After Labor Day, the last thing you’re thinking about — when it comes to HVAC, anyway — is your air conditioner. Not only is it too cool outside to use it, but you’re getting ready for heating season. But, you can make next summer comfortable and affordable by winterizing your air conditioner today.
When we say winterize, we mean taking a few easy steps to ensure that your central air system will stay safe in the off-season. That results in lower electric bills and fewer calls for air conditioner service when it’s warm again.
After all, there’s a big difference between the AC and your furnace: your air conditioner’s condenser sits outside your home. That exposes it to all sorts of elements and potential damage.
In this article, we’re covering the why and the how of winterizing your AC. You can handle most of this yourself. But, it pays to have an air conditioning service call handle the rest — and give your heater a tune-up while they’re around.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions or concerns about the heating and cooling system in your Dover, PA home, call or email us today at Air Comfort Technologies.
Four Reasons To Winterize Your Air Conditioner In the Fall
- It Prevents Damage To Your Unit
- It Prevents Animal Infestation
- You Get Better Comfort
- Your Electric Bill Is Lower
This all boils down to making sure your unit doesn’t sustain damage or other problems over the winter. It’s easy for this to happen when the condenser lies dormant outside.
A lot can happen in the great outdoors, and a lot of it’s no good for a complex piece of machinery.
Exposure to the elements is often the biggest problem. And, it’s not just the rain, snow, and ice, although precipitation is a big concern. All that moisture can cause rust. And frozen rain, hail, and ice can dent and damage the unit.
That’s not to mention temperature swings stressing the metal on your condenser. And, lawn clippings, trash, and other debris tend to pile up in and around the unit. When this happens, organic matter can break down, allowing bacteria to form and seep into the system. Or, trash can otherwise gum up the works come spring.
Animals are a problem, too. Mice, squirrels, and other critters will look for a warm, safe place to stay when the weather gets cold. An AC condenser fits the bill — but their solution becomes a problem for you. It’ll be tough to get the system started with a nest under the fan blades. Or if rodents have chewed through the wiring.
All this adds up to an AC that doesn’t work well or costs a lot more money to run. And, in a way, obvious damage is the better scenario.
If your central air won’t turn on next spring, or if it makes some horrible noises, you’ll know right away to call for AC service. Electrical problems or a grinding fan blade can be expensive, but you’ll handle it quickly.
However, other problems are more subtle. One example is weak circulation because of damage to the hoses. You can go a week or more before realizing your home doesn’t feel quite right.
Or you end up with higher energy bills. When something’s not quite right, the AC uses a lot more electricity. But, you likely won’t catch on until the bill comes in.
Fortunately, it’s easy to get ahead of all these problems.
Four Ways To Winterize Your Air Conditioner
- Clean Up Around the Condenser
- Cover The Outdoor Unit
- Shut Off The Power
- Insulate Wires And Piping
You can handle at least half of these items on your own, and we’ll start with those: Cleaning around the condenser and covering up the unit.
In the fall, go around the condenser and pick up any trash or lawn debris around it. If the unit’s on a concrete slab, sweep around it. If it’s on grass, pull out any weeds that have sprouted near it.
You should do this a few times during the winter, too. It won’t take long at all, especially if you keep up on it.
Next, invest in a cover for the condenser. These are inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of an air conditioner service call or — even worse — a new unit altogether. The cover keeps precipitation from wearing out the machinery. And, it helps prevents animals from making their new home inside it.
Next, you should shut off the power. This goes a long way toward preventing electrical damage. It’s usually pretty easy and safe to do.
Look toward the bottom of your unit on the side that’s facing the house. There should be a small panel on there. Flip it open and look for a switch. There’s often only one, or at least the power switch is clearly marked. Turn it off, and you’re all set!
If you’re not sure which one it is or don’t want to mess with the electric, that’s fine! Ask your HVAC contractor to take care of it when they stop by for a heater tune-up.
Speaking of professionals, you’ll want one to come and insulate the lines for you. This consists of wrapping any wires and piping with foam insulation that prevents freezing, decay, and damage from animals.
You don’t need to do it every year, as the insulation should last for a long time. So, it’s worth getting a pro to do it.
AC Maintenance Near Dover, PA
As you can see from this article, AC maintenance for your Dover, PA home isn’t just something you do in the spring. Instead, putting only a little time into maintaining your central air system in the off-season can make your summer more comfortable and your electric bill lower.
After you’ve handled all the DIY steps, give us a call here at Air Comfort Technologies. With one visit, you’ll be sure your furnace is ready for the winter ahead, and your AC will hibernate safely.