Once the outdoor temperature starts to drop and there’s no need for home cooling, it’s time to get your air conditioner ready for fall weather. Here’s how to protect your costly outdoor component from the coming cold, ice, and snow so it stays in tip-top shape over the winter.
· Shut off the power — Doing so averts any risk of compressor damage if someone accidentally switches the thermostat setting to “cool” this winter. Look for a shut-off box on the exterior wall near your condenser/compressor unit and flip the switch inside. Next spring, don’t forget to turn the power back on 24 hours before using the A/C.
· Replace the filter — Changing out the air filter while you’re tackling fall A/C maintenance can help boost efficiency and ensure good airflow when you start running the furnace.
· Clear away debris — Trim back vegetation around the outdoor condenser, and clear away debris such as dryer lint, fallen leaves, twigs, and grass clippings that can clog up the unit and give rodents or other pests a cozy spot to build a winter nest.
· Clean the coil — Gently spray the condenser coil with the garden hose to wash away accumulated dust, dead bugs, and bird droppings. If you plan to cover the unit, be sure to let it dry thoroughly beforehand.
· Insulate the pipes — Cut tubular foam pipe insulation to the proper length and install it on the exposed piping to protect it from freezing. If necessary, use duct tape to secure the insulation in place.
· Protect the unit from damage — Don’t wrap the air conditioner in a plastic tarp that traps moisture, since this causes condensation that leads to premature rusting. Instead, invest in a vented custom cover that allows air to circulate properly. Alternately, leave the unit uncovered and apply a coat of auto wax to protect the metal. To guard against falling ice, put a large piece of plywood on top of the A/C unit and use rocks or bricks to keep it in place.
For more advice about maintaining your air conditioner this fall, contact the Calgary home comfort experts at Arpi’s Industries.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide.
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