Preparing Your Central Air Conditioner For Winter

Oct 26, 2020

During the cool months, we spend a lot of time thinking about our furnaces, and very little thinking about our air conditioners. And why should we? AC units sit out of use until the snow melts and it’s time to cool the air inside your home. But ignoring this crucial component of your HVAC system can result in damages and repairs. Winterize your air conditioner with these simple preparations, and you’ll keep your investment safe over the chilliest months:

Clean it.

Before you begin your maintenance, disconnect the AC’s power supply – unless you have a heat pump, which you can check for by reading the model number on the manufacturer’s label. Turning off the unit will keep you safe while you clean it and stop it from running during a warm winter day. To boost your system’s defences against the elements, you can apply a coating of anti-rust spray.

Now it’s time to give the unit a good clean. Take a broom to sweep off surface-level dirt like twigs and pine needles. To rinse off grime and debris, you can use a hose; just be sure to set the pressure to the lowest setting, so that you don’t damage the condenser fins. 

Cover it.

Once the unit is fully dry, you can cover it with a protectant that’s designed for an AC unit. This step is somewhat controversial; some advise against it, because a cover can cause moisture issues or a pest infestation. But by leaving your system exposed, it is subject to harsh weather conditions. Debris can enter the unit and damage the components. If you choose to buy a cover, you need one that’s designed for AC units. Be sure that it leaves some open space (as to not create a home for critters or mould). To secure the cover against the harsh climate of “Winterpeg”, you can use bungee cords or rope to weigh it down. If you don’t want to cover the entire unit, use something (like plywood) to protect the top of it so that debris doesn’t fall inside the system.

Protect it.

In Winnipeg, we’re subject to some of the coldest weather around. Uninsulated pipes won’t be able to withstand it – any fluid inside them will freeze once winter hits. This can cause the pipes to crack and break. Protect them with foam pipe covers that you can find at any local hardware store; cut the foam to fit the tubes inside your unit. Once the pipe is wrapped, secure it with duct tape. During the winter, check on your outdoor unit regularly, and clear away any branches, leaves, or snow that accumulates. If you let weight build up on top of the unit, it can damage the components.

Forgetting about your AC during the winter means that you’ll pay the price when summer returns. Need help winterizing your home’s heating and cooling system? Or maybe your furnace needs a tune-up. At Provincial Heating and Cooling, our HVAC contractors in Winnipeg can help you brave this winter comfortably. Contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our technicians.


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