How to Prepare Your HVAC Unit for the Winter

The leaves are changing colors, the days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are falling. With cooler weather approaching, it’s critical to prepare your HVAC unit for the winter season. That’s why AC Masters has compiled a checklist to ensure your home is ready to keep you warm and cozy this winter season. 

Turn off the AC unit

This one can be especially helpful during seasons with extreme weather.

If you have an A/C unit, chances are it won’t get much use during the colder winter months. That means your outdoor condensing coil can be completely shut off until the warmer weather returns. Failure to do so means your system may automatically turn on and run intermittently. This could cause freezing damage once the temperature drops.

To turn off your system, simply locate the circuit near the outdoor condensing coil and turn the switch to “off.” For many units this switch is located in a small metal box mounted on the wall near your outdoor unit. If you aren’t sure how to turn off your outdoor unit, ask your maintenance technician during your next seasonal service.

Visually inspect your outdoor unit

Pick a sunny day when your unit will have time to dry and check your outdoor unit for grass clippings, branches and leaves. Use a garden hose to give it a good rinse, making sure to remove as much dirt and debris as you can without damaging the coil inside.

While you’re at it, keep a lookout for signs of animal nests or infestations. Animals may find your outdoor unit to be a welcome refuge in the cold winter months. This can lead to lots of headaches in the spring from chewed wires, nests and other damage.

Protect pipes

Insulate any exposed pipes with foam or rubber pipe covers to prevent freezing and bursting this winter. You can help keep the foam in place by wrapping it with duct tape. This type of insulation can be purchased at most local home improvement stores.

Cover the unit

Make sure your unit is completely powered off before attempting this one.

Placing a sheet of plywood directly on top of your AC unit to protect it from damaging debris like falling tree branches and icicles. No need to purchase a cover or tarp; not only do they trap moisture, but they can also make the system even more inviting for critters when the weather turns nasty. A simple piece of plywood will do the trick to keep your unit in top shape for the spring.

Just don’t forget to remove the cover before you start your system back up in the spring!

Have your furnace inspected

It’s a good idea to try and fire up your furnace at least three times before the phrases “polar vortex” or “extreme cold” return to your local forecast. The last thing you or your family want is a cold house during the depths of winter.

Also be sure to have your furnace inspected periodically. Cracked heat exchangers can result in deadly carbon monoxide leaks, so make sure your furnace stays safe and functioning when you need it most.

Reverse ceiling fans

Run your ceiling fans in a clockwise direction to push warm heat down. Typically, this only requires flipping a switch to change their direction, but you can always check the manual for your ceiling fan to make sure.

Replace air filters

The most effective way to promote proper airflow is by changing out the air filters in your home. When air filters are filled with dirt and debris, they can circulate allergens throughout your home and put a strain on your system. These particulates and microbes can be doubly effective during the heating months, as furnaces and other sources of heat tend to dry out the air and leave you more vulnerable to infection and sinus or nasal symptoms.

Annual heating system checkups can prevent up to 70% of all heater repairs. To keep your system operating optimally, have your HVAC unit winterized and prepare your home for the harsh winter. Schedule your seasonal service with AC Masters to protect your home and start this winter season on the right foot. Book an appointment online or give us a call at 757-898-2894

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