How To Take Care Of Your Central Air System In The Winter
The winter season is an important time of year for your central air conditioner because it usually means you'll be shutting it off for a few months. During that time, even though it's not in use, it's still exposed to the elements. You're probably familiar with the cleaning and maintenance process that comes before firing it up for the first time every year, and while it's still a good idea to get annual maintenance and cleaning, you can help your unit run more efficiently and reduce the necessity of repairs by taking proper care of it during the winter.
Cover Your Outdoor Unit
Your outdoor air conditioning unit is durable, but when it's exposed to wind, dust, frost and debris, it can quickly start to run less efficiently and even become damaged. Over time, dust and debris can cover the outer casing, as well as some of the internal components. When your air conditioner is in constant use, it's easier to spot when trouble is coming, but when you haven't used it for a few months, you might not see a potentially serious issue until the unit is running.
To avoid weather-related damages, use a tarp or a large sheet of durable plastic to cover your outdoor unit during the off months. Weigh it down with bricks or other heavy objects to prevent it from blowing away, or use bungee cords to wrap it tight. Make sure that whatever you use will keep water and ice out, and that it's sturdy enough to keep debris out.
A cover will also prevent animals from taking cover from the weather in your air conditioning unit, where they can nibble on wires and cause damage.
Wrap Exposed Cables
Cover any exposed cables on the exterior of your unit with foam pipe covers. This helps protect them against freezing temperatures, and can prevent minor damage as well.
Switch Off The Unit
Even if it's protected, the unit itself should be switched off so that it doesn't turn on until you're prepared, and it keeps water out that could potentially freeze. In general, it's a good idea to keep it off until you can have it cleaned and inspected by a technician. Use the switch located in the box near the outdoor unit to turn it off from there.
When you're ready to turn your air conditioner back on, make sure that all the protection you added is removed before turning the switch back on. You can use a hose to clean out dust, debris, dead bugs and leaves, but you should also have a technician or electrician look at the unit and the switch box to make sure everything looks good before use. By protecting your air conditioner every winter, you can avoid plenty of unnecessary repairs and just stick to annual maintenance. Contact a company like Plisko Electric to have your AC unit looked at.