Making The Switch From Summer To Winter – Prepping Your Ac Unit

Posted on: 5 October 2018


It's that time of year again—the time to shut down the air conditioning unit and fire up the furnace. Is there anything that you need to do to the air conditioning unit to protect it for the winter? Absolutely—here's a few tips for preparing your air conditioning unit for months of winter abuse.

Kill the Power

The unit will not need to be powered during the winter, so the first thing that you can do is flip the breaker that powers the unit. Even though the system isn't being used, small amounts of electricity will be lost if you continue the connection. Not only does turning it off prevent power loss, but it will help to protect the system from shorts if something were to happen to it.

Clear Away Debris

You don't want to leave your air conditioning unit surrounded and covered in debris. The debris will trap moisture and could lead to expedited corrosion of the unit. Try to keep about a foot of space on each side of the unit clear—this will allow for more than enough air circulation to prevent corrosion issues.

Cover the Unit

Some people believe that the air conditioning units do not need to be covered for the winter, but others swear by it. Why should you cover the unit?

Covering the unit will do two things for you—it prevents water from dripping down inside the unit and freezing as temperatures drop, and it protects the unit from falling debris.

If you were to leave the unit uncovered, snow and ice will build up on top of it. As the temperatures rise, that snow and ice melt and drip into the unit and settle on the components inside. Then, when the temperature drops again, that ice may expand enough to damage whatever it has coated inside the unit.

Pine needles and small debris can really reduce the life expectancy of your unit. Covering it when it's not in use will help to protect the unit from all that debris making its way inside the unit.

When covering the unit, use a heavy tarp, some 2x4 lumber and sturdy rope or straps. Place a wood board at each corner of the unit and wrap a strap around the boards to keep them in place. These boards are just providing a frame for the tarp – it will keep the tarp far enough away from the unit to allow for air flow, while still protecting it.

Cover the unit with the tarp and wrap it with the rope. Tie the rope tightly.

Remember to check the unit every few weeks to make sure that no animals have made your covered unit into a winter retreat.

Talk with your local HVAC technician for assistance with preparing your system for winter use or non-use. For more information, contact a company like Lee Air Conditioners Inc.