How to Protect Your Air Conditioning Unit in the Winter

Winters as rough as the one we’ve been having tend to remind you to take the season pretty seriously. Pipes have to be insulated to avoid freezing, you need better windows to control drafts, you need to clean your chimney—but what about the outdoor unit of your home cooling system? Does it need special attention in the winter season, and should you be doing more to keep it safe? Find out today with the experts at McAllister…the Service Company!

Should You Spend Time Preparing & Protecting Your AC Unit?

Yes, you should! Cooling systems represent a massive investment, and one a homeowner doesn’t likely want to repeat until they actually need to. That’s going to mean a little bit of extra protection when needed, and particularly in seasons when the unit isn’t in use.

That said, outdoor units can take care of themselves in many ways, so the actions you need to take are mostly of the preventative nature and keeping an eye on things.

Do I Need to Cover My Outdoor Unit?

Barring the prediction of bizarre weather like extreme hail or an outright blizzard, actually no, you do not need to cover the outdoor unit. In fact for many reasons we discourage it. A quality cooling system is made of extremely tough materials capable of weathering snow, ice, and high winds, so a cover actually does very little to mitigate much of anything. Instead what a cover tends to do is encourage vermin to use the unit as shelter, and a cover can also create excessive moisture that can promote mold infestations.

If wild weather is coming our way, you might use a cover for a day or two until the weather clears, but we would strongly recommend against sticking a cover on it for the duration of the winter season.

So What Do I Need to Do?

The major notes you want to focus on for a cooling system’s hibernation period are ensuring nothing catastrophic occurs, and keeping it well-maintained for the next time you need it. Do these to keep the system at peak health:

  • Keep debris away from the unit. Starting in the fall dead leaves, plant matter, and snow piles can all put the fins of your cooling unit at risk. On occasion be sure to step outdoors and check the unit for any accumulations of mess and clear them away to avoid clogs in the coils or fin bending.
  • Trim any potentially risky branches. Fallen tree branches can definitely can send your air conditioning system to a scrapyard in a hurry. If there are a bunch of overhanging branches consider trimming them back, and it may be worth considering an overhead shelter like an awning for additional protection.
  • Keep the air filter clean. Most homeowners make use of a complete forced air system or a heat pump, which means your indoor air filters need to be kept up with even in the winter season. Keep chancing it every month or two for optimal efficiency and to ensure the AC is ready to come out of hibernation when the spring hits.
  • Keep up with maintenance. Don’t neglect to schedule an AC tune-up before the winter season ends, or at least do so as soon as spring swings into place! It’s the best way to make certain the system is in good shape.

Complete AC Services with McAllister in Somers Point

Need some help getting your cooling system prepared and ready for the coming warmer weather? Contact the NATE-certified cooling experts at McAllister to schedule a service today!