How to Protect Your AC System During the Winter
Snow-capped mountains, snowball fights, holiday décor, crackling fireplaces, and hot chocolate are just a few of the things that come to mind in the winter time. Along with these festive, fun, and comforting characteristics, the winter time can also bring along inconvenient power outages, icy conditions, blistering storms, and below-freezing temperatures.
Not only can these cold conditions pose a threat to your overall well-being, but they can also wreak havoc on your air conditioning system. In addition to physical discomfort, a faulty or impaired AC unit can cost you thousands of dollars in replacement services. Fortunately, our trained technicians can help ensure that your AC system is well-protected and well-prepared for the upcoming winter months.
What Happens If You Don’t Properly Prepare Your AC Unit?
Contrary to what some may believe, snow isn’t the only culprit that can cause harm to your AC system. So, even if you aren’t in an area that frequently sees snow, you could still encounter sleet, wind chill, freezing rain, and hail, which can also do a number on your unit. If you make the proper preparations early on, you can more than likely avoid any significant or long-lasting damage. On the other hand, if you choose not to think ahead, this could potentially decrease the overall lifespan and effectiveness of your air conditioning system.
Along with decreasing the life of your unit, a lack of winter prep can also result in:
- Nesting of rodents and other critters
- Debris damage
- Rust and corrosion
- System malfunctions
How We Can Help Protect Your Air Conditioner During the Winter
The bad news is that there are several outdoor offenders just waiting to destroy or impair your air conditioning unit. The good news is that something can be done about these issues.
Here are some of the ways we can help keep your AC system functioning throughout the winter and further beyond:
- Performing a thorough cleaning of the condenser
- Examining the compressor
- Inspecting and changing the air filter
- Clearing perimeter debris
- Checking the pipe insulation
- Covering the AC unit
- Performing routine inspections
Cleaning the Condenser
The condenser, which serves as the outdoor part of your AC system, is an important component that gathers and transfers heat. In order to properly cleanse the condenser, we will first shut the condenser unit off. The next step is to vacuum away any rubble, trash, or debris. A dull brush extension is connected to the vacuum in order to prevent any unnecessary damage. We will also check to see if any of the evaporator fins are bent. Bent fins can restrict the movement of airflow, which can diminish the efficiency of the overall AC system. A butter knife or a similar dull blade can be used to straighten out the fins. Next, we will carefully clean off all debris from the interior of the condenser.
Examining the Compressor
The compressor is an essential part of the overall AC system. It helps to facilitate the movement of the refrigerant. We can examine the compressor to ensure that it isn’t emanating any unusual sounds. While listening to the compressor, we will be on alert for any clunking or buzzing sounds. A grinding noise is also a cause for concern because it could indicate that the unit is completely worn out.
Inspecting and Changing the Air Filter
A clogged air filter may not seem like a big deal. However, a dirty filter can actually ravage your system, your wallet, and your health. It’s well-known that energy bills tend to skyrocket during the winter months. This is due to an understandable and significant usage increase. On the other hand, a clogged air filter can cause your unit to have to work harder to properly heat your home. When this occurs, your energy bills will likely rise even more.
Secondly, dirty filters trap allergens and unwanted particles that can circulate back into your home. Because it’s unlikely that you’ll want to keep any windows or doors open during the winter, there is no way for fresh air to make its way inside your home. This poses serious health issues for those with severe allergies and respiratory illnesses. Lastly, because clogged filters can cause your unit to overwork, these filters can break down prematurely and unexpectedly.
To help prevent any of the aforementioned issues, we will clean out or change your air filter as needed.
Clearing Perimeter Debris
Because most air conditioning units are placed outdoors, it’s possible for outdoor materials to get stuck inside your system. Debris can include everything from small tree trimmings and foliage to grass clippings and shrubs. These pesky obstructions can block airflow, which can be extremely unpleasant during the colder months. Depending on their size, some debris can unfortunately make its way to your motor. A motor blockage could render your entire system inoperable.
Checking the Pipe Insulation
When we check your pipe insulation, we will look to make sure that none of the copper is exposed. If there is any copper exposure, we can either secure the insulation in place or replace it altogether. Proper insulation helps to prevent condensation, which can cause your pipes to freeze once temperatures drop.
Covering Your AC Unit
If deemed necessary, we can cover your AC unit to help stop extensive damage and keep your mind at ease. Covering your air conditioner during the winter can keep moisture, mold, and mildew from building up in and around your system. Additionally, a cover can curb the effects of bad weather conditions by blocking falling debris and hard precipitation, such as hail and ice pellets. Depending on the type of cover you choose, it could even serve as an anti-theft option. Although you may be tempted to cover your own air conditioning system, it’s best to seek professional help. We can provide you with a cover that is uniquely designed to fit your unit.
Routine Inspections Are the Most Effective
After all is said and done, routine inspections are the best and most reliable way to winterize your AC unit. When we perform periodic examinations, we are able to check for and resolve most or all of the above-stated problems. A maintenance check-up is recommended at least once or twice per year. It may be wise to schedule an inspection just before winter just to make sure that your system lasts throughout the season.
Along with providing comfort in the winter, periodic maintenance inspections can help to:
- Extend the lifespan of your AC unit
- Prevent unnecessary and costly repairs
- Improve energy efficiency
Get In Touch With Us Today
Even though harsh winter conditions are known to damage or weaken air conditioning units, there’s no need for you to fret. That’s because our skilled technicians are well-equipped to protect your unit and prepare it for the upcoming winter season. We also provide a wide range of other services, including furnace repairs, furnace installations, heat pump repairs, air purifier installations, and ductless mini-split installations. Contact Blue Ribbon Cooling & Heating today to learn more about our services or to schedule a pre-winter air conditioning assessment.