How to Winterize an Air Conditioner

When we talk about winterizing your air conditioner, we mean the condensing unit outside of your home as opposed to the unit installed in your basement or utility room. The air conditioning is all-electric and should have no gas components to it. Although, now that we have portable ACs that we can buy from, this is no longer a big issue. 

Remember that your condenser unit is made to withstand the elements outside of your home and probably don’t need to be covered completely or tightly with a plastic tarp. Covering over the top with a piece of plywood should be sufficient just to keep out the leaves from the fan blades that may make it run less efficiently the next time the unit is active.

The first thing to do is turn off the power to your condenser on your circuit breaker. It should be on its own circuit and when you flip the switch only one thing will be inactive on the circuit and it is your condenser.

Next is to unplug the cord from the power outlet or disconnect the wire completely from its power source. If there is exposed copper wiring, place a wire nut over each individual wire. If it is a newer condenser, there should be three wires to cover with wire nuts.

You may want to give your condenser a thorough check for any rust, damage, dents, dings, or other signs of wear in any tubing from the coolant. If you find any problems, take note and have it fixed before spring when you use your unit again. Getting a new coolant is not necessary right now as you stop using your air conditioning for the winter, but you might consider getting it serviced in the spring by an HVAC professional.

If any doors are loose or swing open on their own you will also have to get it fixed eventually. Though not critical, your unit may not work as efficiently if the airflow is not optimal.

Clean the unit thoroughly by hosing it down to get all the general crud off of it that has accumulated all year. Now is a good time to clean it off so it runs better in the spring.

Winterizing your air conditioning unit will help you save on your utility bills when your unit comes on again in the spring when it warms up. Making your air conditioner more efficient is a quick and easy way to save money throughout the year by simply doing a project that takes less than half an hour.

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