Many people rely on their home's air conditioning unit during hot summer days, but when winter rolls around, it is not uncommon for homeowners to stop paying attention to their A/C, especial the outdoor HVAC unit. However, spending some time in the fall to protect the outdoor HVAC unit of your air conditioner can prevent damage and help ensure that there are no issues the following year when you have a need for your air conditioner again. Take the following steps to winterize your outdoor HVAC unit:
Turn Off the Air Conditioning Circuit
When you know that you won't need to use your air conditioning unit, it is a good idea to turn off the circuit for the winter season. Doing so will ensure that the unit doesn't inadvertently turn on and draw water or snow inside. In most cases, the main circuit switch for an outdoor HVAC unit is located near the unit under a plastic or metal lid. Open the lid and move the switch into the off position.
Clean the Unit
During the fall, it is always a good idea to clean your outdoor HVAC unit with a hose to remove dirt, debris, bird droppings, and dead bugs. After spraying down the unit, inspect it closely and remove any branches, weeds, or leaves that may by located near or in the unit. After cleaning your HVAC unit, make sure that you give it ample time to dry completely.
Protect the Pipes
If you live in an area that has freezing temperatures during the winter months, it is a good idea to protect the pipes that connect the HVAC unit to your house. Luckily, this is an easy process that can be done in a short amount of time. Just purchase foam pipe covers, cut them to the proper size, and place them over the pipes. Then, wrap duct tape around the foam covers to ensure that they stay in place.
Cover Your HVAC Unit
After your outdoor air conditioning unit has been turned off and cleaned, it is time to cover it for the winter months. When searching for a cover, make sure that you choose one that is completely waterproof. Many home improvement stores sell covers that are specifically designed for outdoor HVAC units, but it is also okay to make your own cover with a heavy-duty plastic tarp. Cover the top of the HVAC unit, and make sure that the cover is attached securely to ensure that it doesn't blow away during a storm.