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How to Prep Your AC System for the Cold Weather

As winter approaches, it’s critical you prepare your air conditioner before you switch over to your furnace or heater. When winter hits and your AC system faces freezing conditions—debris, ice, and water can start to gather in your unit. By winterizing your air conditioner, you can ensure your AC unit does not end up rusting, clogging, or deteriorating during its cold, dormant months. If you want to avoid paying for costly repairs or a full AC replacement, learn more about the four main steps of preparing your AC for the winter.

1. Turn Off AC Power

Before you clean or inspect your AC, you need to turn it off to ensure you do not electrocute yourself. Turning off your AC unit also prepares it for winter by making sure it doesn’t automatically turn on during an unexpectedly warm day. 

You can turn off the AC’s power by locating the exterior power circuit. You can typically find the power circuit mounted on the side of your home. Once you’ve located the circuit, you’ll just need to open the plastic or metal cover and find the switch. Flip the switch to “off” before closing the cover again.

2. Clean the Condenser Unit

After you’ve turned off the air conditioner’s power, you can move on to cleaning the condenser unit to prepare it for the winter. Your condenser unit should be located outside, and as a result, it will likely have collected a lot of dirt, branches, leaves, dust, dead bugs, and debris over the year. Since you don’t want these materials to continue to collect while your AC is switched off over the winter, it’s important to clean the unit. 

You can begin the cleaning process by using a broom to sweep away any debris, such as twigs and leaves, on or around the AC. Next, you’ll want to use a hose to spray off bird droppings, dust, dirt, and other debris from the unit. After you finish spraying the unit, you’ll want to then let it dry. For internal AC cleaning, you’ll want to turn to a trained professional. An expert can clean your unit thoroughly without risking injury or damage to your system components.

3. Inspect Your Air Conditioner

With the AC cleaned, you can take a moment to inspect your unit for signs of damage. If you see any leaks, rust, or cracks, these issues will likely only get worse over the winter while your AC is shut off.  You will also need to check your seals to ensure they are tight without any visible cracks. Damaged or loose seals allow contaminants to get into your system.

If your inspection reveals any of these issues, you’ll want to turn to AC professionals. These experts can conduct repairs to get your air conditioner back to optimal condition and guard it against various dangers over the winter. 

4. Keep an Eye on Your AC Over the Winter

After you shut down your AC for the winter, it is still best practice to check it every couple of weeks. Since debris, like falling leaves, branches, and pinecones, can all land on your unit and potentially damage it, you will want to sweep them away before debris builds up on the air conditioner. You can also protect your unit by cleaning off any ice, snow, or water you see on it, as they can all add harmful weight to your unit. 

While some will also suggest covering your AC unit in the winter, the experts at Bonney know better. To avoid rust, corrosion, and damage, it is often better to just stick to the previously mentioned four steps. You can click here to read more professional insight on covering your air conditioner for winter.

Turn to Bonney for Your AC Winterization and Maintenance Needs in Sacramento

With all of the potential dangers your AC can face over the winter, scheduling an HVAC professional to help winterize your air conditioner can be an excellent investment. At Bonney, our team of HVAC experts is ready to help prepare your AC for the winter and ensure it delivers excellent performance when you start it back up in the spring. 

If you’re in the greater Sacramento area and need help winterizing your AC, learn more about our AC services today. You can also request an appointment to receive an AC inspection and winterization services.