when the temperature is freezing. Ensure that the foam will not be move out of place by securing them with duct tape.

outside air conditioning unit with water proof cover

Put a Waterproof Cover on The A/C Unit

Some people do not subscribe to this idea, but others think that it does help the unit. While the unit itself is made to withstand different climatic conditions, it can do with some additional protection. It can improve its resistance against harsh winter conditions and at best, extend the life of your unit. An outside air conditioning unit cover is available commercially. To ensure that moisture cannot be trapped underneath the unit, which can promote mold growth, allow about a foot of exposed coil. This will facilitate air circulation through the unit’s exterior throughout the winter.

If you do not have a ready-made vinyl or plastic cover, a piece of plywood will also do. It will be a good idea if it is a bit larger than the top of the unit. It will protect the A/C from falling ice, keep debris and leaves away and at the same time, allow the unit to breathe. Covering the top also ensures that the risk of corrosion due to trapped moisture and the growth of mold are prevented. See to it that you secure whatever material you use to wrap and cover your outside air conditioning unit to prevent it from being blown away should there be strong winds.

Continue Monitoring The A/C Unit Throughout Winter

To see to it that you’ll have a perfectly working air conditioning unit after winter, continue to check it during winter. Remove ice, water and snow that pile up on top of the unit, so its steel frame is not strained by the weight. Check underneath to remove dead grass, twigs, leaves and other debris that may have been blown under the unit.

Why protect your outside A/C unit

During the hot days of summer, your outside air conditioning unit or the HVAC unit keeps you comfortable. It is but natural that you protect it against the elements at the first sign that winter is coming. Winterizing the unit gives it a layer of protection that can extend its life as well as prevent damage such as the buildup of rust.

Just because you do not need your cooling system in winter does not mean that you have to forget about it. It will be inactive for several months so it is important to protect your cooling system’s outdoor components. This means taking care of the system’s condenser coils and compressor. If you leave them exposed to winter weather, you’ll have a malfunctioning air conditioning unit during summer.

Sealing off your outdoor air conditioning unit ensures that no pets, insects and wild animals looking for a place to take shelter during winter can find their way into the cabinet of the outdoor unit and to the condenser coils and compressor. In the small, enclosed space, these creatures can gnaw on wiring, defecate and urinate on electronic components. They could bring bedding and nesting materials into the space and create fire hazards.

There are several possible entrances into the outdoor unit where pests can crawl through so you have to make a thorough inspection. Do not forget to look at the underside of the unit. Use steel wool to seal off any gaps or holes you find so that rodents cannot enter.

Covering your outdoor air conditioning unit does not mean you have to seal it completely. Modern air conditioning systems are built to withstand snow and rain. You are protecting your outdoor unit to protect its top and remove the possibility of pests making your outdoor unit their winter home. The leaves, nuts and seeds that are scattered during the fall can provide food for pests in winter.

Pests and debris that are caught inside the unit can cause moisture to collect and collected moisture is one of the main causes of corrosion. Collected debris may also blow your outside air conditioning system’s built in moisture drainage.

Do remember that you must not fully cover your outdoor unit or you’ll be asking for trouble. Protect the pipes but ensure that your cover only comes down to the side of the side for around six inches. This will insure that air can still freely circulate and dry any moisture that may be trapped inside.

One additional note to remember. Remove debris around the unit and cut the plants and grass that grow around it. However, you should not completely remove them to expose bare ground as this can cause the soil to erode. If this happens the unit’s foundation can shift. See to it that you carefully inspect the platform. If it has shifted, call Fischer Heating right away to restore it to a level position.

 Schedule outside air conditioning unit maintenance before winter. It is better to do it early than be caught unawares. The professional and licensed air conditioning technicians at Fischer are ready to serve you. Call 206-202-9499 or 425-406-3050 to make an appointment.

Image Copyright: inhabitant / 123RF Stock Photo


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