As the summer fades away and fall quickly brings more winter-like weather, you may be wondering if your home owning responsibilities extend to doing something for your AC unit's winter survival. Having depended on it all summer for cooling air, it seems a little ungrateful to just ignore it all winter, right? But you're not sure what to do. Try these three steps for helping keep your AC unit safe and comfortable during the winter.
Some contractors recommend having two maintenance checks on your AC unit per year, rather than just one. Are they just looking for business? Maybe some of them are hoping for more business, but if you have an AC technician you trust who recommends this, you should go along with it. Some areas of the country are harder on AC units than others, and if you trust your contractor to have your best interests (and your unit's) at heart, following any AC care recommendations is a wise idea. But if you opt out of this maintenance check, you should at least check how the inside of the unit looks while you're putting it away for the fall (after you've switched off the power for the winter, that is). Check for any bent fins, damaged fan blades, or other obvious damage. Then check the inside of the unit every week or two throughout the winter to make sure it's not infested with mice or mold.
Because debris can damage the unit as well as building up and attracting rodents, you should remove any and all vegetation from the vicinity of your unit. You should also trim back any bushes or hedges that threaten to encroach on its space. Then spray the outside of the unit down with a hose. This removes built-up grime caught from the air constantly moving through the unit all summer. (This step isn't strictly for the winter preservation of the unit, but dirt cuts down on efficiency and it's easier to remove the dirt now than in the spring after it's dried on for several more months.) You should also change the air filter in preparation for the next time you use the unit.
Insulate any visible pipes with foam and cover the top of your AC unit. You can use a specially-designed AC unit cover as long as it has good ventilation or you can use a piece of plywood if you think you can keep it from blowing away. The covering protects vulnerable parts of the unit such as fan blades from damage by things like falling icicles and tree branches.
Use these three steps to make sure your unit is cozy and protected when winter arrives. The best time for this project is when the climate is cool enough you're sure you won't need the unit again this year, but before the pipes can freeze. For more information, contact companies like Central Aire Conditioning.
My name is Sara Jenkins and I am the daughter of a plumber. As a young girl, I was not very impressed by what my father did for a living, but I loved spending time with him so I was thrilled each time he asked me to help with a repair around the house. What I didn't realize at the time was that my father was teaching me skills that would prove incredibly useful in my adult life. Today, thanks to him, I have completed a long list of plumbing jobs in my own home without the need to hire a contractor. This blog is my way of saying thank you to him by sharing all of the things that he has taught me about home repairs and construction.