Having an outside air conditioning unit, also known as an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) unit, can be a lifesaver during the hot summer months. However, once the mercury starts to drop, it’s time to consider how to prepare the AC unit for the coming winter months.

Outdoor AC units work by taking the heat absorbed from your home’s air and transferring it a refrigerant. From there, the refrigerant is moved through the AC unit and pumped back into your home, delivering cooler air. The process is then repeated.

Having an outdoor AC unit is beneficial since it provides cool air to your entire home as opposed to a window-mounted unit, which only effectively cools one room. However, because the unit is located outside, special care needs to be taken to prevent seasonal damage during the winter months.

Save yourself the hassle and headache of repairing a damaged AC unit in the spring by taking these steps to ensure it is well prepared for the winter:

Turn Off the AC Circuit

The first thing you should do when preparing your AC unit for winter is to turn off the AC circuit. This switch is located near the unit under a lid. Simply open the lid and switch the unit off.

Turning off the AC circuit will prevent the unit from running unnecessarily during the winter months. A mild winter day is enough for the unit to turn on. If the unit turns on during the winter, even on mild days, it poses the risk of water entering the AC unit and freezing when the temperatures drop.

Clean the AC Unit

Cleaning out the AC unit is an easier task during the late autumn days before the temperatures freeze than trying to attempt it during a spring thaw. Use a hose to clean off bird droppings, bugs, dirt and dust. Be sure to remove any branches, leaves and grass clippings from the unit as well. Allow the AC unit to dry completely.

Inspect the AC Unit

Before covering the AC unit for the winter, check for any cracks or rust in the casing as well as leaks and other irregularities. If you notice any issues that need repair, contact an HVAC expert to have your AC unit fixed. The colder winter months may cause more damage and you may end up facing more extensive and costly repairs in the spring.

Peak Hydronics is capable of installing, servicing and maintaining residential air conditioning units. Contact us to learn how we can service your AC unit.

Insulate Exterior Pipes

Use foam pipe covers to insulate any exterior pipes leading from your home to the AC unit. This will help insulate and protect the pipes from any damage due to freezing.

If your pipes are already insulated, check the insulation. Insulating materials can wear down and degrade over time.

Cover the AC Unit

Covering your AC unit will help to prevent any water, snow or ice from entering and damaging the unit. Use a waterproof cover made of plastic or vinyl. Secure the covering around the unit or purchase a cover that is made to fit over your specific unit. Be sure to check the cover at least once a week to make sure it is secure and that no moisture is entering the unit.

If water does accumulate in the AC unit during the wintertime, it could freeze.

Take Care Of Your AC Unit

Preparing your AC unit for winter is the best step to making sure your unit is ready for next year’s hot summer months.

Peak Hydronics has a full HVAC division and are available 24/7 to handle all your cooling needs. Contact us today!