Preparing Your Outdoor Air Conditioner Unit for Winter

Now that September is here, we’re only a few months away from the Indianapolis winter. It’s time to prepare for the cold weather.

Many households drain the pool and get their gardens ready, but neglect their outdoor air conditioner unit. With the amount of money spent on your unit, you should do everything possible to keep it running.

Let’s look at some things you can do to keep your unit safe from the weather!

Turn Off the Power

If there is a warm spell during the winter, your outdoor air conditioner unit could switch on. Water could stay inside the unit, causing it to freeze when the weather gets cold again.

Much like the pipes in your house, the pipes in an air conditioning unit can burst under pressure. Bursting pipes could lead to costly repairs or a replacement of your air conditioner.

Clear Debris from Around Your Outdoor Air Conditioner Unit

Trim any tree limbs hanging over the unit. If there is a freeze during a winter storm, you don’t want anything to fall onto your unit and damage it. Take this opportunity to clean the exterior of your air conditioning unit as well.

Remove any animal droppings from the outside using a hose. Clear twigs, branches, and leaves around your outdoor air conditioner unit.

A winter storm can blow these objects into your air conditioner, which can then freeze onto the fan blades and coils. Once you start it back up in the summer, this can cause serious problems.

Make sure you let your unit completely dry after washing it, and only do this after you have cut the power to the unit off.

Check the Unit for Damage

After the unit is cleaned off and dried, use this opportunity to look for cracks and other damage. Be sure to take care of any damage you find now. Once the winter hits, any water that gets into these cracks can freeze, making the problem worse.

Also look for rust, and seal off any crevices that you see. Rust is a sign of wear and tear, so something might need replacing. Winter speeds up the degradation of metal, so it’s better to take care of it now.

Protect Your Pipes

Even if there is no water in your pipes, they can still crack during the winter from the extreme cold. Leaving them exposed to the elements increases this risk, so you’ll need to cover them up.

The best way to do this is finding foam or rubber pipe insulation, and place them around your pipes with tees and elbows. Make sure there is a snug fit to stop them from being taken off by the wind or a strong rain.

Some insulation is self-adhesive, but it’s still a good idea to test it first. You don’t want to wait until January to find out the adhesive isn’t working.

Keep Your Regular Maintenance Schedule

You should change the filter in your outdoor air conditioner unit every three months. Just because you won’t be using the unit during the winter doesn’t mean that you can stop taking care of it.

These filters keep your HVAC efficient and allow it to filter the air that goes into your home. Even though the air isn’t running, and even though you’ve cleaned up around the unit, things will still get into it.

Cleaning the filter now will keep you in the habit and stop any potential problems from arising when you start it back up. Indoor air quality can have negative effects on your family’s health. Changing the air filter every three months helps protect them.

Cover the Unit Up

After you’ve done these steps, go ahead and cover the unit up for extra protection. There are two ways to go about this.

The first is to buy a cover that will go all the way around the outdoor air conditioner unit. The concern with this method is that moisture could become trapped by the cover, allowing mold to grow.

To combat this problem, leave 12 inches of the coil exposed. Air will be able to circulate during the winter, stopping mold growth.

The second option is placing a piece of plywood on top of your unit, making sure that it is secure in the event of a storm. The wood will stop things from falling onto the HVAC and protect it from the elements. Moisture won’t get trapped in the unit either.

Check On Your Unit Weekly

Once a week, or more depending on the severity of the weather, do a quick five-minute inspection of your outdoor air conditioner unit.

You want to make sure that the covering is still in place and the pipes are still insulated. You’ll also want to look for damage in case of hail or a storm.

Remove any snow around the unit and pick up fallen branches. Even though there is a cover, a strong wind could lift the covering up and allow these things access to your HVAC.

Check for water around and on the AC as well, removing it as soon as you notice it. It might be cold outside, but five minutes of time now could save you thousands of dollars later.

Protect Your Investment

No matter what steps you take, there are times where bad things will happen. This fact of life is especially true with an outdoor air conditioner unit.

Since 1980, we’ve served the greater Indianapolis community, keeping their heating and air conditioning running. We understand that when there is a problem, you want it fixed as soon as possible.

That’s why Masters gets there faster. We have offices in five locations to serve you, each offering expert service at a fair price.

If you need help getting ready for the winter or have noticed a problem with your AC unit, contact us today. As you can see from our reviews, we take pride in our work.

Get an AC check up today to make sure you’re ready for the winter!