Preparing Yourself and Your Air-conditioning System for Winter

The fall season means several wonderful traditions, with some being more enjoyable than the others. There are pumpkin picking, s’mores and bonfires, camping, and then winterizing the air-conditioning unit. Yes, winterizing your central air conditioning in Provo is not many people’s idea of fun, but it is an important step in battling the cold drafts of winter, which is prevalent even in Provo.

Why Prepare Your AC System for Winter

Winterizing the system can help avoid the need for major repairs when it is time to turn the unit back on during the summer season. Issues such as rust, corrosion, nesting, and damage from fallen debris can be prevented. Additionally, wintertime brings many harsh elements such as snow, ice, and even the cold temperature. These conditions can severely affect the longevity of an air-conditioning system.

How to Winterize a Central Air-conditioning System

Turn off the power circuit

Before performing any maintenance on the system, the unit needs to be turned off. Usually, the unit’s on/off switch is found by the outdoor system under a metal or plastic lid. Turn that switch off.

It is important not to use the thermostat to shut down the AC unit. Whenever a room gets toasty on a sunny day, the air conditioner will register the warm temperature and switch back on. If the unit turns on in the middle of winter, water can get into the coils and then freeze once the temperature drops back. This will cause rust and corrosion on the system.

Cover the AC unit

Before covering up the air conditioner for winter, ensure that the cover is clean and completely dry. Get rid of any dirt, dust, leaves, droppings, and other kinds of debris off of the unit. After wiping it down, ensure that the cover is dried completely.

Then it is time to cover the unit with a vinyl cover or plastic that is big enough to cover the entire unit. Use ropes or cords to fasten the cover in place while ensuring that the fit isn’t too tight to allow for ventilation. Some homeowners use a piece of plywood and a heavy brick on top to secure the cover.

Insulate the pipes

Covering exposed pipes is an essential step in winterizing your AC system. Without proper coverage, pipes can freeze and burst, especially in places like Utah, where temperatures can get below freezing rather quickly.

Foam pipe covers will do the job. Simply slip the covers over the exposed pipes, making sure that they are fit snugly around the pipes. Tape the foam down with duct tape. Many homeowners opt to keep the foam covers around their pipes all year round to avoid having to repeat this same process as the winter season approaches.

Tune up the furnace system

Plumber fixing furnace

As the need transitions from the air-conditioning unit to the furnace, it is important to get a thorough professional tune-up to look at the heating unit. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), heating costs are estimated to go up as compared to the prior two winters. A furnace tune-up cannot only help reduce the heating bill, but it will also help prevent repairs and replacements in the long run.

Nothing is worse than being stuck at home and realizing that the air-conditioning unit is not working. Even though these units are designed to be outdoors, it is still important to winterize them and make sure that they do not sustain any damage during the winter season. As shown above, winterizing the air-conditioning unit takes less time than most people imagine it to.

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