5 Easy Steps to Prepare Your Air Conditioner Before Wintertime
Your air conditioning system has gotten you through countless hot summer days. Return the favour by taking these simple steps to properly prepare your air conditioner before winter weather hits—and you’ll be more likely to stay calm, cool and collected come the next big heat wave.
1. Clear the Space Around Your Air Conditioning Unit
Most Canadians count down the days until the first warm weeks of summer in their region. If you’d rather take time to enjoy the sun than maintain your AC unit, then it’s important to get ready now, before the cold weather hits your area.
To do: Save yourself time and hassle come those warmer months by removing any potential blockages (e.g., garden and landscaping elements, fallen leaves and debris) from within 12 inches of space around your air conditioner.
2. Clean the Outside of Your Air Conditioning Unit
Central air conditioning systems are made up of several components that, together, cool your home. This includes the outside unit, whose coils, fans and other moving parts help to remove heat from inside your dwelling. But dirt and debris can clog up these inner workings, making them run less efficiently.
To do: First, shut off the main power to the air conditioner (either through an outdoor on/off switch or via your electrical box located inside your home). Then, using a garden hose on a low-pressure setting, rinse the metal housing, vents and visible components of your air conditioning unit, spraying in the opposite direction of airflow. (Why “low-pressure”? Because high-pressure spray can bend the machine’s coils—one of the key components that cools your home.)
3. Cover Your Air Conditioning Unit
Now that your AC unit is free of debris and dirt, you’ll want to keep it that way!
Air conditioner covers are a practical solution to keep garden debris, ice, and snow, from affecting your AC unit during winter months. Hardware and home improvement stores sell a variety of different covers to suit most AC makes and models, but in a pinch, a waterproof tarp will do.
To do: Choose a waterproof cover that fits your AC unit. Fasten it snuggly near the bottom of the unit but be sure to leave a little space at the bottom, so any moisture that gets in can work its way out. If the cover doesn’t come with a fastening strap, use a bungee cord or nylon rope.
4. Update Your Thermostat Setting
Your thermostat is a vital part of your cooling system, but when temperatures start to drop, it’s time to consider switching off the AC and turning on the heating.
To do: Though preferences differ based on region, outside temperature and a slew of other factors, you may want to readjust your thermostat over time, first setting it to the desired temperature. Then, once you’re acclimated to the winter cold, lower the temperature in your home even further, moving by degrees until you hit an acceptable temperature for the winter ahead.
Energy tip: Upgrading to a smart thermostat allows you to take control of the temperature in your home from anywhere at any time and could help you to save money by reducing system use when you’re not at home or during sleeping hours.
5. Have Your AC System Checked Regularly by a Professional
Just like any machine your home’s cooling system will run most efficiently and effectively when it’s clean and set up properly. And while some upkeep can be done by you, there’s simply no substitute for an experienced, licensed HVAC technician when it comes time to inspect and clean the pipes, wiring, coils and other vital parts that keep your AC running problem-free.
Manufacturers recommend yearly tune-ups to help prevent future problems and keep your cooling system operating at an optimal level. And having an experienced professional run your system through its paces could even help you to save money on your energy bills!
Book online to have your cooling system expertly serviced. Or, sign up for one of our AC Maintenance & Protection Plans, which include annual maintenance of your system and an unlimited number of service calls—so you’re always covered, no matter what Mother Nature has in store! AC Maintenance & Protection Plans.