How to Shut Down Your AC for the Winter

October is here, and we’ve already had some of those cold, crisp fall days. It’ll be winter before you know it, and it’s time to start preparing for the cold! Something that’s often lost in the shuffle of making sure you’re able to stay warm, is winterizing your air conditioning! It may seem counterintuitive, but we promise: a little bit of prep work here goes a long way next spring and summer.

Here’s how to properly shut down your AC to keep it safe this winter:

Finish any repairs

You want to make sure your AC is as healthy as it can get before you shut it down. Before you begin this process, make sure you finish any last repairs for your AC. Shutting down your AC when it has a minor problem gives that problem time to become something that could ruin your AC.

Turn the AC off

Turning off your AC means more than simply turning off the power on the indoor unit. The AC has to be completely disconnected from power from the outdoor unit. If not, your AC unit can briefly turn on in the winter if there’s a warm spell and suck in a bunch of snow and ice. To fully turn off the power, find your AC unit’s breaker switch and switch it off. It’s usually on the side of the house or under a flip-up lid near the condenser. Keep in mind that you’ll need to flip the switch back on when you want the AC to work after the winter.

Clean the condenser

After switching the power off, you should give the condenser a good cleaning. Use a broom to clear away any debris on or around the condenser. From there, take a hose and wash off the outside cabinet with a low-pressure spray. Afterward, closely examine the condenser and make sure the seals are tight and not visibly damaged. If you notice any damage, let your technician know the next time you get it serviced. You should also check the filter to see if it needs replacing.

Cover it up

Finally, after the condenser dries off, cover it up with a waterproof cover. Hardware stores sell covers if you need one, but a waterproof tarp will suffice if it fully covers the condenser. Be sure to secure the cover tightly with bungee ropes so it doesn’t get blown away by the wind.

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