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How to Shut Down an Air Conditioner for the Season

air-conditioning-unitsYou may still need to have your air conditioning system running for a stretch longer, since the fall can sometimes pull out surprise heat waves. But eventually, you’ll look at the upcoming weather forecast, see the low temperatures, and know that the cold weather is here to stay… at least until spring.

It’s important to have your heating system tuned-up and inspected before the cold weather, and you can arrange for this with our experts in HVAC in Brighton, MI. We offer maintenance for a range of heating systems, including furnaces and boilers.

But there’s something else you need to do once the air conditioner turns off for the season. No, the AC doesn’t need maintenance, not yet. (That will come in the spring.) But if you simply turn off the AC and leave it, it can suffer damage over the winter that may jeopardize its operation when you need it again. Here are steps to take to “winterize” your air conditioner. And remember, if you know your AC has a repair need, don’t let the repair go just because it’s the end of the cooling season.

Prepping the AC for the off-season

First, you need to shut off the air conditioner. And we don’t mean simply turning it off from the thermostat. There’s a possibility the thermostat could cause the air conditioner to turn on briefly during a short warm spell, and this can lead to ice and water being sucked into the outside unit. This also helps reduce the chance of electrocution. To fully shut off the air conditioner, you must locate the outside circuit to the condenser unit, which is usually close to it and under a flip lid. Open the lid and switch it to “off.”

Next, clean off the condenser unit. You may need to wash it down to remove dirt and grime. Clear the area around it of sticks, leaves, and branches. You want the condenser to be clean before you get to the next step.

After you’ve cleaned the condenser and given it a few hours to dry (important to prevent corrosion), place a waterproof cover over it. You can purchase specially made condenser covers from home supply stores, but there’s nothing wrong with using any sheet of waterproof plastic that’s large enough to completely cover the condenser. You’ll need to secure the cover with bungee cords, otherwise it might blow away during the winter. This cover will protect the condenser from moisture getting inside it and any debris winter storms might blow its way.

If you do all this, the air conditioner should be in good shape for when spring rolls around again. You’ll still need to schedule maintenance service for the AC, but it won’t sustain any additional damage over the winter. (And remember about the shut-off switch; you don’t want to panic when you try to turn on your AC using the thermostat and nothing happens!)

For any assistance you need with your air conditioner at the end of the cooling season or your heater before the heating season, you can give us a call.

First Choice Heating & Cooling serves Fenton, Linden, Holly, and the surrounding areas. If your home had a voice, it would call First Choice!

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