Tips for Winterizing Your Air Conditioner

winterize air conditioner

As summer winds down and winter beckons, it’s time to do more than just digging your cold-weather clothes out of plastic tubs. You’ll want to take some time to winterize your home — especially your air conditioner. If the mere thought has you thinking about going into hiding until the cold weather blows over, relax. With a few simple tips from Ace Plumbing and about an hour’s worth of your time, winterizing your air conditioner is easy.

Step One: Power Down

Just the same as a cool evening in the late summer or early autumn can surprise you when the heat turns on, unseasonably warm winter days can cause your air conditioning to kick in. That can lead to condensation, which in turn can lead to damaging ice when the temperature drops again. Shut off power to the unit — it’ll also make the steps that follow a bit safer.

Step Two: Clear the Ground

The biggest source of air conditioner damage isn’t rain, snow, cold, or hail. It’s animals. Yes, you read correctly. And one of the easiest ways to keep the vermin away is by keeping the area around your central air conditioner clean and clear of debris so they don’t have somewhere to shelter. Take a few minutes to rake the ground clean.

Step Three: Clean the Unit

Just because you’ve rodent-proofed your AC unit doesn’t mean you’re done and it’s time to put your feet up. We suggest hosing the unit down thoroughly. As with most machines, it runs best when it’s free of dust, dirt, dead bugs, and bird droppings. Once you’ve completed this step, take a break for lunch so the unit has time to dry.

Step Four: Cover the Unit

You can buy a cover that’s specifically fitted to your air conditioning unit, and we like those for their durability and good coverage. Don’t have a cover? Find a blue tarp and wrap the unit, securing the tarp on the sides with bungee cord. Whichever method you use, we suggest putting half-inch plywood on top of the unit — weighed down with a brick or cinder block — to further secure the cover and to protect the unit over the winter.

Step Five: Wrap the Pipes

Your local hardware store will have foam insulation of the right diameter for any exposed pipes. All you’ll have to do is cut the insulation to the proper length, install, and secure with duct tape.

Once the weather warms back up, you’ll want to ensure your central air is working its best. That’s when we suggest a call to Ace Plumbing. As part of our HVAC tune-up, we’ll inspect the unit, perform any needed maintenance, and ensure that your air conditioning is ready for the warm months ahead. If you need assistance before then — whether to repair or winterize your AC, or to ensure that your heating system is ready for the cold — call 916-455-4548 today.

Don’t forget, Ace Plumbing isn’t just a Sacramento HVAC contractor. We also handle drainage, septic systems, and all manner of in-home plumbing issues!