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As we move into winter and start using our furnaces, it’s easy to push any thoughts of air conditioning out of your head and forget about the unit altogether. But you could extend the life of your air conditioning unit by taking the time to prepare it for winter, something we call winterizing your air conditioner. Below are some simple steps you can take yourself to make sure your unit will be ready to use come summer.

Shut Off Power to the Unit

For safety reasons, it’s imperative that this is always your first step before performing any maintenance on your air conditioning unit. You can cut power to your unit either by shutting off its dedicated circuit on your circuit breaker, or by locating the electrical panel/box outside by the unit and flipping a switch.

Turning your unit off is not only a safety precaution before performing maintenance, but helps prevent the unit from turning on during a warm winter day.

Remove Debris

Larger debris like leaves, twigs, and pinecones should be removed by hand. Remember to be gentle when pulling out larger twigs or branches, as you could potentially bend or damage coils and blades.

In addition to the potential for damage, debris trapped in your unit creates the perfect environment for animals to nest and for moisture to collect.

Thoroughly Clean the Unit

If your unit is still covered in debris that can’t be removed by hand, rinse the unit off with a hose. This will help ensure your unit is free of unwanted dirt, bird droppings, grass clippings, dead bugs, and other types of debris that can interfere with proper functioning of your air conditioner.

Guard Against Rust

Although most HVAC units are made of materials meant to withstand rain and snow, they are not necessarily built to keep things out of them—things such as leaves, seeds, and salt, which can all promote moisture collection and corrosion.

Spray your unit with an anti-rust or anti-corrosion spray for extra protection. After all, no machine can function at its best when it’s rusty and corroded.

Protect Against Damage

Cover your unit to protect from damage caused by falling tree limbs or icicles, hail, excessive ice, or other potential dangers to your unit.

While there are covers you can purchase that fit around the entire air conditioning unit, we don’t recommend complete coverage as that can provide the perfect spot for animals and pests to overwinter. Complete coverage could also trap moisture and promote mold growth and corrosion. Instead, limit coverage to just the top of your unit to protect it from anything that may fall on it.

Bring in Any Window Units

If you happen to have window air conditioning units rather than central cooling, or have window units to supplement your central cooling, it’s important to either bring them in or cover them up for the winter. While covering is sufficient, it’s usually best to remove the units completely to prevent any air leaks or pests coming in to overwinter in your home.

Join Our Rewards Club to Extend the Life of Your HVAC Unit

In addition to preparing your air conditioning unit for winter, there are other steps you can take to get your home and HVAC unit ready for the cold. Get a few helpful winter heating tips here.

Sign up for the Jennings Rewards Club today to get regular maintenance for your system. In fact, now would be the perfect time for a furnace tune-up! Contact us if you have more questions on HVAC maintenance.