Ways to Protect Your Central Air Conditioning System in the Winter
Your home’s central AC system is finally getting some much-needed rest this fall, but don’t let your guard down. Winter is fast approaching, and you’ll need to put your system in preventative care mode before the first blizzard hits. You should know some innovative ways to protect your central air conditioning system in the winter.
While your AC unit may not be in use, this doesn’t mean you can forget about it. You should take preventative measures to ensure that your AC unit will stay in tip-top shape, ready to give you a cool breeze once summer arrives once more. This post will outline some clever ways to protect your central AC system in the winter.
Central AC Units Are Tougher Than You Think
Manufacturers construct central AC units to last the harshest weather conditions. Some people may even enjoy their AC units without taking any preventative measures. However, some environmental factors such as debris, water, moisture build-up, and even ice can cause damage to your AC unit that may cost you more than just a few bucks. With that, it still pays to understand what you need to do to protect your central AC unit.
Even if the winter weather isn’t particularly harsh where you live, it’s still important to safeguard against any risks such as heavy snow accumulations or freezing temperatures. These precautions will protect your central air conditioning system from getting damaged when it’s not in use and can help extend its life.
The first and the most important thing you have to do is turn off your unit during the winter months. Not only will this help save you some money on your energy bill, but it also prevents you from accidentally turning it on during the winter. Doing so may result in costly damages, especially when your unit starts to cycle water, which may eventually turn into ice.
Clean Up Debris
As mentioned earlier, the cold environment won’t cause any damage to your central air conditioning system. However, outdoor debris can still be a significant nuisance and may cause your AC unit to work harder than it needs to. Leaves, twigs, dirt, and other kinds of debris can easily get caught in the condenser coil and prevent your system from cooling properly.
Before you put your AC unit in hibernate mode and before covering it up, make sure to clean up the debris around it. Cleaning will ensure that your system can breathe easily and won’t have any trouble starting back up in the spring. Additionally, choose a tarp or an AC cover at least 1 foot above the ground. This way, moisture won’t build up, and wild animals can’t use it as temporary shelter.
Protect It from Water Damage
Water is a significant threat to your central air conditioner system. Water may seep into the condenser coil and damage it, or even worse, it can accumulate inside the unit’s housing and cause irreversible problems. For example, standing water and ice accumulations can prevent your AC unit from turning on once spring finally arrives.
Be mindful of where you place your AC unit and ensure that it’s away from water drainage areas such as gutters, downspouts, and any other sources of possible water damage. If you can’t find a suitable location for your central air conditioning system, make sure to place some protection around the entire unit to prevent any water accumulation.
Continually Test Your System
Once you’ve covered your central air conditioning system and turned it off, make sure to check for any leaks or hazards periodically throughout the winter. There’s no guarantee that water won’t seep into your system in some fashion, especially when ice begins to melt.
To protect your cooling system against leakage (if it does happen), place several pans of water around the housing unit. If any moisture starts to appear, you’ll know that there’s a problem and can get it taken care of before the damage gets more severe.
Never Blow Out the Coils
You’ve probably seen this method used by your neighbours or friends to get rid of the ice, dirt, or other debris on their AC unit. While it may seem like a plausible solution, you should never blow out the coils on your central AC system.
Doing so can damage the fins and cause them to bend, which will eventually affect the performance of your unit. Instead, check your AC system every once in a while to ensure clean and free from any debris.
Cover Your AC Unit
As mentioned earlier, you should take proper care of your AC unit, especially when it’s not in use for the next few months. One way to do so is by covering your central air conditioning system.
While tarp covers are typical, you can also try using an insulated cover. It will prevent snow and ice from accumulating on the condenser and the evaporator during harsh winter weather.
Regardless of what type of cover you use, make sure that it’s completely secure and will not fall off in the middle of a snowstorm.
Chill Your Air Ducts
When you turn your AC unit off during the winter months, make sure to take the same precautions with your air ducts. You should also ensure that all cooling coils are completely dry before covering them up for the season.
While these precautions may seem like an inconvenience, it’s best to maintain clean and clear systems to prevent major problems such as expensive unit repairs and AC system malfunctions during the cold weather.
When there is less humidity in your home, you can turn on your central AC unit for a few hours every week to keep it from collecting dust and dirt. It will also help avoid internal rusting and protect your AC components from corrosion during the winter months.
Protect Your Central Air Conditioning System in the Winter – Conclusion
It’s no secret that the winter months can take a toll on your central air conditioning system. Protecting your unit against hazards such as ice, snow, and extreme temperatures is quite challenging since several factors are considered. However, with these simple tips, you should keep your central cooling system in top shape even during the harsh winter weather.