Protecting Your Outdoor AC Unit in Winter

by Chris Long - December 6, 2018

HVAC system

The official start of winter is just two weeks away, but we’ve already seen some snowfall here in eastern Pennsylvania.

Before winter begins in earnest, you might want to start thinking about protecting your outdoor air conditioning unit from wintry weather.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of things you should do before snow begins to fall.

What do I need to do to protect my outdoor AC unit?

You can keep your outdoor air conditioning unit operating at its best in a few simple steps:

  1. Turn it off

Next to your outdoor unit, you’ll find an air conditioning circuit, typically covered by a metal or plastic lid. Open this lid and shut the unit off.

This will prevent the unit from turning itself on during unseasonably warm days, and therefore keep water – which would freeze up once temperatures drop – out of the unit.

  1. Wash the unit

A good cleaning can remove dirt, dust, dead insects, lawn clippings, etc. After you’re done washing, give the unit time to dry before moving onto the next step.

  1. Insulation

Use foam pipe covers to insulate any exposed pipes connected to the outdoor air conditioning unit. This will prevent them from freezing. Use duct tape to keep the covers in place.

  1. Cover the unit

Air conditioning unit in winterUse plastic or vinyl sheeting to cover the unit, and then tie the cover down with ropes or bungee cords. Make sure you use a waterproof material to keep mold and mildew from forming beneath the sheeting. Some HVAC companies advise against covering outdoor AC units, but we’d argue that you should at the very least do it in anticipation of significant snowfalls.

  1. Trim dangerous branches

What makes a branch dangerous? If it’s hanging over your air conditioning unit, it could be a problem. Trim these branches back and consider installing an awning over the unit.

  1. Check for debris

Snow, dirt, fallen leaves and other debris can all put the fan inside your cooling unit in harm’s way. Try to check the unit on a regular basis to clear away this debris to prevent damage to the fins and coils.

  1. Clean your air filter

Your HVAC system is likely working just as hard in the winter as it is in the summer. Be sure to change or clean the system’s air filter every month or so to keep things running smoothly and to ensure your air conditioner will be ready to jump back into action when the weather gets warm.

  1. Stay on top of HVAC maintenance

You could poll HVAC companies all over the world, and they’d all tell you the same thing: seasonal maintenance matters. Routine maintenance helps your heating and cooling technician spot major problems, or even minor issues that can lead to more serious repairs.

If you’re concerned about keeping your outdoor AC unit protected this winter, All Seasons Comfort Control can help.

Our expert HVAC technicians have spent more than 15 years helping homeowners in Bucks, Montgomery and Mercer counties keep their homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Contact us today to schedule maintenance for your system.

Contact All Seasons Comfort Control

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