During the Texas heat, most homeowners run their AC for the majority of the year. However, these units need occasional maintenance in order to perform efficiently and smoothly. While annual tune-ups are recommended, some maintenance should be done more often. In addition, as we transition from the warm summer months into cooler ones, you’ll need to take some steps to get your AC prepared for the coming winter.
Below you’ll find some practical tips for preparing your air conditioner for the winter. For some of these it’s best to consult an HVAC specialist, especially if you’re unsure how to perform the maintenance task. However, many maintenance procedures can be done at home by the homeowner.
Turn Off Outdoor Units
Many outdoor units are installed with a shut-off circuit. The switch for this is usually located under a metal or plastic lid overlaying your electrical circuit. When winter comes around, you can turn off your AC unit by flipping the shut-off switch. This will keep the unit from coming on in case a warm day occurs during the wintertime.
Cover Exposed Pipes
During the winter many homeowners will need to protect their AC unit’s pipes from exposure. This can be done using foam pipe covering. Measure the foam to cover the pipe’s diameter and length, then secure the unprotected pipes with the foam. To make sure the foam covering stays in place through the winter, wrap it with black duct tape to secure it. This covering will insulate your pipes against low temperatures.
Hose Off Outdoor Units
Rinsing off outdoor units can remove dust, dirt, insects, and other materials that may have found their way onto it throughout the summer. Debris can also include larger materials, such as grass clippings, small branches, and leaves. To remove all of this use a spray nozzle on high pressure. You may need to adjust the spray pressure depending on how water comes out of your taps. Then carefully rinse the unit from top to bottom, inside and out. After you’ve finished the rinse, give the unit plenty of time to dry.
Visual AC Inspection
Look over your AC unit for any potential hazards, such as rust in the casing, leaks, cracks, or other abnormalities. For example, an AC unit might have a loose or cracked seal. Don’t make the mistake of supposing this is harmless. If left alone, issues such as this can turn into costly repairs. Whenever you come across an issue during your inspection, call a certified HVAC expert to take a look.
Cover AC Unit
Once your AC unit is dry, with no trace of water or moistness, you can cover the unit with waterproof plastic or vinyl. Covering your AC unit helps protect it from debris and surrounding materials, and also helps prevent cracking. Make sure you choose a quality material cover in order to have a firm insulation for preserving your AC. Home improvement stores often stock a variety of covers for specific AC units. Alternatively, using a water resistant tarpaulin and ropes or bungee cords to secure it will also work.
Once you’ve prepared your AC unit for winter, occasional checkups should also be made throughout the winter. One quick checkup during the week is usually often enough. Check for any debris fall on the unit and use a broom to clear it. Central Texas rarely sees snow, but if the temperatures drop enough for ice, don’t let it build up on your AC unit’s covering.
These tips will help protect your AC unit during the winter. If you provide appropriate maintenance during the winter, your AC will be ready when the hot weather returns. For more tips, or if you’d like to schedule maintenance from a professional HVAC technician, contact AirOne Heating & Air Conditioning, an AC and Heating repair company in San Marcos, TX, to get an appointment.